On October 31, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its approval for the State of Texas to issue greenhouse gas (GHG) permits for new and modified facilities. In response to legislation enacted in the 2013 Texas Legislative session, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had submitted a state implementation plan to replace the existing federal program with TCEQ-issued GHG permits.
This action will eliminate the current requirement that major new sources and major modifications of existing sources obtain air quality permits from both the EPA and the TCEQ, eliminating duplicative reviews and speeding up the process for issuing permits that are required before construction on the new or modified sources may begin. It also will obviate the need for applicants to address other federal programs, like the Endangered Species Act and National Historic Preservation Act, which are triggered by federal permitting.
EPA and TCEQ will coordinate the handling of already-pending permit applications to allow those to be completed. The authority for Texas to issue GHG permits will become effective upon publication of action in the Federal Register, which likely will take place within two weeks.