Responding to complaints by environmental activists that Texas was "a state under siege" and that the EPA needed to send "reinforcements and enforcement," EPA has begun reaching out to organizations that have challenged Texas permits and TCEQ practices. Since coming into office, the Obama EPA has sided with critics and blocked the reopening of a controversial copper smelter in El Paso; signaled new federal enforcement against state-regulated facilities such as refineries and chemical plants; and threatened to strip Texas of its authority to issue major air pollution permits unless the state agrees to changes in its SIP. (Link to WFAA.com article about the EPA's shift in position.) Citing a lack of transparency, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told the Dallas Morning News that Texas' environmental regulation has become a major concern of hers and singled out what she described as inadequate opportunities for the public to review key permit decisions. Rejecting her criticism, TCEQ Executive Director Mark R. Vickery said the commission meets federal requirements and outlined "options for bridging the perceived gaps in our permitting program" by clarifying state rules "to reflect the TCEQ's existing practice."