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Exxon, Enviros Tangle Over Refinery Pollution Liability

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5th Circ. Revives Enviros' $641M Exxon Pollution Suit

Exxon Mobil Corp. will have to face a $641 million suit brought by environmentalists over emissions at its Baytown, Texas, refinery, the Fifth Circuit said Friday in an opinion that panned portions of the trial court’s ruling in Exxon's favor as “irreconcilably inconsistent.”

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Texas officials celebrate Supreme Court blocking power plant rules

At the behest of Texas and other states, chambers of commerce and some mining unions, the Supreme Court decided to hit the pause button on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants. Scientists link greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, to global warming. The high court issued a stay on the EPA plan while lower courts hear lawsuits from states that want to kill it.

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Coal permits are protested

A watchdog group says Texas’ environmental agency, working with electric companies, violated the federal Clean Air Act by increasing allowable power plant emissions without telling the public or the EPA.

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Leaders say tightened EPA emissions rules will increase cost of doing business

Political and industry leaders in Texas and around the country are fighting the Environmental Protection Agency over one of the regulatory agency's proposed air quality rule changes. 

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Breathing Better

Have Texans breathed cleaner air since Rick Perry became governor?  The answer from both die-hard conservatives and ardent environmentalists is a near-unqualified yes. According to the most recent state and federal data, average levels of ozone — more commonly known as smog — decreased by nearly 25 percent in Texas between 2000 and 2013. And emissions of pollutants that contribute to ozone, as well as dangerous air toxics, dropped substantially.

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Tougher standards on air emissions draw debate in Houston

The EPA is considering forcing plants and refineries to cut the amount of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants released into the air by thousands of tons a year.

"It's critical federal regulations be far stricter across the board," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.

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Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a citizen advocacy group, also found hope in Colorado’s actions. “Frequently, legislators in this state ask for other models to look to, and Colorado, being a big oil and gas state, is somewhere Texas officials will take seriously," he said.

Neither Metzger nor Marston expects much action in Texas during this election year, when key positions, including governor and energy regulators, are being contested.

In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office and the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment led the process. “I’d love to think we could have the support of the governor in Texas,” Marston said, “but that’s probably a lot less likely than in Colorado.”

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Texas still biggest CO2 emitter but getting better, environmentalists say

“Despite being the largest producer of global warming emissions in the country, the report demonstrates how state and federal policies are working in reducing harmful emissions in Texas,” Rachel Stone, an attorney for Environment Texas, said in an email.

The report was authored by the consumer rights organization Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center.

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City Of Houston First City In Texas To Use Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds For Energy Efficiency Program

 Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston is expanding its municipal energy efficiency program to retrofit libraries and other City of Houston facilities. 

“Too much energy is wasted through poor insulation, leaky windows, inefficient lighting, heating or cooling systems, and poor construction techniques,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We applaud Houston’s innovation in making city buildings more efficient, an important step toward solving our energy problems, reducing pollution and saving the city money.”

 

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