"EPA Rolls Back Air Rule; Texas Gets Most Leeway"

"HOUSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed easing new pollution restrictions that angered several states and infuriated GOP presidential contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry."

"The proposed fix to the cross-state pollution rule would allow 10 states, especially Texas, to emit more smog-causing pollution than had initially been permitted. The rule is designed to decrease smokestack emissions, mostly from coal-fired power plants, in 27 states, that contribute to unhealthy air downwind.

Texas, faced with a growing population, few new energy sources, hot summers and more coal-fired power plants than any other state, has vocally opposed the rule.

Perry has used it as fodder in his long-standing accusation that the EPA under President Barack Obama meddles in state affairs and lays down expensive regulations in tough economic times, forcing companies to cut jobs to offset the costs of compliance. He wrote a letter to Obama last month urging him to delay implementation of the rule after one of the state's largest energy suppliers, Luminant Generation Co., announced it would have to idle two units and layoff hundreds of workers to comply with the rules by 2012."

Ramit Plushnick-Masti reports for the Associated Press October 6, 2011.

Source: AP, 10/07/2011