The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would take control of carbon-emission rules in Texas after Gov. Rick Perry rejected new federal regulations intended to combat climate change.
The EPA will decide directly on greenhouse-gas permits for companies seeking to build or upgrade power plants or oil refineries in Texas, the agency said Thursday in a statement. The EPA's nationwide carbon rules, imposed under the Clean Air Act, will take effect Jan. 2.
The agency said the law gave states responsibility to carry out the rules it imposed after President Obama's administration failed to win legislation to cap carbon emissions. Perry, a Republican, has said he will not cooperate, calling the regulations overreaching by the federal government that will cripple his state's economy.
"The EPA's misguided plan paints a huge target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers by implementing unnecessary, burdensome mandates on our state's energy sector, threatening hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs and imposing increased living costs on Texas families," Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.
Texas emits about 11 percent of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, more than any other state, according to Texas EPA spokesman David Gray. If Texas were a country, it would be the world's eighth-largest polluter, he said.
Texas, home to about a fourth of the nation's oil-refining capacity, has more coal-fired electrical capacity than any state in the country, according to the Sierra Club, an environmental group based in San Francisco.
EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency remained in talks with Texas and viewed federal control of greenhouse-gas permits in the state as a temporary arrangement.
"We are more than willing and in fact anxious about how quickly we can work with them to have them take over," McCarthy told reporters Thursday.
The EPA is just "trying to fill the gap" and give Texas businesses a way to obtain a permit if needed, she said.
Republicans and some Democrats in Congress are pushing to halt the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The EPA announced a plan Thursday to propose a second wave of greenhouse-gas regulations next year.
The agency will propose new standards for utilities by July and for oil refineries by December, McCarthy said. Those rules will be made final for power plants by May 2012 and for refineries by November 2012, she said.