One of the greatest abuses of the commerce clause comes in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency. They also are one of the biggest perpetrators of the administrative state. Now some Texan environmentalists are calling for the EPA to further intervene in Texas.
Clean water is important. While Texas’ water struggles have often been more about quantity than about quality, our state has an agency dedicated to the enforcement of environmental standards: the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Historically the TCEQ has been criticized by environmentalists for being too “industry friendly” and for a lack of “transparency” and public input.
According to the TCEQ, its water discharge permitting program was “thoroughly” reviewed in 2020 by the EPA at the state agency’s request for additional authority over discharges related to oil and gas operations. The TCEQ said the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, established in 1998, was found by EPA to meet all requirements.
So just to establish the timeline, let’s be clear. There have been Federal clean water guidelines since the 1960’s at minimum. Texas has been effectively managing its own pollutant discharges since at least 1998. A recent review by the unconstitutional bureaucratic Federal EPA gave Texas’ regulatory agency its stamp of approval in 2020.
Now in the news, more than two dozen environmental activist groups have petitioned the EPA to revoke Texas’ authority to manage its own water cleanliness. The EPA is currently completing an “informal investigation.”
I don’t know much about the clean water regulatory process. I have fished, swam, boated, and eaten the produce of Texas waters my whole life, however. I don’t believe that my participation gives me standing to protest, but then again, I’m a Texas activist not an environmental one. One of the issues at stake here is that these various groups argue that their interest in water as evidenced by their participation constitutes legal standing to challenge environmental regulations. This is a bit of a fallacy, brought to you by lawyers and environmentalists, and facilitated by the Federal government.
As we’ve argued in previous articles, Texas deserves a streamlined permitting process that balances economic and personal interests with environmental interests. As it is, any environmental group can sue, perhaps over a cave bug, perhaps over a bird, or perhaps over a water issue. That suit adds time and expense to the project, and ultimately does little to help the actual bugs and birds.
Texas is beautiful and wonderful, and the large majority of Texans are committed to keeping it that way. Unfortunately there’s a small minority who will use the Federal EPA to advance their own interests in the name of the “common good.” An independent Texas will immediately be free from this kind of hijacking by special interest groups. We’ll be free to be good stewards of our land and resources, without the hassle brought to us by lawyers, environmentalists, and their enablers at the EPA.