Texas has entered the debate over carbon emissions in a major way, thanks to the federal government.
Welcome aboard, Texas.
The Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama have announced plans to require all power-producing plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030.
Is Texas a major player? Well, do armadillos get smashed on Texas highways?
The Texas Tribune’s Neena Satija and Jim Malewitz put together a lengthy analysis of the impact the new rules will have on Texas. Some of them are favorable, some are not.
What can we expect?
* Texas is the nation’ top carbon dioxide emitter, according to the Tribune. On a per capita basis, we aren’t as “dirty” as much less populated states, such as Wyoming and North Dakota.
* Power plants are going to face tremendous expense bringing their operations into EPA compliance.
* States will have broad flexibility in determining how they’ll meet the EPA standards.
* Texas has battled efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Politicians and Texas scientists have argued that climate change is overblown. In fact, the state has sued the EPA over its regulatory authority. There likely is another lawsuit on the horizon.
* The natural gas industry, which is huge in Texas — and in this part of the state specifically — is going to see a boon in its business as the state transitions from petroleum- and coal-fired power plants to natural gas, a much cleaner source of energy. And oh yes, Texas has an abundance of natural gas.
The new rules will go down well in some quarters, perhaps even in some areas of Texas. The state, though, is likely to put up a stout fight to fend off what many politicians believe is a federal overreach into matters best decided at the state level.
Let the discussion — and the debate — commence. It’ll get raucous. Bet on it.