AUSTIN (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by rejecting a Texas program for approving air permits.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Monday concerns the EPA’s 2010 rejection of the state’s flexible permitting program. That decision forced over 100 industries, including some of the nation’s largest refineries, to work directly with the EPA to get operating papers.
The flexible permit program allows plants to operate under an emissions “umbrella” but did not separately detail pollution from different sources. EPA regulators argued the rules made it difficult to track polluters.
Neal Carmen of the Sierra Club in Texas said the ruling likely means the EPA will have to better explain its objections to flexible permitting as the case proceeds.

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