Texas Governor Asks EPA to Retract Greenhouse Gas Finding

Associated Press + More

JUAN A. LOZANO,
Associated Press Writer

LA PORTE, Texas—Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its finding that greenhouse gases threaten the public health and welfare of Americans, alleging the conclusion is based on "manipulated data."

On Monday, the EPA declared greenhouse gases a public health threat and said the pollutants — mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels — should be reduced. The finding could lead to the first federal limits on climate-changing pollution from cars, power plants and factories.

In a three-page letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Perry asked her to retract the finding until the science and data it's based on can be validated.

Perry said recent allegations that some scientists manipulated data to provide proof of global warming require the EPA to review the science that lead to the agency's conclusion. In November, e-mails were stolen from a British university that global warming skeptics say show scientists conspired to hide evidence that doesn't fit their theories.

"Using uncertain and highly questionable science to institute volumes of onerous new regulations on employers who have never before been subject to EPA regulation is unprecedented and shows a real disregard for the preservation of American jobs, as well as families and businesses struggling to make ends meet," Perry wrote in the letter.

An EPA spokeswoman did not have an immediate response to the letter.

Andy Wilson, the global warming program director for the group Public Citizen, said Perry's claims were "full of half-truths and mischaracterizations."

Perry "has decided that railing against the federal government is a good substitution for real action on clean energy and climate change," Wilson said.

At a news conference in La Porte, a Houston suburb surrounded by petrochemical plants and refineries, Perry was joined by local and state leaders in speaking out against the EPA's finding.

The officials also reiterated their objections to a climate bill being debated in Congress that would require power plants, industrial facilities and refineries to cut carbon dioxide and other climate changing pollution.

Perry and the other officials argue the bill would cost jobs in Texas and damage the state's economy.

Texas leads the nation in industrial pollution and has more oil refineries, chemical manufacturing plants and coal-fired power plants than any other state. The oil and chemical plants employ nearly 270,000 people and pay billions of dollars in state and local taxes.

The state's energy industry supplies 20 percent of the nation's oil production, one-third of its natural gas production, a quarter of its refining capacity and about 60 percent of its chemical manufacturing.

Perry and the other officials said Texas is already doing a good job of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using more wind energy, clean burning natural gas and increasing the capacity of its nuclear plants while not implementing efforts that cut jobs or stifle economic growth.

Wilson said Perry has failed to attract more clean energy jobs to Texas and is using "discredited economic studies" to claim the climate bill being debated in Congress will kill jobs in Texas.