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Public Citizen Wants Texas to Regulate CO2

AUSTIN (CN) - Texas regulators violated the state's Clean Air Act by failing to regulate carbon dioxide, even though it's clearly an "air contaminant" under the law, a public interest group claims in Travis County Court. Public Citizen wants the court to invalidate state rules exempting the greenhouse gas from air-pollution regulation, saying regulators refused to hear its evidence on CO2's role in global warming.

Administrative judges have invoked the rules to preclude or strike testimony from hearings on contested permits for new power plants, Public Citizen claims.

Texas is already the nation's biggest CO2 polluter, and would rank seventh in the world if considered a nation, the lawsuit states. Five new power plants proposed in Texas for next year would add another 37 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year, the suit says.

Since carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas, this has consequences. The group points out that the anticipated increases in sea level, flooding and hurricanes will affect the state, particularly the extensive Texas coastline.

Represented by Charles Irvine of Blackburn Carter, the group seeks to nullify four state rules exempting carbon dioxide from regulation. It also wants to establish allowable levels for the gas and be given the chance to testimony in permit hearings.

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