Ken Paxton said this week he’s going to do it.
Greg Abbott, who has a lot of experience at it, went to the trouble of meeting with Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington Thursday just to talk about it.
What Attorney General Paxton and Gov. Abbott (the former attorney general) want to do is sue the Environmental Protection Agency over something the agency is expected to do this summer.
It’s a pretty big buildup to what by now has become almost routine: Texas dislikes almost everything President Obama’s EPA does, to the point of fighting tooth-and-nail through the courts.
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The state has spent more than $1.2 million on lawsuits over air quality and climate change regulations, the Texas Tribune reported in March.
If Paxton and Abbott aren’t just talking (odds are they’re serious), filing and fighting a lawsuit against the EPA’s anticipated Clean Power Plan limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants could be among the costliest such fights so far.
The state paid $532,810 to fight a suit filed in 2011 against the EPA’s so-called Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, according to the Tribune report.
Texas mostly lost the case in a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, although lower courts are still looking at parts of it.
The point is, these suits cost a lot, and on the whole the results of Texas v. U.S. in the Obama era are not so good.
Unless maybe what you’re counting are political points scored back home. Abbott did, after all, move up to the Governor’s Mansion at least partly by bragging about his 31 suits against the Obama administration.
The EPA has been expected to finalize the Clean Power Plan in June, although recent speculation has been that the timing could slip as the agency continues to tweak the plan.
It’s hard for courts to take seriously lawsuits based on what the plan might — only might — say. So, we wait.
Paxton said Tuesday he will file suit because the plan as outlined so far “would result in higher electricity costs and less reliability for Texans, all while doing little to nothing to affect the environment.”
Nothing? The EPA no doubt will differ.