Texas believes this coercion is illegal and that EPA cannot usurp the law's statutory language about the federalist balance of power between Washington and the states. Texas filed an unusual lawsuit last week with the D.C. appeals circuit calling it an "ultra vires" act—literally, "beyond the powers"—and requesting an emergency stay of the EPA's regulations because of the imminence of irreparable harm.
No major construction project in America can go forward without EPA air quality and pollution permits. Texas believes that EPA's decision to strip permitting authority from the states is equivalent to a ban on major construction or building expansion—not merely Texan refineries but any kind of carbon-heavy utility, industrial production, manufacturing plant or even large office buildings. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state EPA branch, estimates that 167 current state projects would have to be junked in 2011, more after the first year. (WSJ, 10/10/2010)