Watch out. Texas is on the warpath.
Gov. Rick Perry is accusing the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, East Coast liberals and all sorts of villains of trying to sabotage his state's economy.
It's another example, the governor said, of "heavy-handed and misguided action from Washington, D.C., that threatens Texas jobs and families."
The weapon? Clear air in Delaware.
The EPA is imposing a rule that will make Texas and 26 other states reduce the nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide spewing into the air from outdated coal-fired power plants -- emissions we breathe here.
That's right. Texas, and other Midwest states, have continued to burn coal in the cheapest, most environmentally offensive way despite years of warnings and pleas from the people who have to breathe their soot.
Their local companies have reaped the benefits of paying on the cheap because the burden of living with the pollutants is borne by those of us living downwind.
As DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara testified at a U.S. Senate committee hearing, "Today, the vast majority of Delaware's air quality problems are caused by transported emissions, as much as 90 percent. ... In fact, our modeling shows that Delaware could eliminate all pollution from in-state stationary sources and still not achieve attainment."
States in the East pay the cost in higher rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
According to EPA estimates, the new rules will prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths annually. That doesn't include the cost of hospital visits, medical payments, lost work days and added expenses associated with bad air.
Even though Delaware has cleaned up most of its pollution sources, the state still fails to meet federal Clean Air Act standards because of the pollution floating in from the West.
The new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will save far more than it will cost, despite what Gov. Perry and the owners of the polluting plants say.
Gov. Perry and some industry spokesmen say the EPA rule will cost jobs. It's more likely to create them. A study by the University of Massachusetts found that the new regulations could produce up to 300,000 U.S. jobs in each of the next five years if the power companies upgrade plants and equipment.
Most of the power plants in the country have been improved, with pollution standards far stricter than in the past. However, several plants remain from the pre-Clean Air Act days and they are the primary targets of the EPA rule.
Critics claim the new rule will raise electricity rates dramatically. But Michael J. Bradley of the Clean Energy Group, a coalition of power companies, said most of the industry is already geared up and positioned to comply.
The cost of the new investments has been put at $800 million. However, the savings have been estimated to be in the billions.
Delaware's Sen. Tom Carper, one of those who has fought for such a rule for a long time, rightfully hailed the EPA decision: "As those of us who live in Delaware and other so-called 'tail pipe' states on the East Coast know all too well," he said, "our neighboring states' dirty air has adversely affected the health and well-being of Delawareans, just by virtue of our location. We need to change that and this cross-state air pollution rule is an important tool to help us in that effort."
The rule makes sense.