June 1, 2010
By PEGGY FIKAC
AUSTIN — The EPA’s crackdown on Texas’ air-quality regulation may seem like a gift to Democrat Bill White, but Gov. Rick Perry is seizing on the mess as a way to tie the former Houston mayor to what the Republican portrays as big, bad federal government.
The situation is important to anyone who breathes.
The EPA, which delegates authority to issue permits to states, says it could take over Texas' entire program because the state isn't following the Clean Air Act. Texas disputes the EPA's contentions. . .
Who'll win this PR battle?
“It really could cut either way,” said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson. “Perry will try to make this another example of federal overreach. ... It worked for him against Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary. The general election is a broader audience, and, obviously, that opens up the possibility that Bill White will be able to say, ‘Look, our educational system is badly lagging, our environmental system is about to be taken over by the federal government, and we don't have enough roads. ... We have to do something. Here's my program. Here's where I'd be different.' ”
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