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A lawyer representing the energy industry has filed a petition with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seeking a relaxation of rules governing air-borne pollution that he says compel Texas businesses to pick up the tab for foreign polluters.

Attorney Jed Anderson said states should not be forced to make deeper cuts in smog-forming emissions to meet federal limits because of wind-borne pollution from places such as Mexico.

"It's important to push for cleaner air, but we need to do it in a way that is just and fair," said Anderson, of Houston.

He filed the petition last week, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

TCEQ has 60 days to respond to the petition. If the agency agrees with Anderson, it could ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise the rules.

Federal law gives states the primary responsibility for assuring that the air is safe to breathe. The law allows an exception if foreign pollution is the only reason that an area does not comply with smog limits, but that is difficult to prove.

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