Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s love of suing the Environmental Protection Agency earned him a callout on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" last night.

In a segment called “Tonight’s Big Number,” Matthews highlighted the number seven because that’s the number of lawsuits Texas has filed against the EPA in the last nine months. The video, posted below, highlights what was recently reported in the Arizona Daily Star.

The report claims that, “In effect, Texas is staking out a role as the anti-California.” The report juxtaposes Texas’ repeated attempts to challenge environmental regulation with California, which continues to implement regulations aimed at curbing pollution. The report also points out that Texas leads the nation in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Of the seven Texas lawsuits, the most noteworthy has been an early 2010 suit filed in federal court that challenges the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases in the United States. In August, the state’s attorney general crafted a letter outlining the state’s opposition to the EPA’s “tailoring rule,” which targets regulation of specific heavy emitters such as “power plants, energy-intensive industries and other stationary objects.” 

Texas’ shots at the EPA have provoked reactions. Following the August letter about the “tailoring rule,” EPA spokeswomen Enesta Jones reportedly sent an e-mail in which she referenced the Massachusetts vs. EPA Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. “We are not at liberty to ignore the law, and the letter’s unsubstantiated claims are the same sort that have been made, and ultimately proven wrong, every time the EPA has, over the past 40 years, moved to implement the Clean Air Act’s protections of public health and welfare.”

Texas is certainly leading the way in the sheer number of challenges to the EPA, but the Lone Star State is hardly alone. Shortly after Texas’ initial challenge to the EPA in February, Alabama jumped in with a similar suit. Virginia then asked the EPA to reconsider its position. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also filed a suit similar to the Texas and Alabama lawsuits. The EPA has also been under attack from Appalachian states for various regulations on the coal industry. (And a story about angst about Washington’s penchant for energy regulation wouldn't be complete without a mention of Senator-elect Joe Manchin’s shooting of the cap-and-trade bill.)

Still, Texas leads the way in the fight against the EPA, but many others are on board with telling the EPA to not mess with them.

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