Al Armendariz, a chemical engineer who recently took over as regional chief of the Environmental Protection Agency in Dallas and who was a keynote speaker at AIChE's recent Spring Meeting, is challenging the state of Texas on its "flexible permitting" process for refineries, saying it violates the Clean Air Act. Gov. Rick Perry has fired back, saying the EPA's threat to block operating permits in the state will cost jobs and is one more example of federal interference.

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