The Dallas Morning News wrote a sweet editorial last week lauding Public Citizen’s efforts to require that Luminant abide by stricter mercury emissions standards at the new Oak Grove coal-fired power plant under construction near Waco:
When authorities failed to require Luminant, formerly TXU, to abide by stricter federal emissions standards at a coal-fired power plant under construction near Waco, the Sierra Club and another watchdog group, Public Citizen, had to step in.
The groups threatened to sue Luminant when it got a pass from state environmental regulators to use more relaxed, older pollution standards at its two-unit Oak Grove power plant near Waco instead of following tighter new restrictions for mercury emissions…
Clearly, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen meant business with their lawsuit, bolstered by a federal appeals court ruling in February that said the Environmental Protection Agency had to enforce mandatory cuts for mercury emissions at power plants, as the Clean Air Act requires. Mandatory means companies like Luminant can’t regard compliance as optional or arguable.
The lawsuit would have proved costly and could have delayed next year’s scheduled opening of Oak Grove, so Luminant worked out a deal to ensure that its emissions stay within Clean Air Act limits. Luminant promises to control mercury emissions using “maximum achievable control technology,” but if it still exceeds limits, the Oak Grove plant could be forced to curtail operations.
If this is what it takes to make Luminant and other polluting power companies abide by the law, at least Texans can breathe easier knowing they’re in compliance. We still look forward to the day when coercion is replaced by cooperation in the effort to clean up the air we breathe. Until then, watchdog groups deserve praise and support for making sure pollution standards are respected – and enforced.
Oh, stop it, Dallas Morning News! You’re making us blush! Many thanks to the editorial board for giving credit where credit is due. It sure is nice to feel appreciated 🙂