Texas only State in Nation with such a Deadly, Costly Coal Rush Advancing
(Austin) Attorneys for Sierra Club and a Goliad and Victoria county-based group, Citizens for a Clean Environment, plus Environmental Defense Fund began arguments today against one of a large number of proposed new coal plants that are in various stages of the permitting, appeal, or construction process in Texas.
“Nowhere else in the United States are citizens facing such serious public health and financial risks as we are facing in Texas because of the large number of proposed new coal plants,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club.
“Texas is also the only state in the nation where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to reject the state agency’s air permitting regime. We are asking the EPA to take action and place a moratorium on new coal plant permits until the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) follows the law of the Clean Air Act.”
The Sierra Club is challenging five coal plant permit applications this Fall and Winter in Texas:
• NRG Limestone near Jewett east of Waco
• IPA Coleto Creek between Goliad and Victoria
• Tenaska in Sweetwater west of Abilene
• Las Brisas in Corpus Christi
• White Stallion near Bay City south of Houston
Today, attorneys for the Goliad and Victoria Counties-based Citizens for a Clean Environment, Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund are protesting the coal plant permit application of IPA Coleto Creek at the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Austin. The company is asking the TCEQ for a permit to expand an existing coal plant by a second unit. This week’s contested case hearing will consider proposed air emissions, while Sierra Club and the Citizens for a Clean Environment also have concerns about water usage and water quality.
“The existing coal plant at Coleto Creek has been dumping pollution and toxins on local residents for years, harming their health and property, using huge amounts of water. The Citizens for a Clean Economy are now rightly standing up to ensure that this destruction and injustice does not continue,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen Texas. “If this expansion is allowed, the environmental damage, health impacts, and lowered property values in the community will increase significantly. TCEQ can’t let that happen.”
At a preliminary hearing in Sweetwater, Texas tomorrow, Sierra Club and the Multi-County Coalition a citizens group from Nolan and surrounding counties will request standing to challenge the Tenaska coal permit application.
Other upcoming hearings in what environmentalists consider the ‘second wave’ of the Texas coal rush are: Las Brisas coke plant contested case hearing, November 2 in Corpus Christi; NRG Limestone, TCEQ Commissioners Hearing and decision in Austin, November 18.
The Las Brisas contested case hearing on November 2nd is expected to be heavily attended due to extensive opposition to the permit from the Coastal Bend area Clean Economy Coalition, Sierra Club, and Public Citizen. The proposed urban coke plant would emit more air pollution than all of the existing gas refineries in Corpus Christi.
The TCEQ Commissioners decision on NRG Limestone on November 18th could signal the start of construction of this proposed coal plant in a region surrounding Waco with two new coal plants already under construction – Sandy Creek in Riesel and Oak Grove in Franklin.
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