Posts Tagged ‘plant’

This week the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality received a recommendation from two administrative judges denying the air permit for the proposed Las Brisas Energy Center in Corpus Christi.  The decision is a ray of hope in the battle to prevent the petcoke plant from showering the citizens of Corpus Christi with harmful pollutants including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and lead.

Set to be built in the Inner Harbor of Corpus Christi, the petroleum coke-fired power plant would cost nearly $3 billion.

Petcoke piles along the ship channel in Corpus Christi

The recommendation was issued following two weeks of testimony and nearly two months of private deliberation between the judges.  Reasons for their decision against the permit were that the company:

  • failed to perform analysis on maximum achievable control technology to be used for its boilers
  • failed to properly account for second emissions
  • failed to properly account for emissions from material handling
  • improperly adjusted the moisture content of the petroleum coke handled at the Port of Corpus Christi in violation of state and federal guidance, resulting in unreliable emissions modeling (more…)

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Corpus Christi – October 7, 2008

The “Sparkling City by the Sea” has been losing its sparkle through the years, as more and more refineries pollute its air and water. Now a new threat looms to increase the pollution that is damaging and degrading what should be the glistening jewel of the Texas Gulf Coast.

A by-product of the refining industry is petroleum-coke (or pet-coke). It is the toxic-filled waste that is left over after the refining industry gets all it wants out of crude oil. The Las Brisas Energy Center is a proposed facility that will burn this waste in what is, basically, a coal plant on the shores of Nueces Bay.

I attended a public meeting held by the TCEQ on Tuesday that allowed for comments and questions to be asked of the TCEQ and representatives of Las Brisas. Many concerns were raised by concerned citizens and few, if any, of the questions were answered satisfactorily.

The main proponents of the facility seemed to be, as usual, those who were happy at the proposed jobs this facility would create. One of the points I brought up was how green jobs (jobs from energy efficiency programs and from renewable energy generation) would provide far more employment opportunities for the area: permanent jobs (as opposed to temporary construction jobs) which couldn’t be outsourced.


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Abandon All Hope…

…ye who enter the Turk plant.Turk Site

Last Thursday in Hope, Arkansas there were two meetings. One was widely attended, the other was not… mostly because hardly anyone had heard of it.

They hadn’t heard of it because it snuck in under the wire, with barely (if at all) the proper notices and alerts. It was a quorum court meeting, and on the agenda was a motion to approve a bond issuance “not to exceed” $185,000,000. Aside from one dissenting voice of sanity, the motion was passed.

It was passed without allowing anyone to comment, and upon only one reading.

Hempstead County and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation are now investors in the Turk Coal Plant, meaning residents and taxpayers are now on the hook for nearly 200 million dollars.

Why do they need this public backing? Coal’s dirty little secret is that it is on the way out, and everybody knows this. Power plants are constructed with a budget to pay off the cost of the plant over 20 or 30 years. Coal will soon become so economically unviable that these plants will be forced to close, leaving taxpayers and bondholders to pick up the check. How incredibly irresponsible.

Meanwhile, across town at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, I and a few hundred other people were cramming ourselves into the library to listen and submit comments to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). They were holding a public hearing regarding mercury and other HAPs that the Turk plant will be emitting.

Employees from the plant were there, wearing florescent yellow t-shirts that said “Support Turk” on them. I wonder how many of those “employees” were contractors: temporary workers who don’t even live in Hempstead County, or possibly even Arkansas. Adding evidence to my suspicions was a documentary film maker present at the hearing who had filmed most of them leaving the plant earlier that day.

There was one local employee of SWEPCO who did give comments, and spoke at length about how much they all needed the plant because he had six kids and he needed his job with SWEPCO to take care of them.

He got the loudest applause of anyone the entire evening.

This same, poor, hard-working employee so concerned with supporting his kids has no concern for the destruction coal is wrecking on the futures of those same children. And not just the future of their health, but their economy too. Carbon legislation is going to happen during the next president’s term, and it will make coal so expensive that many coal plants will have to be shut down. Why, then, are we building new coal plants?

(Read the Entire Original Post on Coal Block)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This reminded me a lot of a BBC special I saw about Chinese coal plants and how the people knew the coal was making them sick but felt they needed the jobs.  Watch it below.  ~~Citizen Andy


(BBC report on a coal plant in China)

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A Small Measure of Hope

Original Blog from http://www.coalblock.org

August 9, 2008

I’ll be heading back to Austin soon where we hope to regroup and move on to the next steps in our efforts to stop coal plants. All in all I consider this Arkansas trip to be a large success. We had 77 people come out for the screening in Fayetteville and had over 150 in Little Rock. Many Arkansans are eager to unite and stop these coal plants in order to promote and move towards renewable energy generation.

Here in Hope, however, my spirits were a bit lower. We distributed thousands of fliers at the Watermelon Festival in

the “hope” of drawing people out to the screening and getting folks involved in the fight. We were unsuccessful, however, and the only folks who showed up to the screening were the local hunting club guys who had been fighting this plant since the beginning. We were unable to get any new local interest in opposing the plant.

It is in these local towns, closest to the plants, where the hardest fight lies. Many, if not most, of the locals see the plant as an economic boon, since the few of them who get jobs with the company are usually getting the best job they’ve ever had. Concerns about public health, environmental degradation, and long-term economical impacts are ignored or justified in the light of some industry, any industry, willing to invest in the local community.

As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.” This was true a hundred years ago, and it is still true today – both for men and women. And as long as the majority of people in this country are kept beneath a yoke of low wages and corporate consumerism, the will of the people to acknowledge, much less fight, the ills of our age will be greatly weakened.

This is not just an American dilemma, consider this Chinese coal plant situation:


The companies who build these plants know this. This is why they choose economically challenged or depressed sites and communities for their projects. It is also why it is so important to find those few locals who are willing and eager to speak against the crowd and stand up for their health, the environment, and a stable and sound energy future.

With that thought in mind we are networking the few dedicated souls in Hope with the rest of the great volunteers throughout Arkansas in our efforts to stop these coal plants. With the momentum we’ve gathered I think we have a great chance of achieving the change we seek.

As with Pandora, all it takes is a faint glimmer of Hope.

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