Yesterday morning we held a press conference to highlight the importance of the proposed coal moratorium bill, SB 126, sponsored by State Sen. Rodney Ellis, and its companion bill in the house, HB 4384, sponsored by Rep. Allen Vaught.
SB 126 , which went into committee late Tuesday night, would put a temporary moratorium on authorizations for new coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester their carbon emissions. If all of Texas’ 12 proposed coal plants were built, they would emit an additional 77 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Top climate scientists, most notably James Hansen, have advocated for a coal moratorium as one of the top priorities to address climate change.
This legislation would also give Texas time to take a breath, see what federal carbon legislation will come down from Washington, and re-evaluate our energy plan. We expect carbon emissions to be given a price as a result of a federal climate change bill, and this would make the energy from coal considerably more expensive.
Floor Pass, the Texas Observer’s legislative blog, reports:
Environmentalists support these bills, but some feel they could be stronger. Both bills grant exceptions to facilities that capture and sequester some of the carbon dioxide they produce. Vaught’s bill mandates that a minimum of at least 60 percent of the carbon dioxide must be captured and sequestered in order for the exemption to apply. Ellis’ bill does not specify the amount.
“We definitely would support 100 percent reduction of carbon dioxide,” says Karen Hadden, director of Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition. “We should not be adding carbon dioxide to our air at this point in time. It’s too risky in terms of climate change. Companies can do it, and they should.”
Representatives from communities currently fighting coal plants were on hand to discuss how this legislation will protect their families from dangerous health effects such as asthma and increased autism rates and improve local air quality. It was really moving to hear community members telling their own stories of how proposed coal plants would affect their lives. If you’re interested in hearing their stories, check out the video feed from the press conference. Look for March 25, Press Conference: Senator Rodney Ellis. That’s us!
The story got picked up in a couple other media outlets. All the news that’s fit to link:
“Foes take power plant fight to Austin” by Denise Malan, Corpus Christi Caller Times
“Texas coal opponents call for a temporary moratorium on new plants” by Barbara Kessler, Green Right Now
And if you STILL WANT MORE, check out our press release after the jump.