Posted in Global Warming, tagged air pollution, Air Quality, army corps of engineers, Carbon Dioxide, citizen sarah, clean air act, climate change, co2, coal plant, copenhagen, denmark, environmental integrity project, eva hernandez, Global Warming, Karen Hadden, maximum achievable control technology, mercury, nox, NRG, nrg limestone, ozone, particulate matter, paul rolke, public citizen texas, robertson county our land our lives, robertson couny, ryan rittenhouse, SEED Coalition, Sierra Club, smog, soah, sox, state office of administrative hearings, sunset commission, sunset review, TCEQ, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Tom "Smitty" Smith on December 9, 2009 |
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The dramatic irony of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) decision this morning to grant the NRG Limestone Coal Plant an air permit (and therefore permission to begin construction on a third smokestack) is painful. At the very moment that leaders from around the world are meeting to come to an international agreement to save the world from catastrophic global warming, at the very moment that residents of developing nations are begging for the continued existence of their land and way of life, Texas gives the green light to build another mercury-spewing, asthma-inducing, planet choking coal plant.
Not exactly what I was hoping to wake up to this morning.
This decision also comes just days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came out with its engangerment finding, which says that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases represent a significant threat to public health and welfare. Earlier this year, the EPA also ruled that TCEQ has not been adhering to the Clean Air Act in its issuance of new air permits. This is the first coal plant permit that TCEQ has issued since that warning (which TCEQ doesn’t seem to have taken to heart). AND, according to Karen Hadden, executive director of SEED Coalition,
The TCEQ is not following federal law (Maximum Achievable Control Technology or MACT) in issuing this permit and a result, mercury emissions will be higher.
So many hearts to break, so little time. But of course there’s always a silver lining. Next legislative session, the TCEQ (and a whole host of other commissions) will undergo the Sunset Review process — and as Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office mentions, that gives Texas a chance to reform the TCEQ permitting process:
This is just another example of why the Sunset Commission should take a good hard look at how TCEQ rubber stamps permits for coal plants in Texas.
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for progress in Copenhagen, and stay tuned at Texas Vox for more information on how you can help fight global warming and a 2nd Texas coal rush.
Full breakdown of the good (NRG has agreed to offset 50% of their emissions, though there’s nothing in their permit to hold them to that), the bad, and the ugly after the jump:
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Posted in Coal, Global Warming, tagged Bonanza, Carbon Dioxide, clean air act, Clean Water Action, co2, coal plant, environment texas, EPA, epa vs mass, Global Warming, greenhouse gasses, Karen Hadden, luke metzger, nrg limestone, permit application, Public Citizen, reenergize texas, SEED Coalition, soah, state office of administrative hearings, TCEQ, texas climate emergency campaign, Tom "Smitty" Smith on February 24, 2009 |
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Last Friday two administrative law judges refused to hear testimony on the impact of carbon dioxide emissions during the permitting process for the NRG Limestone coal-fired power plant. The contested case hearing for NRG’s air quality permit application will be going on all week long, but testimony on the proposed plant’s contribution to global warming will not be allowed. The judges decided that the TCEQ has adopted clear policies that they would not consider testimony on the issue, even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 (EPA vs Massachusetts) that the EPA had the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. If built, the plant will emit 7.4 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
NRG has acknowledged that climate change is a serious environmental issue, and has agreed to offset a portion of its greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed new plant. Yet, lawyers for the company maneuvered to strike all references to CO2 or climate change from the week-long hearing.
In protest, local environmentalists gathered for an 8:30 a.m. protest Monday Feb 22 outside the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Groups supporting the protest included: Public Citizen, SEED Coalition, Environment Texas, Clean Water Action, Re- Energize Texas, and the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign.
Some of the protest’s participants made the following comments in a press release: (more…)
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