Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club consists of over 25,000 members.
The Chapter spans the entire state of Texas, excepting El Paso, which
is part of the Rio Grande Chapter.
Located in Austin, the Lone Star Chapter's State Conservation Office
serves Sierrans as their grassroots communications center. We also provide
Sierrans with a full time professional activist staff employed to represent
Sierrans as we fight at the state level to protect and conserve Texas'
diverse and valuable natural heritage.
Six new coal-fired power plants are applying for permits and one is in development in Texas:
TXU and Sempra near Franklin in Robertson County
Alcoa/TXU in Rockdale, Milam County
City Public Service in San Antonio
L.S. Power in Riesel near Waco
Port Authority in Calhoun County
Formosa Plastics at Point Comfort in Calhoun County.
Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club Concerns about Dirty Coal Energy
1. Each of the new coal plants represents a commitment to 50 years of massive increased output of CO2 (carbon dioxide). Our Federal, State, and Local governments must rein in emissions of greenhouse gases and reverse the impacts of global warming now.
2. Coal plants (17 current operating sites in Texas with 14 boilers) are the single largest industrial sources of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and mercury air pollution in Texas, based on Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) data in the 2003 Texas Emissions Inventory.
Existing coal plants reported 1,002,227 tons of air emissions in 2003 which is 47.7% of Texas' total industrial air emissions for the year from 1955 plants (2.1 million tons). The 17 coal plants accounted for 92.5% of all Texas power plant emissions.
3. Texas ranks #1 (nearly 10,000 pounds per year) among all states for mercury air pollution from industry due to coal plants lack of smokestack controls on mercury, based on U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory data for the years 2002-2003.
4. Texas already has serious methylmercury contamination in twelve lakes and the Gulf of Mexico resulting in fish unsafe for humans. Fish consumption advisories are increasing in Texas and the Texas Department of Health uses a high threshold of 0.7 parts per million (ppm) rather than a safer 0.1 ppm.
5. Coal plants contribute significantly to urban air smog in North Texas (DFW nine-county nonattainment area), East Texas (Longview-Tyler-Marshall area) and Central Texas (Austin and San Antonio) as well as poor visibility in Big Bend National Park. More than five million Texans suffer due to poor air quality in most parts of East Texas.
6. Six major new coal-petroleum coke plants are proposed in Texas and currently seek air pollution permits using old technology rather than new technology which could potentially reduce stack emissions by up to 50%. The new coal plants will make it difficult for Texas to clean up its air and water pollution problems. TXU-Rockdale is adding a seventh new coal plant since it is already permitted to replace three old lignite boilers at Alcoa's smelter with old pulverized coal technology. Total net increase from the six new coal plants, excluding TXU-Rockdale net reduction project, is estimated between 60,000 - 70,000 tons of new air pollution and 14,000 tons of new NOx (nitrogen oxide).
7. Coal-combustion waste (CCW) from coal plants needs to be disposed of as hazardous waste and comprehensive monitoring programs need to be in place for CCW disposal and ground water impacts.
8. Texas is the #1 coal-consuming state in the nation, according to a report from the Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texass July 6, 2005 report.
9. TXU ranked #1 in 2003 among all Texas companies for air pollution. TXU's power plants produce:
513,000 tons criteria emissions,
nearly 25% of Texas industrial pollution,
more than 47% of all Texas power plant pollution.
If you are concerned about coal-fired power plants and their potential effects on your health and the health of your family and friends, please express your concerns in writing to:
Governor Rick Perry, Office of the Governor
P. O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428.