For Immediate Release (Monday, February 26, 2007):
Contact: Ken Kramer, 512-476-6962 (office), 512-626-4204 (cell)
Cyrus Reed 512-740-4086 (cell)
Donna Hoffman 512-477-1729 (office) 512-299-5776
Sierra Club Celebrates Cancellation of Eight TXU Coal Plants
Still Needed: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Time Out on Other Coal Plants
(Austin)--A Texas Sierra Club spokesperson today celebrated the cancellation of eight proposed TXU coal plants as a victory that resulted from the unprecedented coalition that mobilized vigorous opposition to the plants, but he raised concerns that state officials may now think that the building of other coal plants should proceed even though energy efficiency and expansion of renewable energy could avoid the need for the plants.
"A 'time out' on the building of any new coal plants in Texas is still needed while the State of Texas ramps up energy efficiency, clarifies and tightens the permitting process for power plants, and develops a state energy plan that emphasizes efficiency and renewable energy," said Sierra Club state director Ken Kramer. "Additionally
the Texas Legislature needs to approve the numerous energy
efficiency bills now under consideration, and that legislation
needs to be implemented before decisions on new power plants
"The cancellation of eight proposed TXU coal plants is certainly a victory for the people of Texas," said Kramer. "What forced the negotiations was the unprecedented and vigorous opposition to the coal plants from a diverse coalition of environmentalists, ranchers and other rural landowners, city mayors, prominent business leaders, faith-based groups, and numerous state legislators. The effort to pass a moratorium on permitting new coal plants, the tremendous concern demonstrated by the thousands of Texans who rallied at the State Capitol against fast-tracking coal plants, the lawsuits and permit contests by environmental and landowner groups - all of these contributed to the decision to cancel eight coal plants."
"Let's be clear, however, that while Texans have won a battle against dirty coal plants, we have not yet won the larger conflict over the energy future for our state, our nation, and our planet," said Kramer. "Our best energy future is to pursue smart energy solutions. We must take the next steps:
increase energy efficiency, expand the use of renewable energy, and clean up or replace existing dirty fuel sources.
We welcome the commitments from the new TXU in that regard and look forward to them being implemented expeditiously and vigorously."
"The fact that TXU apparently is still planning to pursue three coal-fired power plants in Texas - ones using dirty lignite coal - and that other utility companies are planning to pursue at least eight or more other coal (and/or petroleum coke) burning power plants in Texas is certainly cause for continuing concern," noted Kramer.
He said further, "We don't understand how TXU's intention to go forward with some new coal plants jives with their commitments on energy efficiency and renewables. A report by Optimal Energy demonstrated that energy efficiency could meet anticipated new energy demands in Texas, so why does the new TXU want to go forward with any new coal plants?"
"There is a danger that some people will now think that the cancellation of eight proposed coal plants takes care of all of the concerns that have been raised about the use of coal as an energy source and that we can now
continue with business as usual," Kramer added.
He stated, "We need to move away from reliance on fuel
choices that make certain communities 'sacrifice zones'
for our wasteful energy consumption. For example, we need
to address the impacts on local communities that arise
from the mining, transporting, and/or burning of coal.
Allowing the building of even some new coal plants does
not deal with those issues."