Dr. Elliot Trester, MD with Physicians for Social
Responsibility, warns against poisoning ourselves
with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate
matter, mercury, and carbon dioxide from power plants
LUMINANT/TXU Martin Lake Coal-fired
Power Plant Faces Lawsuit for Thousands of Pollution Violations
Sierra Club: “Dirty” Power Plant Emits Most Mercury in U.S.;
Action Taken After EPA, Texas Agency Ignore Problem and Fail to Act.
Austin, TX. — July 29, 2008 -- The Sierra
Club put Energy
Future Holdings Corp. and its subsidiary, Luminant (formerly TXU), on notice that the environmental group intends to sue the utility giant in federal court, for thousands of air pollution violations at the Martin Lake coal-fired power plant, near Longview, Texas. The Martin Lake plant is #1 in the nation for power plant mercury pollution, emitting 1,705 pounds in 2005, according to the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory.
Both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored excessive soot pollution and other violations at the Martin Lake plant, putting the health of nearby communities at risk, according to the Sierra Club’s “notice of intent to sue,” a legal prerequisite under the federal Clean Air Act.
The Martin Lake coal-fired power plant emits a toxic soup of air pollution in enormous volumes each year, especially soot particles, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide—chemicals that worsen asthma, acid rain, smog and global warming.
"Luminant's Martin Lake coal-fired power plant is consistently among the dirtiest in the entire nation and one the worst polluting coal plants in Texas every year," stated Neil Carman, clean air program director the Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter. "Martin Lake has the highest total air pollution among more than 2,000 industrial plants statewide," Carman added. He pointed out that "In fact Martin Lake accounted for nearly 10% of all industrial air pollution in Texas in 2006."
Pollution from the Martin Lake power plant and its smokestack plumes can fly for hundreds of miles over communities in East and North Texas, putting the health of the several million Texans who live downwind at risk.
"Martin Lake's outrageous air pollution is one reason the Dallas-Fort Worth area is once again under siege with high ozone levels when its massive plume of smog-forming nitrogen oxides blows into the north Texas areas," said Ken Kramer, the Sierra Club's state director. "Martin Lake has been a big bad apple of a coal plant for decades and needs to be cleaned up according to the Clean Air Act," Kramer added.
"This coal-fired power plant is consistently in the top 10 highest carbon dioxide emitters in the nation, the top 50 highest sulfur dioxide emitters in the nation, and is shamefully ranked number one in terms of the highest power plant mercury polluter in the U.S.,” noted Ilan Levin, senior attorney with the Environmental
Integrity Project, representing Sierra Club in this legal action.. "Our goal is to stop illegal air pollution through strict enforcement of the law," Levin added.
The Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of the Sierra Club, sent Luminant a 60-day notice letter of intent to sue as required by the federal Clean Air Act.
Other data on the Martin Lake Power Plant include the following:
• #6 in the nation for carbon dioxide pollution, emitting more than 20 million tons of the greenhouse gas every year, according to U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Markets data.
• #23 in the nation for power plant sulfur dioxide pollution, emitting 79,000 tons in 2007, according to U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Markets data.
• Emits more nitrogen oxide pollution than any other Texas plant, according to U.S. EPA’s 2007 Clean Air Markets data.
• Top 3 in Texas for asthma-causing soot pollution, according to Texas Industrial Emissions Inventory database from the TCEQ (2006).
• Responsible for 10% (1,814,067 tons) of air
pollution in Texas in 2006, according to Texas Industrial
Emissions Inventory database from the TCEQ.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
The Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org) is the nation's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with 1.3 million members and supporters.
The Environmental Integrity Project (http://www.environmentalintegrity.org) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization established in March 2002 to advocate for more effective enforcement of environmental laws.
EIP was founded by Eric Schaeffer, who was director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Regulatory Enforcement. He resigned in 2002 after publicly expressing his frustration with efforts of the Bush Administration to weaken enforcement of the Clean Air Act and other laws.