Contacts: Laurie Vanhoose, Sierra Club, 512-476-2052 or 512-217-8459
Neil Carman, 512-288-5772 Donna Hoffman, 512-299-5776
Sierra Club & Public Citizen
Fight to Clean Up Dynegy Coal Plant near Waco; Protect
(Houston) -- The Sierra Club today took action to hold coal developer Dynegy accountable for failing to obtain required regulatory approvals of pollution levels at its Sandy Creek coal plant near Waco, Texas. The failure jeopardizes the health of nearby residents, exposing them to unhealthy levels of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. Dynegy also deprived local citizens of their rights to participate in the plant's permitting process. Houston-based Dynegy has more coal plants proposed than any other company in the nation, making it one of the worst new polluters in the country.
"More than four years ago the developers told local residents concerned about toxic mercury pollution in their water that the plant would be clean and comply with the law," said Sierra Club's Laurie Vanhoose. "Yet today Dynegy is building the coal plant without modern pollution controls, putting the health of Texans at risk. Dynegy has broken its promises to the people of Texas."
"Coal is a killer. It takes our breath away, causes heart attacks, brain damage, and early death. There's no excuse for using any coal, anymore,"
said Tom "Smitty" Smith, Director of Public Citizen's Texas Office. Public Citizen is a plaintiff with Sierra Club in the legal action today against Dynegy.
Without modern pollution controls, Dynegy's Sandy Creek plant will emit illegally high levels of mercury, dioxin, and 65 other 'hazardous air pollutants' which pose serious threats to public health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Among the most threatening to nearby communities are dioxin-one of the most potent carcinogens on the planet and
mercury-- a neurotoxin that negatively affects the developing brains of unborn children and infants whose mothers consume contaminated fish. One in six women of childbearing age in the U.S. already has enough mercury in her body to put a baby at risk of developmental disorders and learning disabilities.
"The good news is that there is something we can do about mercury pollution," said Dr. Neil Carman of the Sierra Club. "We have the technology to affordably reduce mercury pollution. Now coal plants across the simply need to make use it."
"Texas has more mercury pollution than any other state in the country and Dynegy is planning to make this serious public health threat worse," said Vanhoose. "The actions of Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson and the developers of this coal plant, if allowed to continue, jeopardize the health and welfare of our communities.
Dynegy has encountered difficulties with pursuing its plans for dirty coal plants in other states as well. In June a Georgia judge ruled that Dynegy's proposed plant was required to set a limit for carbon dioxide pollution, the leading contributor to global warming. In March the Iowa Department of Natural Resources threw out an air quality permit application for Dynegy's coal plant there, and earlier this week financing arrangements for the Sandy Creek plant in Texas and another Dynegy coal plant in Arkansas were challenged in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"By continuing to push its dirty new coal plants Dynegy is pursuing a dangerous course for the planet, the health of people across the nation, and its shareholders," said Laurie Vanhoose. "It is time for Dynegy to focus on developing clean, renewable energy sources and drop plans for taking us back to 19th century coal plant technology."