Texas Leads the Nation in Coal Plant Pollution, Fifth
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2008
Laurie Vanhoose, Sierra Club, 512-476-2052 or 512-217-8459 Donna Hoffman, 512-477-1729 or 512-299-5776
Public Kept in Dark about Costs of New Coal Plant
be blinded to higher energy bills
(Houston) -- The Sierra Club today pressed the Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make public important information about the costs of an expensive coal plant being developed by Houston-based Dynegy near Waco, Texas.
The group filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court to obtain documents withheld from a Freedom of Information Act response that detail some of the risks of the new coal plant. The failure of the Rural Utilities Service to provide this information to the public is consistent with the Sierra Club's concern, expressed in a letter to the federal agency two weeks ago, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to place taxpayers and consumers at risk by approving new coal-fired power plants without first fully evaluating the consequences.
"The costs of coal continue to rise, placing more strain on households already burdened with high energy costs," said Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra
Club's National Coal Campaign. "Approving
these plants without fully evaluating the negative impacts,
looking at alternatives, or providing cost information to
the public puts taxpayers, consumers, and the environment
"With more coal plants proposed than any other company in the nation, Dynegy is not only setting up the risk of future economic burden for electricity consumers, they are stepping up to be one of the worst new polluters in the country," said
Laurie Vanhoose Sierra Club's coal campaign organizer in
Today's action comes after the Rural Utilities Service failed
to disclose nearly 100 pages of information about Dynegy's
Sandy Creek coal plant, including definitions of "Cost of Coal" and "Operating Standards", as well as an "Economic Analysis of LS Power Transaction", purchase power agreements, credit ratings from Standard & Poor's
and Fitch Ratings, and all records related to a loan guarantee
for the project approved by the government. These documents
are important for ratepayers to understand the energy prices
they will be paying for the next 50 years and to determine
whether tax dollars could be better spent on other energy
"Across the country it is becoming clear that energy efficiency and clean energy are better for the economy and for our children's environment than more dirty coal plants," continued Nilles. "The
Rural Utilities Service needs to be more careful with our
Last week the Sierra Club filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Texas related to the levels of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that
would be spewed from Dynegy's Sandy Creek coal plant.
"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 at the time. "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."
The Sierra Club's lawsuit on the Rural Utilities Service disclosures was filed today in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, where Sierra Club's headquarters are located.