For Immediate Release,
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 For More Information, Contact: Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club, 404-717-3328
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen, 440-796-9695
Sierra Club and Local Citizens groups Mount Challenges to Second Wave of Texas Coal Rush
Texas only State in Nation with such a Deadly, Costly Coal
(Austin) Attorneys for Sierra Club and a Goliad and Victoria
county-based group, Citizens for a Clean Environment, plus
Environmental Defense Fund began arguments today against
one of a large number of proposed new coal plants that are
in various stages of the permitting, appeal, or construction
process in Texas.
“Nowhere else in the United States are citizens
facing such serious public health and financial risks as
we are facing in Texas because of the large number of proposed
new coal plants,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club. “Texas is also the only state in the nation where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to reject the state agency’s
air permitting regime. We are asking the EPA to take action
and place a moratorium on new coal plant permits until
the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) follows
the law of the Clean Air Act.”
The Sierra Club is challenging five coal plant permit applications this Fall and Winter in Texas:
--NRG Limestone near Jewett east of Waco
--IPA Coleto Creek between Goliad and Victoria
--Tenaska in Sweetwater west of Abilene
--Las Brisas in Corpus Christi
--White Stallion near Bay City south of Houston
Today, attorneys for the Goliad and Victoria Counties-based
Citizens for a Clean Environment, Sierra Club and Environmental
Defense Fund are protesting the coal plant permit application
of IPA Coleto Creek at the State Office of Administrative
Hearings in Austin. The company is asking the TCEQ for
a permit to expand an existing coal plant by a second unit.
This week’s contested case hearing will consider proposed
air emissions, while Sierra Club and the Citizens for a
Clean Environment also have concerns about water usage
and water quality.
"The existing coal plant at Coleto Creek has been
dumping pollution and toxins on local residents for years,
harming their health and property, using huge amounts of
water. The Citizens for a Clean Economy are now rightly
standing up to ensure that this destruction and injustice
does not continue," said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen Texas. "If
this expansion is allowed, the environmental damage, health
impacts, and lowered property values in the community will
increase significantly. TCEQ can't let that happen."
At a preliminary hearing in Sweetwater, Texas tomorrow, Sierra Club and the Multi-County Coalition a citizens group from Nolan and surrounding counties will request standing to challenge the Tenaska coal permit application.
Other upcoming hearings in what environmentalists consider
the ‘second wave’ of the Texas coal rush are: Las Brisas
coke plant contested case hearing, November 2 in Corpus
Christi; NRG Limestone, TCEQ Commissioners Hearing and
decision in Austin, November 18.
The Las Brisas contested case hearing on November 2nd is expected to be heavily attended due to extensive opposition to the permit from the Coastal Bend area Clean Economy Coalition, Sierra Club, and Public Citizen. The proposed urban coke plant would emit more air pollution than all of the existing gas refineries in Corpus Christi.
The TCEQ Commissioners decision on NRG Limestone on November
18th could signal the start of construction of this proposed
coal plant in a region surrounding Waco with two new coal
plants already under construction – Sandy Creek in Riesel
and Oak Grove in Franklin.