(Alpine, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi,
Dallas) – Hundreds of Texans from all walks of life -- approximately 50 in Alpine, 200 in Austin, 50 in Beaumont, 100 in Corpus Christi and 200 in Dallas rallied to Roll Beyond Coal on Halloween, Saturday, October 31. Calmly scared half to death about rising coal costs, health and environmental impacts of 12 new Texas coal plants, they are taking action to stop the second wave of the Texas coal rush and promoting instead clean air, clean power, green jobs, and the availability of water in the future.
Coal Pollution means Attainment of Federal Air Quality
Standards Shot to Hell
12 new coal plants are a significant jump to the 17 operating
coal plants we already have in Texas,” said Rita Beving with Dallas Sierra Club. “Whether it’s
the nearby plants being built east of Waco or the one proposed
as far away as Abilene, the wind carries coal plant pollution
north to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and will only exacerbate
our ability to reach attainment.”
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is currently in non-attainment of required federal clean air standards, as is Houston and the Beaumont-Port Arthur area. Austin, San Antonio and the north east Texas area have early action compacts and are near non-attainment. New federal air quality standards coming this Fall (70 ppb)will mean that several additional regions of Texas will go into non-attainment.
Many states around the nation have dropped plans for coal plants, letting Texas run far ahead in a horrible lonely lead in the opposition direction. With Michigan trailing at only 4 proposed new coal plants, Texas has the largest number still moving in various stages of permitting – contested case hearings, appeal, and construction. With the grotesque rate of acceptance of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), a whole army of new coal plants could go online next year emitting their enormous tonnage of pollution as they rev up to a full-throttled, smog-spewing, global warming, lung-clogging, nerve-shattering, mind-numbing, and heart-stopping blast of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, mercury, and carbon dioxide. See the fact sheet list of the proposed coal plants in Texas and the gory truth on their cumulative emissions numbers.
Human Health Impacts
Corpus Christi cardiologist, Dr. Greg Silverstein said, “In
Corpus Christi, we already experience twice as much asthma
as the state average. If the Las Brisas petcoke plant is
allowed to go forward with the huge annual emissions of smog
and smoke in their permit application, we will see a significant
increase of even more asthma in Corpus Christi and the surrounding
towns. I am concerned about my patients and all the people
of Corpus Christi.”
Coke is regulated similarly to coal and it emits the same nasty pollutants. See just what effects coal and coke plants have on human physiology in the attached Fact
Coastal Bend doctors of the Nueces County Medical Society and the Tri-County San Patricio-Aransas-Refugio Medical Society passed resolutions opposing the permitting of the hilariously-named Las Brisas (the Breezes) coke plant. Corpus Christi citizens from all walks of life united across class, Hispanic and Anglos, men, women, children, and the elderly crowded into a room that couldn’t contain their opposition at last February’s preliminary hearing in which a large number of individuals and organizations including the Clean Economy Coalition and the Sierra Club received ‘standing’ for a contested case hearing which began today, Monday, November 2.
Clean Energy Solutions and Green Jobs on the brighter side of the Dark Ages “There are many reasons to oppose coal plants – they
cost too much, make people sick, contribute to global warming,
and use enormous amounts of water,” said Eva Hernandez, Regional Organizer for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Another
reason is that they are a huge dangerous diversion from the
clean power and green jobs economy that Texas is so perfectly
suited for and already leading.”
Roll Beyond Coal is a project of Sierra Club’s Climate Recovery Partnership and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. In Texas, Sierra Club is fighting to stop new coal plants and clean up and phase out old coal plants. Sierra Club’s environmental partners include our 14 Regional Sierra Club groups, lawyers on the Texas contested case hearings the Environmental Integrity Project, running buddies Sierra Student Coalition, Public Citizen, and a cast of dozens of awesome Texas organizations.