Click here for Administrative Law Judges'
Written Decision on Las Brisas
College Students and Clean Economy Coalition on the March
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
For More Information, Contact:
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen / Coal Block Organizer, 440-796-9695
Ilan Levin, Senior Attorney, Environmental Integrity Project,
512-619-7287 Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, 512-299-1550 or Ann Smith, Clean Economy Coalition, 361-774-8127 or 361-992-1535
Clean Economy Coalition, Sierra Club, and
Environmental Integrity Project Attorneys Win Round One in
Fight to Stop Las Brisas Pet Coke Plant –
State Administrative Law Judges Recommend Denial of Permit
(Austin) Sierra Club, Corpus Christi’s Clean Economy Coalition and over 70 parties are celebrating a decision by Texas State Administrative Law Judges yesterday recommending that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) deny a significantly flawed permit application for a petroleum coke plant proposed in Corpus Christi, Texas.
"While we do not agree with everything in the 120-page
decision, we are relieved that the two administrative law
judges are recommending a denial of this ill-advised project,” said Ilan Levin Attorney for Environmental Integrity Project representing Sierra Club. “The
decision puts the permit on life support. It would be extremely
unusual for Gov. Perry's environmental appointees to miraculously
breathe life into this permit, based on the clear deficiencies
that the judges pointed out."
Over 70 persons and entities contested the Las Brisas permit application before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The protesting parties included: Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition, Clean Economy Coalition, Citizens for Environmental Justice, and the Medical Group, consisting of numerous individual doctors and medical societies.
“The people of Corpus Christi who have been fighting this coke plant are delighted with yesterday’s decision against Las Brisas Energy Center,” said Hal Suter with Coastal Bend Sierra Club. “This proposed coke plant would have meant additional pollution in Corpus Christi – more than all of the existing refineries combined. That’s
why so many people including so many medical professionals
have been involved in opposing Las Brisas.”
Last year, the Nueces County Medical Society and the San Patricio-Aransas Pass-Refugio (tri-county) Medical Society both passed resolutions in opposition to the Las Brisas permit based on health concerns.
“The bottom line is the judges ruled that TCEQ has to reassess the permit. We
would hope that the TCEQ would review the judgment and follow
the recommendations that this permit not be issued.” said allergist and immunologist Dr. Wesley Stafford who is a spokesperson for the Clean Economy Coalition of Corpus Christi and a member of the Nueces County Medical Society. “The
physicians of this community have been in opposition to this
plant from the beginning because of the concerns about the
potential detriments to health that this plant would bring
The three TCEQ Commissioners who are all appointees of Governor Perry will consider the SOAH judges’ recommendation in late Spring and make a decision about what to do with the permit.
“Sure. The TCEQ Commissioners could do the right
thing for the public health, deny this permit and show us
a new day and cleaner air for Texas,” said Hal Suter with Sierra Club. “However, it’s also an economic situation Las Brisas will have to look at. Coal costs are rising because coal plants have to meet the national air quality standards which are being strengthened. Plus, consumers are demanding clean energy. We hope Las Brisas Energy Center will give up their plan to burn coke and instead use the wind to make electricity like their name would imply. Or,
better yet, how about some solar power for the Sparkling
City by the Sea?”