CONTACT: Neil Carman, 512-288-5772 or Donna Hoffman, 512-477-1729
Statement of Dr. Neil Carman, Clean Air Program Director
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club
(Austin) Today the United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) disapproved components of the New Source Review
program as implemented in Texas by the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
New Source Review is an
air quality permitting program for major industrial plants,
such as coal plants, refineries, chemical plants, and cement
kilns. The EPA delegated this program in Texas to the TCEQ,
however TCEQ adopted weaker rules than allowed by the Clean
Air Act. Texas is the only state in the nation where EPA
has intervened on New Source Review.
Sierra Club applauds today’s decision by the EPA to reject TCEQ’s illegal air permitting program which has allowed so many dangerous sources of air pollution and related smog in our state.
The decision has serious implications for all new coal plants that received their permits or are seeking permits under TCEQ’s watered-down NSR program. These plants include: Oak Grove, Sandy Creek, Sandow V, Limestone III, Coleto Creek, Spruce II, New Coastal, Las Brisas, White Stallion, and Tenaska.
We need to look at these loophole-ridden permits such as Luminant/TXU’s extremely dirty Oak Grove coal plant and many others that should not be operating in this state.
In June 2010, EPA disapproved another air permitting program of the TCEQ, flexible permitting. With their step today, the EPA takes an additional and much-needed step to protect our health.