Last week, hundreds of students and community members from Corpus Christi, Texas, disappointed with the carelessness of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's permitting policy, began appealing directly to the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement offices.
The proposed petroleum coke plant, the Las Brisas Energy Center, was proposed in 2008 and is currently undergoing the contested case hearing process to obtain a permit. The hearing, conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, will result in a non-enforceable recommendation made by the Administrative Law Judges to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The hearing is set for late October.
“We decided that we can't wait while the TCEQ issues a questionable flex permit to the Las Brisas Energy Center. So we decided to gather petitions at our university calling on the EPA to intervene and sent them directly to Gina McCarthy, the head of enforcement at the EPA and assistant to Administrator Lisa Jackson” states Daniel Lucio, student at Texas A & M, Corpus Christi.
“We have a real problem with the TCEQ's permitting process,” says Jim Klein, chair of Corpus Christi's Clean Economy Coalition, “Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioner Buddy Garcia have stated that a case by case MACT analysis is not needed for this plant, and we know that this flex permitting isn't complying with the federal Clean Air Act.”
Hal Suter, of the local Sierra Club, explained, “Over a hundred of us took action and called, emailed, or signed a petition that went directly Gina McCarthy's office last week, because we can't wait while this dirty petroleum coke plant, Las Brisas, moves forward.”