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Sierra Club Sues TXU-Luminant For "Thousands Of Violations Of The Clean Air Act"

by: Adam Schwitters

Tue May 01, 2012 at 03:18 PM CDT

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and the Sierra Club filed suit against Energy Future Holdings Corp, and its subsidiary, Luminant (formerly TXU) in Federal Court in Waco earlier today.  The lawsuit targets excessive emissions of particulate matter, or soot, emanating from from Luminant’s Big Brown coal-fired power plant in Fairfield, Texas, northeast of Waco.  Soot contains mercury and other toxic metals, and can contribute to asthma, heart disease, respiratory illness, and contributes to “thousands of premature deaths every year.”  

Luminant is no stranger to controversy.  It was purchased in the nation’s largest ever leveraged buyout in 2006, and has proceeded to lose money ever since.  It has already been sued, at least, once over excessive emissions at another plant, Martin Lake, in 2010.  Three of Luminant’s North Texas coal plants (Big Brown, Martin Lake, and Monticello) are ranked among the nation's top ten worst polluting industrial facilities.  Those three plants alone account for 25% of all industrial pollution in Texas and 46% of all pollution related to power generation in the state (there are over 125 large power plants in Texas according to the EPA)

Big Brown “ranks among the top polluting coal fired power plants across the country dumping harmful emissions upon rural people, our land, and our drinking water. With state regulators unwilling to address the pollution problems created by Big Brown, a citizen suit is necessary to expose, prevent, and protect those of us, in this rural area of Texas, who must live with the outdated and dirty operations going on at the Big Brown power plant," said Vicky Prater, with COPPS for Clean Air, and a resident of nearby Navarro County.

Dr. Neil Caiman, Air Program Director of the Lonestar Chapter of the Sierra Club had this to say about the lawsuit:

 Luminant self-monitors its plants, and according to the company's own data, the Big Brown plant has violated the requirements of its own air permit thousands of times.  What's troubling is that Luminant's Big Brown plant has very lenient pollution standards compared to other power plants, and the plant is still pumping out more than three times the legal limit. That impacts the health and wellbeing of Texans.  For far too long Luminant has failed to clean up its harmful pollution and chosen not to install pollution controls, even as many other power plant operators were cleaning up their plants.  Those days are over and in order to bring Big Brown into compliance, Luminant must decide if it will clean up the power plant or retire it.
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Rick Perry's Energy Plan: Wheeze, Baby Wheeze

by: Texas Sierra Club

Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM CDT

(After last night's debate, it's important to remember the human and health costs of Rick Perry's energy and environmental policies.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Rick Perry just unveiled his energy plan for America. The plan, if implemented, will poison our air and water with toxic pollutants like soot, smog, arsenic, cadmium, dioxin, lead, and formaldehyde. It would also undercut safeguards from mercury, which is a neurotoxin and is known to harm developing fetuses.

Photobucket"Rick Perry's energy plan reads like a roadmap for making America's kids sick," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. "Under this plan, we can expect to see much higher rates of asthma among children, and risk to pregnant women from mercury exposure. Republicans like Perry are putting polluters' profits first and our kids' health last. The Republican mantra should be 'wheeze, baby, wheeze."

Perry's plan calls for scaling back basic EPA safeguards that protect our clean air and water. It would simultaneously expand development of dirty energy like coal, oil, and natural gas amounting to a one-two punch to Americans' health.

"American families have enough to worry about," Brune said. "They don't need to spend more time taking their kids to the doctor or more money on hospital bills. The only people who stand to profit from this plan are overpaid oil, coal and natural gas CEOs."

"Dismantling the EPA and assuming that states are properly watching over natural gas drilling is dangerous and puts the health of our families and communities at risk."

Perry's plan would also undercut the expansion of jobs in industries like solar-the fastest-growing industry in the energy sector.

"There's a solution to the current epidemic of pollution-related illness that will also create good, lasting local jobs, and secure America's energy independence," said Brune. "It's clean energy. America's clean energy industry is strong and thriving, even in this down economy. Rick Perry's plan would stifle that growth and return our country to a dirty, antiquated energy system. Under his plan, we'll see asthma rates among American kids soar, while countries like China surpass us in reaping the benefits from clean energy like solar and wind."

In fact, America is predicted to become the world's leader in solar energy by 2014, and in 2010, the U.S. was a net exporter of solar by $2 billion.  Solar energy creates seven times more jobs than coal, nuclear and natural gas.

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