Today, a small group of physicians from the Dallas County Medical Society, along with environmental activists, filed at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for more emissions regulations at three Luminant coal plants in East Texas. This filing, the latest in an ongoing campaign, was completely unnecessary.
With Texas air becoming cleaner, the record is clear that existing laws and regulations are working.
We certainly share in everyone’s concern and desire for cleaner air. That’s why Luminant has a strong and proud history of meeting or exceeding the requirements of all state and federal emissions standards at Big Brown, Martin Lake and Monticello and all of our power plants.
In today’s case, the doctors’ diagnosis is wrong and misleading. The reason the Dallas-Fort Worth area does not meet the federal ozone standard is largely because of nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles, not our coal plants. In fact, the TCEQ reports, about 90 percent of NOx, the emission that leads to ozone formation, comes from mobile sources.
But blaming the real cause doesn’t fit with these activists’ narrow agenda of trying to close coal plants and force Texans to pay higher costs for their electric power from less reliable sources. Even the report by Rice University Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Cohan estimates the cost of replacing the capacity of these plants with wind power at well over $50 billion and solar energy at $40 billion.
The Cohan report isn’t a realistic plan for a rapidly growing state like Texas that must have reliable electric generation as power demand increases. With the Texas electric grid operating close to its targeted reserve margin, plants of this size are critical to ensure the stability of the grid year-round and especially during hot Texas summers.