Sierra Club praises regional haze restrictions in Texas

The Sierra Club said Dec. 9 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a plan to address serious air pollution coming from Texas that is dramatically reducing visibility at the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area in Arkansas as well as the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in Texas.

Pollution from Texas’s outdated coal-fired power plants drifts across state lines and affects visibility and public health from Colorado to Louisiana, said the club. 

Under the Regional Haze Rule, states are required to develop plans to clean up pollution and improve air quality at national parks and wilderness areas. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality put forward a do-nothing plan in 2009, now rejected by the EPA, that the commission admitted would not have cleared the air for more than 140 years and did not require a single Texas power plant to install pollution controls, the club said.

The club said the clean-air protections put in place Dec. 9 require pollution reductions from: Luminant’s Big Brown, Martin Lake, Monticello, and Sandow coal plants; NRG Energy’s Limestone coal plant; the GDF Suez Coleto Creek coal plant; Xcel Energy’s Tolk coal plant; and a San Miguel Electric Cooperative coal plant.

Glen Hooks, director of the Sierra Club’s Arkansas Chapter, said: “We’re glad to see the EPA holding Texas coal-fired power plants accountable for the haze they send to their neighbors. … While coal plants in Arkansas still need to clean up their act, we’re glad to see the EPA taking strong action to clean up our air and create commonsense safeguards that will protect our health from Texas polluters.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.