Luminant Mythbusters

Luminant has launched a website, www.ReconsiderTheRule.com , company officials said, where Texans concerned about the impact of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on Texas jobs and the grid’s reliability can send a letter to their legislators.

The EPA responds to these shenanigans in its own words… enjoy.
In response to inquiries on the website recently established on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, EPA today issued the following:

This site contains inaccuracies and unfortunate scare tactics. This rule did not come as a surprise – far from it – and yesterday’s announcement reflects Luminant’s own business decisions. For the past five years this company has been complying with very similar standards put in place by the previous administration, which agreed that Texas was having a significant impact on air quality in other states. The company does not have to comply in six months as it continues to claim, and EPA has made that clear in numerous meetings with Luminant officials. Given that, it is unclear why the company continues to threaten to lay off workers.  This website was prepared before we began serious discussions about potential alternatives that would have avoided shut-downs or layoffs in these difficult economic times – it seems apparent that some are more interested in blaming EPA than in working to protect these jobs.  

Fact-checking the website:

Sets an Unreasonable Deadline
The standard timeframe for permitting, constructing and installing major new emissions controls is several years, yet the rule unrealistically allows less than six months to comply.  Thus, curtailing plant and/or Texas mine operations will be the only short-term compliance option.

Fact check:

·        Luminant has known since 2005, when the Bush Administration issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) that they would need to comply with the Clean Air Act.  Since 2005, Luminant has made business decisions to comply with a rule that is very similar to what EPA announced in July – staying within pollution limits without needing to make serious investments in pollution controls at several facilities.

·        In fact, the company has until March 1, 2013 to comply with the annual emission reduction provisions in the rule. So, while the time between finalization of the rule and the beginning of the program on January 1, 2012 is relatively brief, sources actually have a much longer time to transition and to make the necessary allowance trades.

·        Rather than continuing their previous efforts at complying with CAIR and its important health safeguards, and despite EPA’s repeated pledges to work with them in finding an agreeable path to cutting pollution, Luminant made the choice to lay off workers and idle facilities.

Threatens Electric Reliability

Curtailing or ceasing operations at these power plants will mean less power provided to the Texas electricity grid and the risk of power shortages.  

Fact check:

·        In its 40-year history, there have been no instances in which the Clean Air Act has contributed to electric grid reliability problems. The successful history of this law demonstrates that we can reduce harmful air pollution while ensuring the reliable delivery of electricity to our families and businesses.
·        As recently as Sunday, September 11, EPA offered to share additional information that shows the potential for a no-shut down, no-layoff solution for statewide compliance. It is unfortunate that company leadership rushed to a decision that needlessly puts their workers’ jobs at risk.

Ignores Bipartisan Concerns

A large and bipartisan contingent of Texas leaders expressed grave concerns about the rule, the fairness of the process and its adverse effects on jobs, prices and reliability in Texas.  

Fact check:

·        Before issuing the new rule, EPA explicitly requested and received extensive comments from Texas sources of pollution, regulators, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and then updated its data and modeling based on those comments.
·        EPA provided the fullest possible public participation in the development of CSAPR.  EPA held three public hearings on the proposed rule and also issued three notices of data availability to provide additional opportunities for public comment.

Is Unfair to Texas

Prior to issuing the final rule in July, the EPA never actually proposed including Texas in the annual emissions limit program, and never provided any proposed annual limit for Texas.

Fact check:

·        Again, Texas was included in and, for the past five years, has been complying with the previous air transport rule (CAIR), a program started by the previous administration, and one that they complied with in a way that is also available to them under these standards.
·        As Texas points out, we did propose to take them out of the program – at the same time, we requested comment on whether doing so would result in significant increases in SO2 emissions from Texas. After considering TCEQ’s comments on the proposal – which prompted changes in EPA’s emission s projections – EPA concluded that significant increases in SO2 emissions would result if they were not included in this rule.

Thanks,

Rebecca Mayer
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6

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One response to “Luminant Mythbusters

  1. Thank you EPA for putting the truth out front and center.

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