Tag Archives: mayor parker

Houstonians speak up against White Stallion coal plant and for clean air!

Last Tuesday, October 18th Houstonians sent a message to Mayor Parker and city council: we want clean air!  Sixteen clean air supporters showed up at the city council meeting to deliver hundreds of petitions to Mayor Parker and the council against the White Stallion coal-fired power plant, proposed just 20 miles outside of a region with some of the worst air pollution problems in the country, including Houston. 

Roughly half of those present spoke to the council about their concern over the possibility of this coal plant being built so close to Houston where thousands of people already suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases.  Houston leads the state in asthma rates and many must look out for “bad air days” which often determines whether or not they  will spend time outdoors.   It is evident that the last thing Houston needs is another major ource of smog that will emit the equivalent pollution of 1.7 million cars.

It was a great day at city hall and below are accounts from some of the folks who came out and stood up for air quality.  Stay tuned for updates on whether Mayor Parker takes action against this proposed coal plant.

I thought our being at the council meeting and the talks we delivered made an
impact on the council members.  My best moment was when one of the council members starting asking questions about White Stallion Power Plant after one of our speakers, showing that he had paid attention and now wanted more information!  That’s how it starts to change.  One by one.”
– Don

“Highlight of the city council visit was seeing the concern on the Council regarding the White Stallion plant, especially Councilman Ed Gonzalez.” – Bette

“I signed up to be a last minute speaker. Having not planned on speaking, I had nothing prepared. (Scary!)  While waiting for my turn to speak, I flipped through the notes packet the team prepared for the Council Members and found some key points that I realized I could use to help deliver “my story” to the Council. Worked out GREAT! So my lasting memory from this event will be a lesson – ‘even when it appears the odds of proving useful may be remote, don’t refrain, you may well end up being a big help’” – Joe

Gasping for Air: White Stallion’s Threat to Houston’s Health

Study Predicts More Unhealthy Air for Houstonians if Proposed Coal Plant Built

 New air quality modeling analysis of the potential White Stallion coal plant predicts dangerous levels of smog for Houston residents

Yesterday, Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro Tem, City Council Member Ed Gonzalez gathered with health and environmental advocates in front of an eighteen-foot inhaler at the reflection pool outside Houston City Hall to release Sierra Club’s new study showing the potential risks to Houston residents of increased ozone smog from the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

We must do everything in our power to ensure clean air for our families, neighbors and friends,” said Houston Vice Mayor Pro Tem, City Council Member Ed Gonzalez.  “The proposed White Stallion Energy Center, if built, would be located just 20 miles outside the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria non-attainment region.  I’m concerned that it would put the City of Houston at greater risk for additional bad air days and affect the quality of life for our citizens.”

Sierra Club’s new report, White Stallion’s Potential Impact on Houston Air Quality, prepared by Dr. Tammy M. Thompson with MIT’s Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change finds:

  • Ground level ozone concentrations, or smog, measured at air quality monitors in the Houston area and averaged over eight hours, are often above the 84 parts per billion (ppb) limit, a National Ambient Air Quality Standard set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1997.  The Houston area therefore has been designated a “non-attainment” area for ozone and the City will struggle to meet attainment of the 84 ppb ozone standard by the year 2018.  The US EPA will announce in mid-2011, a new, health-based standard that will be a value between 60 and 70 ppb.
  • White Stallion proposes to release emissions of 4,048 tons/year of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), 288 tons/year of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and 5780 tons/ year of Carbon Monoxide (CO) from two stacks that would be located near Bay City in Matagorda County about 75 miles to the Southwest of Houston.
  • For the Houston area monitors, the maximum increases in daily peak ozone concentrations averaged over 8 hours and averaged across all days of the episode when ozone values were greater than 70 ppb, 65 ppb, and 60 ppb was 0.03 ppb, 0.04 ppb, and 0.04 ppb respectively.

The potential threat of additional pollution in the Houston area from the proposed White Stallion plant is cause for concern from Houston parents of children and Dr. Stuart L. Abramson. 

Dr. Abramson, a member of the Leadership Council for the American Lung Association of the Plains-Gulf Region and a Houston area, board-certified allergist/immunologist and asthma specialist warned of threats to public health from the proposed White Stallion coal plant saying —“There are already substantial health effects seen in sensitive individuals at current levels of ozone air pollution in the Greater Houston area.  When our Houston air quality intermittently exceeds the health-based standards, the pollution levels trigger yellow, orange, and red alert status.  The additional pollution from projected emissions from the White Stallion power plant, though proposed for 75 miles southwest of Houston, could only exacerbate ozone levels in the Greater Houston area and make it more difficult for sensitive individuals, particularly those with respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.”

Lydia Avila, Conservation Organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, “The last thing Houston needs is another source of pollution that’s going to put our community in even greater risk of health problems. It’s time for the City of Houston to take a real stand against the proposed White Stallion coal plant and be an even bigger advocate for clean energy.”

 Background Information – White Stallion Facing Obstacles

Although the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave White Stallion a permit, the permit was remanded after a legal challenge showed that White Stallion filed multiple and conflicting plot plans to different governmental agencies.

The proposed White Stallion coal plant faces obstacles and may not be built:

  1. Air permit remanded back to TCEQ
  2. 404 Permit from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  3. Waste Water Permit from TCEQ
  4. Water contract from LCRA
  5. Other economic obstacles

Posted by Donna Hoffman, Communications Coordinator, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  Thanks Jared Pesseto, Sean, and Ben for inflating that humongous inhaler hand in front of Houston City Hall.

Check out the photo album on the Texas Sierra Club page on Facebook!

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Houston City Council Members Support White Stallion Fight.

White Stallion is a proposed coal fired power plant that would be located in Bay City. Residents of Houston are taking notice because they would experience the negative effects being the closest large city. Houston Mayor Annise Parker wrote a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers asking them to not grant White Stallion the necessary 404 permit until they perform a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). White Stallion claims that they don’t need to perform an EIS. It is very important for them to perform an EIS so we have all the facts and know how dumping out multiple harmful chemicals will effect the environment around the plant. 

There have been five members of the Houston City Council who have joined Mayor Parker by writing letters to the US Army Corps of Engineers asking that an Environmental Impact Statement be done. The following City Council Members have written these letters: Jolanda Jones (At Large 5), Ed Gonzalez of District H, James Rodriguez of District I, Stephen Costello (At Large 1), and Melissa Noriega (At Large 3). We would like to thank these City Counsel Members and urge you to do that same.

Ways That You Can Take Action

  • ·You can join Mayor Parker and the City Counsel members by writing a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers asking them not to grant the 404 Permit.
  • ·If you don’t see the name of your City Counsel Member ask them to join their colleagues by writing a letter the US Army Corps of Engineers against granting White Stallion a 404 Permit.
  • ·Sign up to volunteer for White Clouds NOT White Stallion because every volunteer can make a difference. Please email Kat Herrera at kat.m.herrera@gmail.com if you can help out.
– Sean Wicks, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Intern

Houston simply cannot afford a new source of air pollution.

According to the American Lung Association, Houston has one of the poorest air qualities in the nation. It’s no secret that Houston has refineries next door to neighborhoods along the ship channel. Within these communities, entire families live and their children go to school breathing air ridden with all kinds of pollutants.  The ALA estimates there to be more than 96,000 children at risk for pediatric asthma, based on recent census data. Could this be because Harris County has such unhealthy air? The ALA gave Harris County an “F” grading, based on annual average ozone levels.

Businesses and refineries that emit pollutants in the Houston area have rarely stayed under the EPA limit, if at all.  In neighboring Matagorda County the potential for air pollution emitted by the proposed White Stallion coal-fired power plant will make it harder still for Houston to achieve clean air.  If this coal-fired power plant is allowed to become fully operational, the quality of air in Houston will have even more difficulty staying under federal limits.

In a health impact study conducted by MSB Energy Associates on the proposed White Stallion coal plant, emissions could add more than 400 cases of chronic bronchitis.  This pollution may exacerbate the asthma of about 13,000 who already live with the condition. The most chilling effect is that there will be 630 deaths directly attributed to the pollutants emitted by this coal plant. This could be the death of a parent, a caretaker, or a child.

Another startling number to look at is the health care costs of such a plant.  Although the plant will provide funding to Bay City’s schools, the total estimated cost of health care due to air pollutants is more than $5 billion!  Already in hard times, we as Texans simply cannot afford a new coal plant.

Houstonians, please contact Mayor Parker and urge her to continue her support for clean air.  Tell our mayor that we can’t afford a new coal plant, to say NO to White Stallion.

– Kat Herrera, Beyond Coal Intern

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kat at kat.m.herrera@gmail.com.   

Thank you – Mayor Parker for a taking action on White Stallion

Yesterday Sierra Club members lined up at the Houston city council meeting to thank Mayor Parker for her leadership by writing a letter requesting an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

If built – White Stallion would emit tons of toxic pollutants including greenhouse gases, ozone forming pollutants, mercury, lead, and more.  This would have a major impact on the Houston-Galveston area.  Below is a blog post talking more about the issue from Matt Tejada with Air Alliance Houston.

To read Mayor Parker’s letter – click here.

From Matthew Tejada, Ph. D – April 19th, 2011

Environmentalists across Texas would like to express our gratitude to Houston Mayor Annise Parker for joining forces with the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Bay City Port Authority, and other concerned agencies and local citizens in asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the right thing: Require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

In a letter dated April 18, 2011, Mayor Parker asked for an EIS, expressing concern to the Corps that White Stallion’s proximity to the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria ozone non-attainment region would “put my city at greater risk for additional bad air days and put at risk the investment made by industries within this area to clean up our air.”

Mayor Parker also wrote: “Houston’s industries have put time and money into reducing our pollution. Allowing such a large new source of nitrogen oxide (which is a key component of ozone), mercury, dioxin, sulfur dioxide, and lead from White Stallion to be emitted so closely to this area should be examined through the EIS process.”

A similar request in the form of a resolution was put before Harris County Commissioners Court by County Attorney Vince Ryan this morning. The resolution was unfortunately tabled, but will hopefully be reconsidered and passed at the Commissioners Court agenda in two weeks.

Last month Texas environmentalists respectfully urged the Mayor and City Council in a Houston Chronicle editorial to help persuade the Corps to call for an EIS “as decisions made today could have a profound impact on lives tomorrow.” We truly appreciate Mayor Parker’s thoughtful attention to this matter, and sincerely hope that the Corps now heeds the collective call for a White Stallion Environmental Impact Statement.

–Posted by Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club