Tag Archives: public citizen

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and SEED Welcome Phase-out of Luminant Coal Units in Northeast Texas

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and the SEED Coalition welcomed the announcement today by TXU-Luminant that it will phase out two units at its coal-burning power plants and cease lignite coal mining at its Monticello Plant in northeast Texas.

“The announcement by Luminant today is a victory for all Texans who care about clean air. Coal-fired electricity is the primary source of toxic mercury pollution and is a leading trigger of asthma attacks. Children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory illness are especially vulnerable to air pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Texas. 

Karen Hadden of SEED coalition adds, “Monticello is one of the worst units for mercury pollution in the nation. Mercury pollution results in brain damage to children.”

Luminant’s announcement can largely be tied to poor financial management according to a report released in March 2011 from analyst Tom Sanzillo demonstrated Luminant’s poor financial management of the Monticello, Big Brown, and Martin Lake merchant coal plants . The report can be found here.

The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and the SEED Coalition call on Luminant to follow the examples of other rational coal plant phase outs around the country and to protect workers and support clean energy reinvestment.

In March, Tennessee Valley Authority announced that it would phase out 18 units at its coal-fired power plants in the Southeast. This victory for clean air could be achieved, TVA said, while retraining workers for clean energy jobs or transferring them to other facilities. San Antonio’s CPS Energy announced the retirement of the Deely Coal while committing to retrain the workers for clean energy jobs or transferring them to other facilities.  The transition to clean energy in San Antonio will create between 800 and 1,000 local, clean energy jobs.

“Luminant’s actions are a good first step, but fail to get to the real issue. Even with low-sulfur Western coal, the emissions from the Big Brown plant are some of the highest in the state” said Tom “Smitty” Smith with Texas Public Citizen.  “Luminant needs to develop a long term plan for retiring Big Brown in addition to its temporary idling of units at Monticello.”

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Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign counts 97 coal plants retired or committed to phasing out since the beginning of 2010. Those 97 coal plants represent 33,000 megawatts of dirty energy, or almost 10% of the coal power in the country.

Contact:  Eva Hernandez, 512-299-1550, Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, 512-797-8468

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Your Congressperson is in Town- Time for a Visit

Congress is officially in recess. Most members go to their home districts and host town halls, local meet-ups, “constituent coffees”, and attend local events.

You can find your representative by going here: http://www.house.gov/

In the top right hand corner, fill in your zipcode. When it shows you your representative, click on the little computer icon to go to their website. Search their website for a calendar of local events.

We’re looking for people to be a part of Sierra Club contingents to these events to stand up for clean air and clean water. If you’re interested, email Flavia at flavia.delafuente@sierraclub.org and I’ll get you started.

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Second best! LCRA delay on Coal Plant Water

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and numerous Texas water users applauded LCRA’s decision yesterday to delay a decision on a proposed White Stallion coal plant water contract.

Matagorda Co. Judge McDonald opposes water for coal

The Board room was full and public comment began with elected officials from Matagorda County in the south, Travis County in the middle and Burnet County in the north of the Colorado River basin, all opposing the coal plant water and all citing drought concerns.

Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal organizer

Lydia Avila spoke for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. She welcomed this decision,

Even though they haven’t denied it yet, we’re glad they’re taking their time to look into the serious implications of this coal plant request. We’re confident that when they look at the facts that this is a bad deal for Texans, they will reject it.

The Board suggested a 30-45 day period before they would consider it again.

Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen and Coal Block organizer

Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen and Coal Block spoke at the meeting.  Afterwards he said,

The proposed White Stallion coal plant is not a beneficial or responsible use of water.  LCRA can and should deny this water request.  We should invest in cleaner renewable energy so that we assure water for our future.

Sierra Club recognizes and appreciates the over 2,000 people who sent comments to LCRA recommending LCRA reject water for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.  We ask if you will stay tuned and prepare to comment and show up again, if and when LCRA reconsiders the proposed White Stallion water request.  Contact Lydia Avila, 512-477-1729 to get more involved.  Thank you!

~ Donna Hoffman

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Environmental Groups and Water Users call on LCRA at Meeting this Morning-Reject Coal Plant Water

Contact:  Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, 626-506-9651
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen Texas, 440-796-9695

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and No Coal Coalition call on LCRA Board to Reject  Coal Plant Water

Citizens Want Questions Answered saying Coal Plant Would use Too Much Water

(Austin)  The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and lower Colorado River Ranchers today urge members of the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to vote at their meeting this morning to deny a water contract requested by the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

“We have to face the facts- there simply isn’t enough water in the Colorado river to cool these old style power plants,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen.  “We’re facing the worst drought in 50 years and maybe in history and yet LCRA staff has their head in the sand and is recommending  approval of this contract when all indications show that there isn’t enough water to go around. We call upon the Board to exercise judgment and just say ‘No’ when the staff is taking a wrong turn.”

Members of Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition, other environmental groups and many residents from both the Highland Lakes and Matagorda and Wharton County ends of the LCRA’s managed water basin are attending the meeting at the LCRA headquarters in Austin this morning – some with signs outside.  Many came to make public comments at the microphone.

“Do we really want the coal industry to trump agricultural water needs and the environment that sustains life?” said Susan Dancer, wildlife rehabilitator and owner of Matagorda County Texas Blessings Ranch.  “During this drought, we are especially in need of water to irrigate our human and livestock food crops as well as our hay production.  We need enough freshwater inflow into Matagorda Bay and estuaries to provide the brackish water necessary for many of our fish and shellfish species to reproduce.  The LCRA Board must consider the hidden costs of such a facility as White Stallion.  Taking our water for an un-needed coal plant is one of the ways White Stallion would cripple the existing economy and damage agriculture and the environment.  We ask the LCRA board to manage our water wisely, refuse this contract today, or wait to consider the decision more carefully.”

The Sierra Club released a report this week, “Proposed White Stallion Coal-Fired Power Plant Water Demands and the Highland Lakes Water Supply”.

The report’s author Dr. Lauren Ross said, “According to the water management plan, there is not enough water available for the White Stallion request.  Committing water to this proposed coal plant would compromise agricultural and environmental flows during the most severe historical drought of record.”

At the LCRA’s Water Management Committee meeting last night, members of the LCRA board commented that they had only been updated yesterday morning, they hadn’t had time to finish reading a new proposed contract, and that they wanted the board to take the time to inform citizens on the details.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign organizer, Lydia Avila attended both the meeting last night and today’s Board meeting.

Avila said, “The Board must deny this permit today or at the very least, slow down and reconsider such a potentially damaging decision.  The evidence against this proposal is in and people, including the LCRA Board of Directors deserve to know more.  The proposed White Stallion coal plant would displace other water users at a time when extreme drought means we must carefully conserve water for the most important uses,” said Lydia Avila with Sierra Club.  “We don’t need new coal plants, including this one.  We already have enough electricity generation on the grid and we simply can’t afford to burn away our precious water in coal steam.  Texas is are already working on phasing out existing coal plants in favor of clean, water-wise renewable energy such as wind and solar power.  ”

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Donna Hoffman
Communications Coordinator
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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The Dallas showdown, by the numbers

Polluters, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

With about 10 days of notice, Texans came together to organize a very successful EPA hearing. Over 120 people were in attendance, 67 people gave testimony, and only two to five people gave testimony against regulation of GHG’s (BOO! HISS!). People came in from all across the state to fight Governor Perry’s TCEQ and to fight coal plants in Texas.

* Over 120 people were in attendance.
* Over 2000 online comments already generated in Texas
* Phone bank was awesome– volunteers culled 65 yes’es and maybe’
* Online organizing – 49 people RSVP’d online, 7 people signed up for the phone bank, and over 150 people committed to helping to spread the word
* State Representative Lon Burnam came and testified at the hearing as well.
* Sierra Club led the drive, and pulled together many environmental and environmental justice organizations including TEJAS, William C. Velasquez Institute, Downwinders at Risk, Environment Texas, Texas Campaign for the environment, Texas Impact, Alliance for Clean Texas, GreenPeace, Clean Economy Coalition, No Coal Coalition, Public Citizen, and others.

That’s how it went! Greenhouse gases WILL be regulated in Texas, and we WILL stop dangerous pollution and climate change. And that’s the word.

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