Tag Archives: United States Environmental Protection Agency

URGENT: Stop Chisum Amendments from Destroying Contested Case Hearing Process

Smokestacks from a wartime production plant, W...

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Call your state representatives, this will be hitting the House Floor tomorrow morning.  Find your representative’s contact information here.

From Ken Kramer, Lone Star Chapter Director:

“State Rep. Warren Chisum is seeking to hitch a ride on the TCEQ sunset legislation for one of his other stalled House bills (House Bill 3251). This Chisum bill – now resurrected as a proposed amendment to the sunset bill – would eliminate the opportunity for a contested case process by which Texans may seek adequate protection for their communities and families from mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants.

“This Chisum proposal would relegate ‘public participation’ in air pollution permit amendments for electric generating plants to a public review and comment process and a public ‘hearing’ where community residents could come and vent their concerns about the permit amendment – but without any leverage to pressure the permit applicant to negotiate improvements to the permit amendment.

This Chisum amendment arises because – as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision a couple of years ago – coal-fired power plants and other electric generating facilities are going to have to meet stronger standards (‘MACT’ or ‘maximum achievable control technology’ standards) under the federal Clean Air Act for controlling ‘hazardous air pollutants’ such as mercury and toxics. That will require amendments to current air permits. Rep. Chisum wants to do away with the opportunity for a contested case on those specific permit amendments. Doing so, however, would remove the ability of citizens to make sure that those hazardous air pollutant control standards are as protective of their health and their environment as they need to be. Texans need to retain that leverage of a contested case process to get coal plant operators to the table to agree to tighter air pollution protections or to get TCEQ officials to require truly protective emission limits.”

Call your state representatives, this will be hitting the House Floor tomorrow morning.  Find your representative’s contact information here.

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Merry Earth Day! Handy Resources for YOU!

Earth Day is Friday, April 22.  Great stewards of the planet that we are, we like to celebrate it all month, eh?  If you have tabling events planned and want some materials or if you just want to learn more, download these EARTH DAY MATERIALS.  You can print these (in color?) for distributing at your tables.

Sierra Club Membership forms (3 per page) that you can print, cut, collect and mail with new members’ checks or credit card info.

Sierra Club’s Featured Earth Day ACTION — Gather comments on the EPA new proposed Mercury and Air Toxics rule.  Here are the postcards (2 per page, double-sided, color — need to cut them.) for the EPA Mercury and Air Toxics rule.  Please gather signatures at your Earth Day events and return these signed Mercury Postcards to:  Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, P.O. Box 1931, Austin, TX  78767.  Thank you!


Fish Guide that shows which types of fish have the most mercury in them.
A Poster for backdrop display.


Texas Clean Energy Future is Now fact sheet.
Texas Living Waters Municipal Water Conservation fact sheet.
Global Warming and the Lone Star State
(kind of long EDF publication at 24 pages)
Outings Posters — Outings are the most frequent way that people become interested in Sierra Club!
State Capitol Report on Luminant coal plants.

The Verdict is In on Nuclear Power:  Dirty, Dangerous, Expensive fact sheet.

If you have a laptop at your tabling event, you can show off Sierra Club communications!  Please bookmark and use these:

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Joe Barton Doesn’t Really Like Breathing Dirty Air

Joe Linus Barton, a Representative from Texas

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North Texas Representative Joe Barton is leading an all-out assault on the EPA and the Clean Air Act.  It took $1,507,780 to get him to do that.  In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a whole lot of money to try and sell out an entire nation’s air quality.  He’s obviously confused and I’m thinking, let’s not let him go so astray!

Tomorrow, the Barton-led U.S. House Energy and Power SubCommittee is holding an attack hearing in Houston.  Can you attend and speak in support of the EPA and the Clean Air Act tomorrow in Houston?

HEARING DETAILS — Thursday, March 24, 2011, 9:30 a.m.
Garrett-Townes Auditorium
South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, Texas 77002

Here’s what Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club Field Organizing Manager has to say about the situation —
Clean air protections are essential for Texas. Because of coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial polluters, our state has some of the dirtiest air in the nation.  Texas children, moms and grandparents are bearing the brunt of this toxic air pollution in the form of heart disease, asthma, neurological defects and other serious health problems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the potential to clean up our air and improve our health by enforcing the landmark Clean Air Act.  Based on EPA data, the Clean Air Act has saved more than 200,000 lives and prevented millions of illnesses over the last 20 years.

EPA clean air protections also have the potential to create much-needed jobs in Texas.  Texas is already a leader in developing renewable energy, such as wind farms in West Texas, and the EPA’s clean air protections offer a greater incentive for investment in our emerging clean energy sector.

Despite these benefits, corporate-backed Texas politicians like Representative Joe Barton are spearheading an all-out assault on EPA and the Clean Air Act.  In addition to cosponsoring legislation by Rep. Fred Upton and climate change-denier Senator James Inhofe to prevent the EPA from regulating toxic emissions, Rep. Barton is also leading a task force to try to stop the EPA’s commonsense permitting process requiring big Texas polluters to install air pollution control technology.

While shocking, this attack on Texans’ health comes as no surprise.  Rep. Barton has received more than $1,507,780 in campaign contributions from the oil and coal industries.  Big Oil and Big Coal value their bottom line over the health of our families and our future.  These corporate polluters make huge profits dirtying our air and water, and now they’re using those profits to buy influence with members of Congress who are willing to undermine our nation’s fundamental health and environmental laws.

Out-of-touch politicians like Rep. Barton need to step aside and let the EPA do its job. Texans need bold leadership to stimulate our economy with clean energy and protect our health from toxic air pollution.
The Sierra Club is mobilizing its 1.4 million members and supporters nationwide to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect our health and our environment. More information is available at http://www.sierraclub.org.

Posted by Donna Hoffman, Communications Coordinator, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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Tenaska Coal Plant Threatens to Dump 130 pounds of Mercury Every Year

Coal-fired power plants are one of the largest sources of pollution in our country. They emit thousands of pounds of toxic mercury pollution every year, but also arsenic, lead and acid gases.

Below is an excerpt from Joe Starkey’s article in the West Texas Tribune.  For the full article – click here.

How can you call CLEAN a plant that intends to dump 130 pounds of Mercury into our land per year? and tons of coal ash?

Please stop talking about the Tenaska Trailblazer plant as an economic boon to this region. Just looking at the mercury pollution from this plant shows how much it would cost us. A child living in the toxic footprint of a coal plant (yes Abilene and Sweetwater would be in the toxic footprint of the Trailblazer Plant) is 2% more likely to suffer from Autism. The cost per Autistic child to the community is estimated to be $3,200,000.00 over the lifetime of that child. Those figures are part of the findings in the first study to comprehensively survey and document the costs of autism to U.S. society. Michael Ganz , Assistant Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health, authored the study.

An increase of only one autistic child would eat up 7 years of water income from this plant. Current figures from Region 14 show almost 200 children being treated for Autism. A 2% increase per year over the next 50 years (projected life of this plant) would mean Abilene paying for an additional 300 children with autisim who would not have in the normal course of events been affected. This would cost us approximately TEN BILLION dollars over the life of the plant.

– Joe Starkey is a photojournalist for the West Texas Tribune. His parents home have their south fence as Tenaska’s north fence. His 200 acres, where he learned to fish, hunt and care for cows, is about 3 miles north of Tenaska.

Texans deserve better.  Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to come out with new rules to regulate Mercury across the country.  Stay tuned.

–Eva Hernandez, Field Organizing Manger, Beyond Coal Campaign

Who’s got the MACT?

Not Texas. And we need it.

Due to the Clean Air Act, the EPA will be proposing a series of public health protections this year, including boiler MACT, which is intended to limit hazardous air pollutants, or air toxics. The boiler MACT (maximum available control technology) protection will cut down on emissions of air toxics like mercury, arsenic, lead, dioxin, and acid gases.

How? It basically means that all of our dirty ol’ powerplants will need to install equipment to match the best-performing and cleanest plants for each type of pollutant. Existing power plants will have more time to meet the standard—taking into account available technologies and cost.

To be clear: mercury is a neurotoxin. It can cause central nervous system damage.  It is the reason for which many lakes and rivers have warnings about eating the fish, and why pregnant women are advised not to eat any seafood at all.

Of course, some people don’t think the EPA should exist, or enforce the Clean Air Act, blah blah blah. Well, forget them. We need this. And we need to show that we want the EPA to do its job.

Get Active. Sign up to be a Texas Healthkeeper.

But why should Texans care?

One teaspoon of mercury is sufficient to contaminate a 20-acre lake. Our lakes.

But we’ll let these pictures do the talking: it’s probably worth a thousand words.

From Environment Texas.

From Environment Texas.

From Environment Texas.

Ready to protect our Texas rivers, our land, and most importantly, our health?

Join us!

Get Active. Sign up to be a Texas Healthkeeper.

Flavia de la Fuente
Conservation Organizer

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Say it in Star Wars: Dismantling the EPA

Lately, it really does feel like The Empire is Striking Back. Our Big Kahuna Mike Brune (that’s our executive director, y’all), after the difficult election back in November, wrote that “The Dirty Energy Empire broke all campaign spending records and used their financial Death Star to target any politician who took a stand on clean energy and global warming.”

True story. And now, we’re about to see what that Empire looks like. Who will be the metaphorical Alderaan? Which communities will the Empire stomp all over in its quest for dirty fuel? And most importantly, who will be Han Solo? All these important questions, answered:

Dark politics approach as this Congress starts picking up speed.  To protect health and environmental quality, normal people establish laws, guidelines, and standards. Lords of the Dark Side get rid of these laws, guidelines, and standards.

This is how they do it:

1) Disapproving, through legislation, rules established by the scientists at the EPA, using the Congressional Review Act (similar to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s bill (R-AK), from last year).

2) Appropriations riders to defund EPA rules. (Appropriations riders allocate money for federal programs. No funding for EPA rules means no rule enforcement.)

3) Delaying EPA’s authority to clean up greenhouse gas emissions. H.R. 97 introduced by Rep. Marcia Blackburn (R-TN-7) would amend the Clean Air Act to stipulate that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act. We also expect Rep. Upton (R-MI-6) to craft a bill that inhibits EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In the 40 years since Americans demanded its creation, the EPA has saved millions of lives by enforcing clean air and water standards. More than 1.7 million asthma attacks and $110 billion in healthcare costs were avoided in 2010 alone, thanks to the agency’s efforts.

Dismantling environmental protections would be catastrophic for our health and for the quality of our environment.

I’ll say it in Star Wars: Dismantling environmental protections would be like giving Chancellor Palpatine emergency executive powers.

Are you willing to leave your moisture farm and go fight for justice? Get started. Send a letter to the editor. Sign up to volunteer with us. And buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

-Flavia de la Fuente, Conservation Organizer

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Environment America- the Mercury Report

Image via Wikipedia A recent report from Environment America confirms what the EPA and millions of affected Americans have known for years; that mercury, a poisonous chemical primarily emitted and polluted by coal fired plants, has been increasingly linked to … Continue reading