Luminant Says EPA Regs Forcing It To Close Coal Plants
September 12, 2011
The largest power generator in Texas is asking a federal court to put the brakes on a new EPA air pollution rule that it says will force about 500 people out of work.
Luminant Energy on Monday announced that complying with the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will force the company to shutter two generating units and halt the mining of lignite coal at three locations in Texas.
The company is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reject the rule as it applies to Texas and to immediately halt it to prevent job losses.
EPA’s CSAPR is aimed at helping downwind states achieve federal air quality standards by forcing power plants in 27 Eastern states to slash power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Texas lawmakers and industries have lashed out against the rule, arguing that the final rule issued in July includes unfair limits for Texas that weren’t included in the draft standard.
“We have spent the last two months identifying all possible options to meet the requirements of this new rule, and we are launching a significant investment program to reduce emissions across our facilities,” Luminant CEO David Campbell said in a statement. “However, meeting this unrealistic deadline also forces us to take steps that will idle facilities and result in the loss of jobs.”
Campbell met with EPA chief Lisa Jackson on Friday to discuss the CSAPR, according to a Luminant spokesman.
Congressional Republicans have been attempting to upend the rule legislatively. Senate Republicans are considering using the Congressional Review Act in a bid to nullify the standard, and the House is slated to vote next week on a bill that would delay implementation of the rule until a cumulative assessment of the economic impact of EPA rules has been completed.
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton on Monday called the rule an example of the “overzealous, radical environmental agenda that the EPA is using against Texas” and said he plans to work with members of the Texas delegation to rescind the rule.
“It is time for the president to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth. On the same day he is sending his 'jobs bill' to Congress, the actions of his administration led to 500 layoffs,” Barton said in a statement.
House Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) has scheduled a hearing Thursday on the rule, at which EPA air chief Gina McCarthy will testify on the agency’s decision to include Texas.
McCarthy and other top EPA officials have repeatedly defended the decision to include the Lone Star State. They argue that the agency did extensive modeling to assess the impact Texas industries are having on air pollution in downwind states, and they’re confident that they complied with the law by including the state in the SO2 program.
“There’s no reason that Texas shouldn’t get the benefit of this extraordinary rule like the rest of the country,” Jackson said in July.