Texas state administrative judges Tommy Broyles and Craig Bennett just handed down a negative decision temporarily thwarting plans for a $3 billion petroleum coke-fired Las Brisas power plant in Corpus Christi.
Their opinion letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) stated that they have been unable to find grounds for approving the permit and this means that for now, Texans can breathe just a little bit easier.
We applaud the administrative judges for reaching a decision that was clearly justified on both the facts and the law. The facts in the case against Las Brisas were overwhelming (see my January post). Also, in addition to air pollution issues incorrectly outlined in the application, no one seemed to talk much about the added $100 million costs to build a water pipeline.
Now it's up to TCEQ as they decide whether or not to grant the air permit. We will be watching closely to see if – as history has proven time and again – politics trumps the law and someone finds that damned rubber stamp again.