White Stallion Energy wants to build a 1,320 MW power plant in Bay City, Texas and claims that its plant will not harm human health. Recently, White Stallion filed a challenge against the EPA to rollback the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rules that protect people from toxic air pollution. Why would this power plant fight against these rules? Because this plant plans to emit toxins into the air that harm public health. White Stallion cannot meet these health protections in the MATS rule, so they are fighting against the rules.
The MATS rule places the first-ever federal limits on mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants in the United States. These standards provide vital health protections for millions of Texans, especially infants and children, from the largest sources of toxic air pollution. When implemented, these standards will annually prevent up to 11,000 deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, 130,000 asthma attacks, over 500,000 missed work days due to illness and over 3 million unhealthy air days. These protections are valued at $37 billion to $90 billion each year they are carried out.
Coal- and oil-fired power plants are the nation’s single largest manmade source of major toxic air contaminants, responsible for half of all mercury pollution, 77 percent of acid gases, and 62 percent of arsenic emissions. Mercury exposure can cause brain damage in infants and can affect children’s ability to walk, talk, read and learn. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of babies are born each year with potentially unsafe levels of mercury in their blood.
White Stallion’s COO, Randy Bird, claims that “the new source levels [for mercury] are beyond detectable limits”. This is simply untrue. Many coal-fired plants are already achieving the mercury standards in the proposed rule and are in-fact exceeding the standards by a significant margin. Additionally, many states have made progress on reducing mercury emissions from the power sector and have set standards for existing coal-fired units significantly more protective than EPA’s proposed standard.
On a positive note, motions to intervene in support of the rule were filed by a group of states and cities and a group of public health and environmental organizations including EDF.
The states and cities supporting this motion include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, District of Columbia and New York City.
The organizations supporting this motion include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Clean Air Council, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, and the Waterkeeper Alliance.
If you have been following our updates, you know that White Stallion has weaved a web of lies and played a shell game with its site plans in an effort to obtain air, water and wetlands permits. The real challenge for White Stallion to move forward isn’t the EPA or the new air toxics rules; it is the low price of home-grown, Texas-produced natural gas. This latest petition only further shows that White Stallion is a bad idea for the Lone Star State. It’s time for White Stallion to see the light and stop fighting against clean air protections for Texans.