Clean Air Standards Create Opportunities, Not Problems for Texas

Jim MarstonOn Thursday, November 7, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors across the country to solicit public comment on the Carbon Pollution Standards for existing coal-fired power plants.  The EPA seeks to implement common sense, realistic limits on the air pollution emitted from fossil fuel power plants, the single largest source of climate pollution in the United States.

To date, the coal industry has had free license to pollute carbon without limitation, leading directly and indirectly to harm human health and the environment.

These rules will bring a breath of fresh air to Texans and other Americans across the county.

Sadly in a few states, such as Texas, officials are acting to protect the owners of a few dirty coal plants and undermine the economic and health benefits that EPA will realize with the new measure.

Christi Craddick, member of the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency charged with regulating mining, published an editorial in the Abilene Reporter-News stating the proposed EPA standards will cause “detrimental effects on U.S. competitiveness in world markets, halt America’s energy boom and manufacturing renaissance and cost the U.S. economy.”  Craddick cites no evidence to support her claims. 

In fact, natural gas will be a principle beneficiary of EPA’s rules.  It is natural gas and cheap wind power, among others, that have caused America’s energy boom and the resulting rise in domestic manufacturing for the first time in decades.  Fortunately for us, Texas has a lot of both.

Our state creates more natural gas and wind energy than any other state in the country, with nearly a tenth of all electricity used in the state for 2012 coming from Texas wind.  Rather than protect coal plants, many of which import their coal from Wyoming, elected officials in Texas should be on the side of cleaner Texas resources, which would reduce harmful pollution and keep Texans’ dollars in our state.

Texas has the ability to create a diverse energy portfolio that relies on natural gas, wind, solar and other clean technologies to save Texans money and help grow the state’s economy, without sacrificing our health or environment.  With our inexpensive natural resources, there is no reason for others to protect polluting, inefficient and outdated coal-fired power plants.

Texans should support strong carbon standards for power plants and unleash the state’s potential to deploy more homegrown clean energy – an approach that is good for business, people and our environment.

This entry was posted in Air Pollution, Clean Air Act, Coal, Environmental Protection Agency, Natural gas, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment

  1. diane hadd
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    The gas industry has had a big DIRTY hand in getting rid of coal

  • About the author

    Vice President, Clean Energy
    Jim Marston is the founding director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), located in Austin, where he has served since its beginning in 1988. He is also a leader of the Pecan Street, Inc., a partnership that includes Austin Energy, the University of Texas, the Chamber of Commerce, and several large high/clean tech companies aimed at making fundamental changes in the nation's electricity grid.

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    Confluence of SJR, Old, and Middle rivers

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