Those Who Forget History in Texas are Doomed to Repeat It

(Credit: whoever)

Texas is home to some of the highest polluting power plants in the country.

Recently, the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced plans to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan, which would place limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants for the first time in the country. A few days afterward, Texas Governor and former State Attorney General Greg Abbott pledged support for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell's Just Say No campaign, an effort to encourage states not to comply with the upcoming federal regulations.

Apparently Texas has a short memory. Just a couple of years ago, Texas lost a series of challenges to EPA regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting. Texas refused to issue GHG permits to new and modified large industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in the establishment of a dual permitting system. This meant industrial facilities, like power plants and refineries, needed to apply to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for some air permits and separately to EPA for the portion of their permit addressing greenhouse gases.

Ultimately, however, Texas industry urged the state to issue the GHG portion of air quality permits as well. And in an about face, after spending millions of taxpayer dollars fighting common sense regulations, Texas regained the ability to issue the state’s GHG permits.

And then of course there's the state’s most recent loss, an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to rehear a case that continued to challenge these measures to reduce climate pollution.

So why should Texas support the Clean Power Plan? Here are 10 great reasons:

  1. There are currently no national limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Texas is home to some of the highest polluting power plants in the country.
  2. Power plants account for almost 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy. Texas’s Martin Lake plant is one of the country’s 10 highest polluting plants.
  3. In 2011, carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector exceeded total pollution levels from all nations except the U.S. and China.
  4. The worst-offending power plant in the United States produced more than 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011 – more than the total energy-related emissions of eight states and 120 countries. The Clean Power Plan will reduce this harmful pollution, providing states with a great deal of flexibility to craft plans that leverage low- and zero-carbon emitting sources like renewable generation and energy efficiency.
  5. Between 2011 and 2013, wind generation in the United States increased by 40 percent. Texas ranks number one in the nation for wind energy capacity.
  6. Between 2010 and 2011, green jobs grew four times as fast as other jobs. Texas ranks second nationally for employment in the renewable energy industry.
  7. Every dollar invested into clean energy creates approximately three times as many jobs as the same dollar invested into fossil fuels.
  8. In 2012, rooftop solar panels cost approximately one percent of what they did 35 years earlier.
  9. In 2010, Americans using ENERGY STAR products and retrofits saved the energy equivalent of approximately 45 power plants — preventing 195 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and saving more than $20 billion in their energy bills.
  10. More than 64 percent of Americans support establishing carbon dioxide emission limits on existing power plants.

Wake up, Texas leadership. Wouldn’t it be better to leverage our innovation and renewable riches toward a clean energy future, instead of remaining in the dark ages?

 

(Image Source: Reddit)

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One Comment

  1. Ray Hause
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    The reasons for Texas losing those suits were not from excess greenhouse gases or coal but really due to the excess amount of methane gas produced from the Liberals and all of the various livestock in Texas.
    What I would really like to know is what kind of product do you produce, that would tell me that you are not out there seeking some federal grant or scamming many elders that falls victims. Remember this, Federal Grants come from Tax payers and when we get a more conservative congress, we'll choke off funding for the Sierra EPA.