Texas Judge Reverses Air Pollution Permit for Las Brisas Energy Center
July 24, 2012
On July 24, Texas residents cheered when District Court Judge Yelenosky officially reversed and remanded the state air pollution permit for the proposed Las Brisas coal plant in Corpus Christi.
Thursday’s ruling from Judge Yelenosky found that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality failed to require that Las Brisas demonstrate that it would meet standards designed to lower emissions of toxic pollutants, like mercury, from the power plant. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, which is especially threatening to young babies and children.
Las Brisas also failed to demonstrate that soot and fine particulate pollution from the plant – which cause a whole litany of health problems including heart attacks and asthma attacks – would not significantly diminish air quality for families in the area. If it plans to proceed with the project, Las Brisas must now reapply to TCEQ with the information needed for TCEQ to correct the errors identified by Judge Yelenosky.
This is a victory for parents, public health advocates, and everyone who cares about clean air. Corpus Christi residents are fighting hard for a clean energy economy in the city and are doing all they can to move the city beyond coal – be itthe proposed Las Brisas plant or the possibility of coal exports from their ports.
Photo Courtesy of StateImpact Texas
May 14, 2012
On May 14, Texas District Court Judge Stephen Yelenosky issued a letter announcing his intended ruling in a lawsuit seeking to reverse an air pollution permit authorizing the proposed 1,320 megawatt Las Brisas Energy Center. Las Brisas is a petcoke-fired power plant proposed for Corpus Christi, Texas, an area already overburdened with pollution.
Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Clean Economy Coalition of local Corpus Christi residents, and a coalition of Texas cities joined forces in 2009 to challenge the plant’s air pollution permit, successfully arguing that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) cut corners and failed to meet several federal Clean Air Act requirements.
The air permit would have allowed massive new emissions of toxic pollutants into the air in Corpus Christi, Texas, near schools and residential neighborhoods. The Court’s announcement is the latest in a string of legal setbacks for the proposed power plant, which, if built, would emit approximately 12 million tons per year of greenhouse gases, as well as thousands of tons per year of dangerous pollutants that contribute to smog pollution and health impacts such as asthma attacks and heart disease.
Originally proposed in 2008, the plant currently lacks the required approvals under the federal Clean Air Act to begin construction. The plant faces strong local opposition from city officials, local business leaders, and residents of Corpus Christi’s fence-line communities who live adjacent to industrial facilities that have a legacy of pollution.
Details and Documents:
Clean Air Victory for Texas as Coal Plant Permit Struck Down
July 27, 2012 by Mary Anne Hitt, Sierra Club Compass
July 24, 2012 by Judge Yelenosky, 35th District Court
Texas Judge Rules Against Proposed Las Brisas Power Plant
May 15, 2012, Sierra Club and Environmental Integrity Project Press Release
May 14, 2012 by District Judge Stephen Yelenosky, 35th District Court
Why the Las Brisas Coal Plant Air Permit Was Reversed
July 26, 2012 by Terrence Henry, NPR
Las Brisas Air Permit Revoked
July 26, 2012 by Mia Gordon, KrisTV
Texas Judge: Coal permit won't stand up in court
May 15, 2012 by Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press
See other "Stopping the Coal Rush" cases.