Opposition continues against Tenaska

December 18, 2010

Opposition continues against Tenaska

(Sweetwater and Austin) – The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently voted to issue an air permit for the proposed Tenaska Trailblazer Coal plant in Sweetwater, Texas. This is the third coal plant permitted in 2010 and the eleventh coal plant recently permitted in Texas that has yet to go online.
“Coal plants are more and more obsolete,” said Whitney Root, who lives a few miles away from the proposed site of the coal plant. "Texas has the worst air in the nation because TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw continues to violate federal law and the Governor does nothing to protect the people or protect this state's already limited water resources. We want to continue to breathe clean air and have abundant water in West Texas, and if this coal plant is built it will be detrimental to our family and community.”
After approximately two weeks of hearings, Texas’ administrative law judges (the “Judges”) articulated multiple failures by Tenaska in its application for an air pollution permit for its proposed coal plant according to those opposed to the plant. After careful examination, the Judges found that Tenaska:
• Made no demonstration that emissions will not cause a violation of new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide (SO2),
• Failed to demonstrate the proposed emission limits for almost every pollutant it will emit are not sufficiently stringent, and
• Did not provide adequate monitoring provisions that are sufficient to demonstrate ongoing compliance with Particluate Matter limits.
“Nation Ambient Air Quality Standards are health-based standards essential to the system of air quality regulation in the Clean Air Act. Tenaska’s failure to make any compliance demonstration for the new 1-hour sulfur dioxide standards renders its application fatally incomplete. As it stands, the Commission may not properly issue Tenaska’s permit,” said Gabriel Clark-Leach with Environmental Integrity Project representing Sierra Club, “moreover, as the Judges found in their proposal for decision, neither Tenaska nor the Executive Director conducted the kind of rigorous analysis to set technology-based limits that is in the TCEQ guidance and required by federal and Texas law.”
“Yet again, the Judges found that a coal plant fails to meet federal law. Governor Perry and his political appointees at the TCEQ are doing nothing to protect the public health or to ensure that companies follow the law,” said Jimmy Headstream with Multi-County Coalition. “The truth of the matter is that Texas doesn’t need more coal-fired electricity and Tenaska is a bad deal for the folks in West Texas. The electricity won’t lower our rates, but the pollution will ruin our lives. We also lead the nation in wind, which is a much better deal for our community.”
“Sweetwater is the sweetspot in the state for wind generators, and if this plant is built it will clog the transmission lines needed to gt cleaner power to the cities,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, Director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. "Tenaska claims this coal plant is clean because plans to capture carbon dioxide, but underneath all the hype its just a dirty old-style coal plant. No where in the permit does it require Tenaska to capture the CO2, and if the technology doesn't work, there is no market for CO2. Plus, its just too expensive to operate. They can emit CO2 with abandon — and just pay a penalty. Coal-fired electricity is the biggest polluter in our nation and this plant, like so many others, uses obsolete technology.
Texas has the most coal-fired generation in the nation, and currently, there are seven additional coal-fired power plants in some phase of planning.
“TCEQ should have denied this permit and protected the lives and well-being of people,” said Root. “Our state is moving beyond coal. We’re using wind and solar to meet our electricity needs while protecting the air we breath and the water we drink. Texas is at an energy crossroads and the TCEQ must help lead the way away from coal because its unhealthy.”
According to Tenaska, Trailblazer will be the first new-build carbon capturing coal plant in Texas to receive an air quality permit – a critical approval that opens the door for future construction of the energy center.  State-of-the-art technology at the plant will capture 85 to 90 percent of the plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) and greatly minimize other emissions.
“Trailblazer will provide electricity for Texans in a safe and environmentally responsible way,” said Tenaska Development President David Fiorelli. “At the same time, the plant will promote energy security by using the most abundant fossil fuel to generate baseload electricity and increase Permian Basin oil production in West Texas by providing a valuable supply of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.”
“Tenaska is proud to be leading the way, not only in the United States but across the globe, to commercialize this proven technology that can help provide the clean energy the world is seeking in a cost-effective way,” Fiorelli continued.    
Nolan County Judge Tim Fambrough and Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham attended the TCEQ meeting to make statements of support for the plant’s permit.


Water Yes, Tenaska Yes

December 22, 2010 by raiderfan (not verified), 4 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 81

Regardless of your position on Tenaska, the issuance of the air quality permit by TCEQ is a game changer, a big step forward for the supporters and a huge setback for the opponents. Opponents to Tenaska have been unsuccessful in their enviromental campaign and are shifting tactics and attacking from a water resource stand point. This does raise an interesting dilemma for the Tenaska opponents. The opponents of Tenaska can only exert any influence on water issues in a public forum, i.e. county commissioners court or city councils. But it's a safe bet that Tenaska is trying to purchase water by private treaty and have publically said that they have been approached by individuals wanting to sell them water. So the question for the opponents of Tenaska is how to respond to Tenaska's improving chances of success?
Option #1 - Remain steadfast in total opposition to the building of Tenaska. The biggest success seen so far was exerting pressure on the Abilene City Council not to sell waste water Tenaska. The unforseen consequence to this was to force Tenaska to look to raw water to meet its needs. If the opponents of Tenaska continue with an all or nothing approach and loose on the water issue as they appear to have done on the enviromental issue then the impact of Tenaska will be worsened. We'll suffer the enviromental impact and well as increased demand on our regional water resources, a double hit.
Option #2 - Another approach is more of a "cut your losses" attitude.
With Tenaska a near reality, rather than opposing it's construction, why not look for ways to minimize it's impact on our water resources? Tenaska has one of two types of water available, raw water which is also potential drinking water or waste water. Between the cities of Abilene and Sweetwater there is sufficient waste water to meet Tenaska's needs. Every acre foot of waste water Tenaska uses is an acre foot of raw water that will not be drawn from a local lake or from ground water. Currently both cities don't fully utilize their waste water resouces. While Ablene uses some of it's waste water for watering golf courses and college campuses, most is pumped into Lake Kirby where it is lost to evaporation. Sweetwater discharges it's waste water into Sweetwater Creek where it is almost entirely lost to evaporation. Would it be more sensible for both cities to partner to provide waste water to Tenaska to spare to local raw water resources?


December 22, 2010 by Home Girl (not verified), 4 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 82

I thought bullying had been outlawed! We are going to get your water or WE ARE going to get your water. Does this work for the residents of Sweetwater? You better consider what will happen in a drought. Tenaska will have a contract and they will get their water. Some of those touting this plant will be able to move. Will you?


December 21, 2010 by jds (not verified), 4 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 80

The judges in the contested case hearing ruled against Tenaska's air permit as it was written, yet the TCEQ gave them the air permit anyway. Why waste taxpayer money (paying the judge to sit there, paying TCEQ lawyers to sit there, tying up a courtroom, etc) if nothing the judges decide is binding on Tenaska or on TCEQ? Why waste Tenaska's money paying for lawyers to sit there through that hearing? Was it just a waste of everyone's money? Who benefits from holding a hearing like this?

Coal plant

December 20, 2010 by ambroise (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 76

I have four words which the citizens and "town fathers" need to take heed of in this matter: WATER YES----TENASKA NO!


December 20, 2010 by Rogers Dennis (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 74

Tenaska's 30 pieces of silver ($2,000.00) donation is cheap. A small donation will not begin to compensate for the suffering of one family that will have an autistic child or one family that will have COPD due to the plant. Their talk about removal of CO2 is a clever ploy to divert our true concerns. Safe drinking water and healthy fetus for future children are worth far more than an increase in tax base for schools. This is for the next 50 to 75 years. Think about what you want to leave for your great grand children.

Have We Lost Our Minds

December 20, 2010 by timerunningoutfast (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 72

Money being the "Root of ALL Evil" rears its ugly head again in our days as common sense is left in the dust. With all the absolute scientific proof out there we let our God given logic be bound and blinded by the glitz and dreams of profit. Yes, we know how bad and poisonous Mercury and all those other by-products of burning coal are...but this is a clean plant that will capture CO2. That makes the mercury related illnesses and death...OK!

Where are you Forest Gump? Oh, you are here! Stupid is as Stupid does....come on in Tenaska...we deserve you.

Tenaska Permited Poison

December 20, 2010 by Fisherman52 (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 71

Pollutants Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center is permitted to emit into the West Texas Environment:

Sulfur Dioxide - 2,183 Tons per year

Nitrogen Oxide - 1,819 Tons per Year

Particulate Matter - 1,092 Tons per year

Mercury - 124 Pounds per year

Toxic Coal Ash - Football Field Sized pile 12 stories tall every 12 months

Tell me hsipper - what is the "Poison" Sierra Club is using?

The Sierra Club

December 20, 2010 by quiensabe (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 69

The Sierra Club is (1) against bio-engineered farming. (2) Against "the growing menace" of modern livestock farms." (3) In league with Robert Kennedy, Jr. as full partner in litigation" against pork companies." (4) Is a legal firm that acts as a weapon against businesses and public agencies; (5) "[B]rags of prying ranchers and their livestock from federal lands." (6) Files lawsuits as a source of profits. (7) Has officers that consider life in Cuba preferable and (8) consistently attempts to paralyze progress.

Why wouldn't they want Tenaska to drop Sweetwater? Tenaska will build it somewhere, somewhere where people will stand up against The Sierra Club.

Is That Anything Like...

December 20, 2010 by timerunningoutfast (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 73

Bio-engineered farming...hmmmm...is that anything like Genetically Modified? That's when we alter how God made it into something...well we really don't know what we get. And why is it that so many of the FDA's upper administration types are former Monsanto executives...hmmm. Funny huh. Fox guarding the chickens again. But wait a minute...we're the chickens!!!!


December 20, 2010 by Nosey (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 68

Yep, the TCEQ rubber-stamps yet another permit. Shocking, really. Anyone who cannot see through the lies that Tenaska reps are throwing at Sweetwater and Nolan County residents needs to wake up. Stop being one of the sheeple. Stop being greedy, too. Think about other peoples' health and well-being for a minute, rather than the bottom line.

False Information

December 20, 2010 by Geomust (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 67

The Coal Generator Plants are a safer form of energy and without energy you are in the dark!

CO2 emissions are a bunch of false reporting by the green idiots.

Just like Global Warming!

Would you like a Nuke Plant there?

Ash can be contained, scrubbers can be used and safety can be number 1.

Water is the big issue for these plants.

Overall they are safe.

If "CO2 emissions are a bunch

December 21, 2010 by Nosey (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 79

If "CO2 emissions are a bunch of false reporting by the green idiots", then why is Tenaska proposing a plant that will capture CO2??? Why are the Mayor and County Judge tauting the fact that it will capture CO2???


False Information

December 20, 2010 by Home Girl (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 75

Who is using scare tactics?

You are givng Nolan County a choice of a Nuclear Plant or Coal Plant? Really?

Is anybody buying this stuff????


December 19, 2010 by hspower (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 66

Of course the Sierra Club is going to oppose the plant. They oppose any kind of power plant and put out the poison for suckers to eat on, who don't know any better.

Suckers who don't know any

December 21, 2010 by Nosey (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 78

Suckers who don't know any better? Hmmm...how many PhDs are in opposition to this plant? People with graduate degrees in the environmental field? The only ones who "don't know any better" are the uninformed people in Sweetwater and surrounding areas, who Tenaska has bought through promises of jobs averaging $75,000 per year and through donations to local charities of a few thousand dollars. Pretty sad for a company that proposes to put $3.5 BILLION into a project. The average salary in Sweetwater is $30,000.....but Tenaska can pay two and a half times that? Yeah, right. Who's been duped??????


December 19, 2010 by Home Girl (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 65

If you believe the TCEQ is looking out for your best interest-then Tenaska can probably talk you out of the rest of your water!

The TCEQ was told by your elected officials that Tenaska was an answer to prayers, and that there were only 15 opposed to plant. Is anyone listening ????


December 19, 2010 by hspower (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 64

The people of Nolan County will do well in supporting this plant for the great increase the towns, schools and other business will recieve in revenue. Where other coal plants were built in the seventies and eighties, there has been a remarkable increase in the quality of life for those communities. I hope those wanting this new industry can find a way to speak out. It is vital to our nation to bring our economy back with a new industrial revolution.

Great news for Nolan County economy

December 19, 2010 by supporter (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 62

Way to go TCEQ!

Opposed to Tenaska

December 20, 2010 by JStarkey9 (not verified), 4 years 37 weeks ago
Comment: 70

How can anyone say there is an "improved quality of life" when they want to emit over 2 tons of pollutants a year into the Texas skys to come to rest in your lungs and food?

If you're talking about jobs - you need to research the Illinois Plant and the Virginia Plant that Tenaska is putting up. Both have lawsuits against them for not hiring local workers. The Virginia one has an additional lawsuit because Tenaska promised to use the local hotels who expanded their rooms and now Tenaska has brought in its own housing units.

Boon to the local economy thru property taxes? - read the Texas law that gives them exemption from local property taxes.

Do some reaserch in the other places they do business and stop listening to the "pie in the sky" promises from Tenaska

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