Assessing Texas’ True Energy Needs

Chet Edwards gets the GAO involved in clean air.

In the ongoing, albeit slightly scaled-back rush to build new coal-fired power plants in Texas, the state’s historically industry-chummy environmental commission has been roundly criticized for failing to assess Texas’ true energy needs, as well as the cumulative air quality impact of proposed coal plants, prior to handing out new permits.

But thanks to language written into the 2008 federal Appropriations Bill by Waco-area Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards, the federal Government Accountability Office will be called in to conduct such a study. The GAO is Congress’ nonpartisan investigative arm. Among Edwards’ concerns, considering the Environmental Protection Agency is about to tighten ozone pollution standards, is that Waco and several other cities statewide (including Austin) will become federal violators following the change, forcing local governments to take costly countermeasures. Edwards says the study should analyze cumulative emissions in Central Texas from existing and planned coal burners for an entire ozone season.

Currently, permitting procedures only address cumulative impacts within 37 miles of a plant. Governor Rick Perry reportedly called for GOP attacks on an earlier version of the bill, due partially to its focus on not-yet-regulated carbon dioxide emissions, apparently fearing the results could somehow make Texas look worse than its present status as the nation’s #1 emitter of Co2.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Environment
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Plateaued on your earth-friendly efforts? Here are a few ideas to help.

Bonny Chu, Nov. 30, 2018

SXSW Eco 2015: <i>Racing Extinction</i>
SXSW Eco 2015: Racing Extinction
Mass extinction is coming, and we're to blame

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2015

More Energy
What's Swedish for Good Corporate Citizen?
What's Swedish for Good Corporate Citizen?
IKEA Round Rock flips the switch on one very large solar project

Kate X Messer, Sept. 25, 2012

Another Day, Another ERCOT Power Warning
Another Day, Another ERCOT Power Warning
Energy regulator still asking for conservation measures through 7pm

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 5, 2011

More by Daniel Mottola
Bicycle Master Plan Gets a Tune-Up
Bicycle Master Plan Gets a Tune-Up
If it's May, it must be Bike Month

May 22, 2009

Critical Mass Arrests
Critical Mass Arrests
Pride or policy?

April 10, 2009

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Environment, Energy, coal-fired power plants, EPA, Co2

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle