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New Coal Fired Power Plant Threatens
Air & Water Quality

Air permit applications for two large coal-fired power plants in Eastern Texas have been recently filed with the TCEQ. These are the first of what will likely be numerous such plants.

One of the proposed plants will be 90 miles South of I-30, in Riesel – just outside of Waco. The other one is just outside of San Antonio.

Riesel map

Both plants use antiquated combustion technology
Neither permit application even considered using state-of-the-art integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology, which is cleaner and more efficient than the proposed pulverized coal technology.

Riesel Plant Proposal Calls for 80% More NOx than San Antonio Plant
Additional NOx emissions upwind of the Metroplex will mean increased levels of background ozone transported into the region. The 800 MW Riesel plant proposes to release 3226 tons of Nox per year. The 750 MW San Antonio plant proposes to release 1.752 tons of Nox. The attached table lists all of the emissions limits. For comparison, the closest existing coal plant to the Metroplex (the approximately 1,200 MW Big Brown plant in Freestone County) emitted 7.205 tons of NOx in 2002.

Riesel Plant Includes No Plans to Offset NOx Emissions
CPS will offset most of the 1.752 tons of new NOx emissions from its new San Antonio plant by reducing emissions at adjacent facilities they also operate. As a result, the net increase in CPS’s total Nox emissions will be only 36 tons per year.

Comparison of proposed emissions from
San Antonio (CPS) and Riesel (Sandy Creek) power plants

 

Maximum Allowable
Emissions (tons per
year)

Maximum Allowable
Emissions Rate
(lb/mmbtu)

Pollutant

CPS

Sandy Creek

CPS

Sandy Creek

% Difference

NOx

1,752*

3,226

0.05

0.09

80%

SO2

2,102

4,302

0.06

0.12

100%

PM/PM10

771

1,183

0.022

0.033

50%

CO

5,256

5,377

0.15

0.15

0%

VOC

88

129

0.0025

0.0036

44%

Mercury

0.34

0.59

0.0000098

0.000017

73%

Lead

0.29

0.41

0.0000084

0.000012

43%

HCI**

66

-

0.0019

-

-

Fluorides (as HF)

26

87

0.0008

0.0024

200%

H2SO4

129

247

0.0037

0.007

89%

Ammonia

66

99

0.0019

0.0028

47%

*CPS is "off-setting" most of the 1,752 tons of new NOx emissions by reducing emissions at adjacent facilities they also operate. The net increase in total CPS NOx after offsets will be 36 tons per year.

**HCI emissions were not included in the Sandy Creek facility permit application.

Other Areas of Major Concern With New Plant

Mercury

  • The proposed new plant will emit 1080 pounds of mercury, which the EPA has found to cause brain damage and developmental disabilities in unborn babies and young children. No specific mercury controls are planned for the new plant. EPA has said that reductions of 90% are possible and affordable. Fish in the 11 lakes in Texas already exceed EPA’s guidelines for mercury, and human consumption. Poisoned fish can lead to brain damage and learning disabilities in children.

    Mercury is a toxic heavy metal and exposure can result in brain damage and neurological problems. Mercury emissions and mercury from coal waste end up in waterways, contributing to mercury contamination of fish. This directly affects your health and safety since you consume fish.

Global Warming

  • The proposed new plant would emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. This will affect my health and safety and enjoyment of natural resources. Increased heat will affect my ability to survive during extreme heat waves. Nights that don’t cool down may also threaten my health and safety. An increase in vector-borne tropical disease also pose risks to my health and safety. No state is expecting to have more heat related deaths than Texas. EPA predicts the number of heat related deaths in Dallas will increase from 35 to 100 per summer.

    Global warming pollution is causing drought followed by periods of torrential rain. Carbon pollution from coal plants like the one proposed are heating up our air and drying up our rivers and aquifers affecting our ability to use local resources for swimming and fishing. Global warming will lead to torrential rains and flooding, which will directly affect my safety.

    Sandy Creek should commit to reducing global warming pollution in an amount equal to its planned increases.

Haze

  • The while haze that clouds the skies over Dallas/Ft. Worth is due in large part to the sulfur emissions from coal fired power plants in East Texas. Emissions from power plants from as far away as the Midwest are believed to be reducing visibility in parks, such as Big Bend and other national parks. The proposed emissions from the Sandy Creek plant can be reduced by more than 50% by using more efficient control technologies.

Suggest the following adjustments to the permit:

  • An analysis should be required to determine whether IGCC technology is Best Available Control Technology (BACT), and what levels of pollution reduction could be achieved using it.
  • Specific mercury controls that reduce emissions by 90%, such as sorbent injection should be required.
  • All global warming gasses should be mitigated.
  • NOx and Sulfur controls should be as stringent as those proposed for San Antonio’s New coal plant

Citizens have the right to be heard:

  • Request a pubic meeting by March 22md, 2004 by contacting Ladonna Castanuela, Chief Clerk, MC 105-- Texas Commission on Air Quality-- PO Box 13087 Austin, Texas 78711-3087
  • Request a contested case hearing if they are affected parties. An affected party is someone who lives close to the plant, who is affected by air pollution in ways different than the general public (asthma), or whose enjoyment of a natural resource might be affected (swimming, fishing, or star gazing).

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