Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hearings on Coal Burning Power Plants Delayed

Since Governor Perry announced the fast-tracking of permits for coal burning power plants, opponents of the decision have been looking to the courts to intercede in the permitting process. Now the hearings scheduled to begin this week have been delayed by a Travis County District Judge.

Tuesday's injunction is a win for the anti-coal-pollution groups, which include environmentalists, business leaders, politicians and TXU competitors.

They've been fighting the company's plan to build 11 more coal-fired power plants for the past year and have questioned whether Gov. Rick Perry is a little too close to TXU......

Since he issued the order, the governor has received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from interests associated with the 16 coal projects proposed by various power companies.

The four environmental coalitions joining in the suit were Citizens for Environmental Cleanup, Citizens Organizing for Resources and Environment, Texans Protecting our Water, Environment and Resources, and East Texas Environmental Concerns.

One concern expressed in the injunction was that the stepped-up timetable for hearings, reduced from one year to six months, would not allow enough time to thoroughly review the permit.

Also at issue is the gubernatorial fiat that fast-tracked the hearings. Questions concerning Governor Perry's executive order might open the door to question other policy debates, including the 65% rule and the mandatory HPV vaccine.

Every delay in the process makes it more likely that any of several legislative measures for moratoriums on coal-fired plants, or mandated reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to curb global warming, will also come into play.
Under its current timeline, TXU expected to obtain the first permit for its 858-MW "reference" plant and begin construction before the end of June. Its goal was to put the first plant into service in the fall of 2009. Any delay in the hearing process will make it less likely that TXU can meet its stated targets.
More at Off the Kuff, BOR and Capitol Annex.

No comments: