Luminant – Texas’s largest power generator – has announced the shuttering of facilities across the state, and launched a legal challenge against the regulations it blames for the closures: the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
The rule, which the EPA released on July 7, requires Texas power generators to make reductions in emissions beginning January 1, 2012. Luminant has described the reduction targets as “dramatic” and the timescale under which they have to be implemented as “unrealistic.”
Luminant says the rule’s mandates for Texas are unlawful, and filed a legal challenge to the ruling on Monday morning in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The challenge seeks to invalidate the rule’s application to Texas.
According to the power company, a year ago, the EPA’s proposed rule did not include Texas in the annual SO2 and NOx reductions programs. Now, one year later, the rule imposes a 47 percent SO2 reduction and what Luminant describes as “substantial” NOx reductions by Texas sources beginning in January 2012. The rule also requires a 64 percent reduction of SO2 emissions at Luminant’s fossil fuel generating units.
To meet the rule’s requirements, Luminant has decided to idle two generating units in Monticello, Texas, and cease mining Texas lignite at three facilities in Thermo, Winfield and Freestone County, Texas. The closures will cause the loss of about 500 jobs, Luminant says. The company says it will implement several other actions to reduce emissions, including making investments in its facilities.