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EPA Pollution Plan to Cost Texas $2B

TexasThe EPA has proposed a plan to reduce harmful emissions of sulfur dioxide in parts of Texas and Oklahoma that would require operators of some of Texas’ coal-fired power plants to spend over $2 billion on emissions-reducing technology, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The plan, released Monday, would require 15 units at eight coal-fired plants be retrofitted with controls to help clear the air at Texas’ Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks and the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

The plan comes after the EPA proposed to partially approve and partially disapprove the state of Texas’ regional haze plan intended to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements.

The EPA proposal would cut about 230,000 tons of SO2 emissions per year, which would protect the parks and the refuge from hazy conditions, while also providing health and environmental benefits.

Luminant, the generating arm of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, might face the biggest bill for complying with the EPA plan, according to the Dallas News. Eight of the 15 affected generating units are at Luminant plants. Energy Future Holdings, meanwhile, is in bankruptcy.

The EPA estimated that the ordered work on each Luminant unit could involve capital expenses of $17 million to $259 million, depending on the options chosen. Annual operating costs would be additional.

Luminant offered no immediate reaction. “Since this proposed rule that just came out is more than 260 pages and contains a lot of technical data, we are reviewing and analyzing the EPA’s proposed rule and the effect it would have on our plants,” spokesman Brad Watson said in an email to the Dallas News.

No facilities in Oklahoma will be affected by Monday’s action.

This is not the first time Texas has found itself at odds with the EPA. In 2010, Texas refused to revise or accept a federal greenhouse gas emissions permitting plan, and in 2011, Texas sued the EPA over the timeframe of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

Photo Credit: Texas via Shutterstock

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