Sierra Club sues Texas for upping plant emissions

January 19, 2012 7:15:37 AM PST
An advocacy group has filed a court challenge against Texas' environmental regulatory agency after it agreed to allow four coal-fired power plants to emit more pollution.

The Sierra Club argues in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality didn't allow for public comment or look closely enough at the plants' emission controls and their impacts on air quality. The Austin-American Statesman reports that the lawsuit relates to permit amendments approved Dec. 16.

Sierra Club attorney Ilan Levin says coal plants in Texas have been asking for permit amendments so they can increase emissions during startup, shutdown and maintenance.

TCEQ spokesman Terry Clawson says the permits were legally amended.

Texas has more coal-fired plants than any other state and leads the nation in greenhouse gas emissions.