Fort Bend County residents concerned about power plant in light of SCOTUS ruling

Erica Simon Image
Saturday, July 2, 2022
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The Supreme Court ruled that the EPA can no longer decide how to regulate coal-fired power plants, and that task is now in the hands of Congress.

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Ted Tankard has lived a few miles from the W.A. Parish power plant in Richmond for over 20 years. Its property is pretty hard to ignore. So is everything that comes billowing out of it.

"I'm not happy about it. I think it was a mistake. I understand why they did it legally, and it's up to Congress now to pass legislation, but in this environment, it's not going to happen anytime soon," Ted Tankard said. "It's a lot of particulates that come out of the plant. I know in the past they've tried to put in scrubbers and filters to try to eliminate that, but still. There are a lot of pollutants that come out of that."

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA can no longer decide how to regulate coal-fired power plants and that that task is now in the hands of Congress. The problem is, environmentalists said, waiting on two sides of the aisle to come together and agree on how to curb climate change could waste valuable time we or the planet don't have.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis that we are facing with climate change. We are seeing the impacts of it right now with our current heat wave. There's no indication that that's going to slow unless we put strong rules and regulations in place to stop carbon emissions at their source," Jennifer Hadayia, executive director for Air Alliance Houston, explained.

Air Alliance Houston, a non-profit environmental group, says 200 deaths happen yearly from air pollution emitted by the Parish plant. They hope that since the EPA has been somewhat curtailed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will do the right thing and limit carbon emissions where needed. So does Tankard.

"I'm not about to move. I knew the plant was there when I came here, but I would like to see them progress into the 21st century and do a better job of capping their particulates."

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