CMD superman logo.jpg SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy,

depends on donations from people like you!

Click here to make a tax-deductable contribution.

Fayette Power Project

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Fayette Power Project is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority near La Grange, Texas. Austin Energy owns a 50% stake in Units 1 and 2 out of the three units that comprise the plant.[1]

Loading map...

Citizen Action

The Sierra Club and Public Citizen believe the Fayette Power Project ought to stop its coal-burning by 2020. In November of 2009 the nine-member Austin Generation Resource Planning Task Force voted to improve Austin Energy’s proposed Generation Plan for 2020. In addition, five out of the nine members of the Task Force – including representatives from Sierra Club and Public Citizen – endorsed the Plan itself but recommended that Austin Energy set a target of ending Austin’s coal addiction by 2020. Austin Energy generates a portion of its power from the coal-fired plant.

“Public Citizen and Sierra Club agree that we can and must get out of the coal plant by 2020, and with this recommendation, the Austin Generation Resource Planning Task Force has set up a process to do that,” said Public Citizen’s Matthew Johnson.

The groups hope to move forward with pubic support to shut the plant down prior to 2020.[2]

Pecan Growers Say Coal Pollution is Killing Texas Trees.

Groups plan to sue coal plant touted as green success

In mid-July 2010, three environmental groups, the Environmental Integrity Project, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Environment Texas, announced that they were intending to file suit over over 10,000 alleged violations of federal air regulations. Lower Colorado River Authority, a publicly owned utility that runs the 1,641-megawatt Fayette Power Project near La Grange, Texas.

"In Texas, air pollution permits are flexible alright -- flexible enough to allow coal-fired power plants like the Fayette plant to avoid tougher federal emission limits, violate the weaker substitute standards offered by the Texas regulators, and short-change Texas taxpayers by failing to pay fees that are supposed to be used to improve air quality," said Ilan Levin, a senior attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, in a statement about the suit.[3]

Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants

In December 2010, plant experts, scientists, environmentalists and ranchers stated that they believe sulfur dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants is slowly killing vegetation across Texas, in particular pollution from the Fayette Power Project.

Sulfur dioxide has been known to kill vegetation in other parts of the country. In Texas, the deaths of pecan trees, oaks, elms and willows have been documented.

In Central Texas, not far from the Fayette plant, pecan growers claimed thousands of trees have died and nut production has steadily decreased since the plant began operating in 1979. After consulting science experts, the growers contended that sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant were the cause.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the data and is expected to respond in early 2011 on their findings.[4]

Suit filed over Fayette coal plant

On March 7, 2010 three environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Fayette Power Project. The groups, which included Environmental Integrity Project, Austin-based Environment Texas and Texas Campaign for the Environment, claimed the Fayette Power Project violated the federal Clean Air Act thousands of times. The plaintiffs alleged the company increased capacity and as a result, levels of dangerous particle pollution, which has been linked to asthma and heart and lung disease.[5]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Lower Colorado River Authority
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,690 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 615 MW (1979), 615 MW (1980), 460 MW (1988)
  • Location: 6549 Power Plant Rd., La Grange, TX 78945
  • GPS Coordinates: 29.909662, -96.753607
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 12,000,000 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 27,597 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Fayette Power Project

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Fayette Power Project

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 37 $270,000,000
Heart attacks 55 $6,100,000
Asthma attacks 760 $40,000
Hospital admissions 27 $630,000
Chronic bronchitis 26 $11,000,000
Asthma ER visits 42 $16,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Texas, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that was not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[8] The report mentioned Texas's Fayette Power Project as one site that has groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[9]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

<us_map redirect=":Category:Existing coal waste sites in {state}"></us_map>

Articles and Resources

References

  1. Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Fayette Power Project, company Web page, accessed November 12, 2010
  2. "Austin Energy Task Force Approves Consensus Recommendations on Electric Power Generation" Lone Star Sierra Club Chapter, accessed April 11, 2010.
  3. "Enviro Groups to Sue Coal Plant Touted by Texas as Permitting Success" Gabriel Nelson, July 15, 2010, New York Times.
  4. "Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants" Ramit Plushnick-Matsi, Business Week, December 28, 2010.
  5. "Suit filed over coal-fired plant SE of Austin" Houston Business Journal, March 7, 2011.
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  9. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.

Sources

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.