November 24, 2010
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: Texas Agency Unlawfully Failing to Protect People from Toxic Air Pollution
Fifth Circuit Decision Finds Construction of Sandy Creek Coal Plant Unlawful
(RIESEL, TX)- The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Texas Commission on Environmentally Quality (TCEQ) unlawfully approved the construction of the Sandy Creek coal plant in Riesel, Texas.
The Sandy Creek plant, which would be a major source of hazardous air pollution including mercury- a potent neurotoxin, began construction despite the fact that the proposed plant does not comply with the Clean Air Act. The Sierra Club and Public Citizen appealed the TCEQ approval, which was overturned by the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday.
The Sierra Club released the following statement in response to the Fifth Circuit’s announcement:
Statement of Eva Hernandez, Texas Field Organizing Manager, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign
"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality acted irresponsibly by failing to require the Sandy Creek Plant to comply with the Clean Air Act. This ruling shows that Texas agencies can’t fast track permits and ignore laws that are put in place to protect people. When these federal laws are ignored, it puts the public’s health at risk.
"The pollution emitted from coal-fired power plants is dangerously toxic and has been linked to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States. By allowing a plant to be constructed that does not use readily available technology that will control as much pollution as possible, the TCEQ not only endangered people living near the plant in Texas, but also people living downwind from the plant in other states. Dangerous air pollution doesn’t observe state borders and common sense federal laws like the Clean Air Act are essential to protecting people from pollution from dirty and dangerous coal-fired power plants.
"The Sierra Club is very pleased that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the law and in favor of protecting people from air pollution. It is very welcome news that the Sandy Creek coal plant will not be allowed to jeopardize the health of people in Texas and neighboring states."
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Please contact Claire Orphan at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive a digital copy of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.