Las Brisas coke-fired plant air permit considered by TCEQ tomorrow

On Wednesday, January 26th, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will consider the air quality permit application for the Las Brisas Energy Center, a planned petroleum coke-fired power plant that just last month, two administrative law judges said does not meet emission standards.

Public Citizen, the SEED Coalition and Sierra Club have all argued that the 1,200-megawatt petroleum coke plant proposed near Corpus Christi should be held to the same air-quality standards as traditional coal plants.  The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) administrative law judges must have agreed, twice recommending denial of this permit because of major flaws in the permit application.

The three-member TCEQ commission will be on thin legal ice if it approves the application tomorrow considering the ALS’s actions to date.  Not to mention that the Texas agency seems to be locked in a death match with the EPA over the regulation of greenhouse gasses.  Nevertheless, were I a betting woman, I wouldn’t bet on them denying the permit.  What do you think?

[polldaddy poll=4444923]

The TCEQ meeting begins 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the agency’s headquarters near Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane. Click here for the agenda.

UPDATE:

We have learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has urged the TCEQ  to deny the air quality permit to Las Brisas Energy Center petroleum coke-fired power plant in Corpus Christi on grounds that the project has not demonstrated it can comply fully with the Clean Air Act.

EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Lawrence Starfield  sent a letter yesterday stating, “We continue to have strong concerns about the public health and environmental impacts of this project based on our review . . .  Neither EPA nor the public have had the opportunity to exercise their rights under the (Clean Air Act) to review the (Las Brisas’) demonstrations of compliance.”

Wonder if that changes the odds?

Yet another UPDATE!

Well, if that had been a real bet instead of just a poll then everyone who participated right up to the unbelievable decision would have won.  Of course, the odds that the Commission would have denied the permit were astronomical number : 1

So the TCEQ approved the Las Brisas Energy Center’s air permit, their lawyer said he was dismayed that anyone would say anything bad about TCEQ doing their job.  Go figure.  That makes 3,032 for industry, 0 for the citizens of Texas.