Stopping Dirty Coal
Coal is the dirtiest way to supply the nation with energy, and one of the lead contributors to climate change. Coal is a threat to the health of the planet and the communities in which it is mined and burned. Coal-fired power plants release many dangerous pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, mercury and lead. Emissions from coal plants complicate diseases such as asthma, cardiac pulmonary disease and many other circulatory and respiratory conditions, and studies have shown a statistically significant link between mercury and increased autism rates.
Dr. James Hansen, the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change and director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has said,
“It remains possible, and not entirely painful” to address global warming. “The most important step... would be to prohibit the construction of coal-fired power plants...” (Houston Chronicle, Oct 25, 2007).
Out of concern for human health, environmental quality, and the dangers of climate change, Public Citizen opposes the use of coal as an energy source.
Stopping the Texas Coal Rush
Texas already has more operating coal-fired facilities than any other state. In 2007, an additional 18 coal plants were pending as companies rushed to escape stronger environmental regulations. In part as a result of the hard work of groups like Public Citizen Texas, 11 of those plants were stopped in their tracks.
But the threat from coal is far from over. Texas still has 12 proposed coal and pet coke fired power plants.
If all these 12 proposed plants were built, Texas would emit an additional:
77 million tons of carbon dioxide every year
53,630 tons per year of SO2
29,660 tons per year of NOx
14,180 tons per year of PM
3,434 pounds per year of Mercury
Public Citizen Texas works to organize community members opposed to new coal plants in their area, and has helped establish a non-profit advocacy group in almost every community in Texas with a pending plant. Public Citizen Texas also works with the Legislature to create new state-wide policies relating to coal plants and their permitting processes, and advises cities owning or purchasing power from coal plants on alternative ways of meeting their energy needs.