(Austin, Texas, Feb. 15, 2013) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today is pleased to announce the indefinite suspension of the White Stallion coal plant, a 1200 MW power project in Matagorda County, Texas. This cancellation is tremendous news for clean air advocates, as White Stallion was the last new proposed coal plant in Texas. EDF has been leading efforts to prevent this coal plant from coming to fruition with several partners, including Sierra Club, Public Citizen, SEED Coalition, and Environmental Integrity Project.
“After suffering numerous setbacks … White Stallion has finally seen the writing on the wall,” said Austin attorney Tom Weber, lead counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, who has worked tirelessly to stop the coal plant in the courts. “This is a big win for clean air in Texas and for the Environmental Defense Fund.”
The developers of White Stallion faced multiple setbacks over the past few years in obtaining the necessary permits to operate the plant. In November 2011, the Lower Colorado River Authority denied a water contract and, in May 2012, several businesses in Matagorda County publicly opposed the plant due to the plant’s role in providing a new, major source of mercury pollution. Additionally, the plant suffered another setback when a court ruled against its challenges to the Clean Air Act standards.
“The White Stallion plant, like the recently mothballed Las Brisas project in Corpus Christi, hopefully represents the last dying gasp of ‘new’ coal plants in Texas proposing to employ technologies from the last century,” said Jim Marston, Vice President of the US Climate and Energy program at EDF and Regional Director of EDF’s Texas office.
Since the initial White Stallion proposal in 2008, the state has seen significant changes in the electricity market, to the point where wind power and natural gas prices have made large, capital-intensive coal plants completely uneconomic. Throughout 2012, wind power generation provided 10 percent of electricity for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid. Additionally, wind power reached a new peak record on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 providing 28 percent of ERCOT’s electricity.
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EDFtx; facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund; and http://blogs.edf.org/texascleanairmatters/.