Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


A Flawed Process: Fast Tracking Dirty Coal Power Plant Permits

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

It seems as if it is very hard for the people’s voice to be heard in Texas. Contacting the Governor is harder than paying the water bill in Franz Kafka’s book “The Castle”. Even if we were listened to, we would not be heard by our governor. He still believes building the Dirty Coal Plants and polluting the state and cities in Texas is good for the growth of Texas even if the majority of the people disagree. Presently, Texas is in the top six for pollution. I bet these coal plants will propel us to “Number 1”. Governor Perry’s office called the opposition of the Dirty Coal Power Plants a liberal Democratic plot. I call it a refusal to understand the issue on the part of the governor.

The following quotes appeared in the Herald Democrat December 8, 2006

“Dozens of David’s lined up here (Bonham,Texas) Thursday (December 7,2006) to see if State Administrative Law Judge Kerry Sullivan would give them a rock to use in the battle against Goliath TXU.”

“Ranchers and those who have built wetlands and wildlife sanctuaries fear devastation of their land, ponds and trees from acid rain caused by sulfur dioxide (emission from the Dirty Coal Plant proposed in Savoy Texas.)”

In addition to sulfur, people in Fannin and Grayson County are going to be exposed to 72,480,000,000 billion micrograms of Mercury a year (160 lbs). All of this Mercury is additive each year. Mercury affects fetal and infant brain development with resultant increase in Autism, attention deficit syndrome and loss of memory in adults. Maybe the increase in Alzheimer’s disease is secondary to the increase in pollution in the country.

“TXU said the plant will emit 3,787 tons(7,574,000 lbs.) of sulfur dioxide each year, less than current coal-fired plants and within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limits.”

The lowering of these toxic levels of Sulfur and the resulting conversion to sulfuric acid when reacting to the air have be stalled by the Bush Administration. The administration does not believe in the existence of acid rain or the global warming resulting from excess production of carbon dioxide. This belief is held in spite of the abundance evidence for it effect. Nitrogen effluent will produce 1894 tons per year (3,788,000 lbs.) resulting in increased production of ozone. The particulate matter from the Savoy Texas Dirty Coal Plants will be 1515 tons( 3,030,000 lbs) per year. How many of us think this is healthy for the kids of North Central Texans in general and Grayson and Fannin County residents in particular.

However we, the people of Texas, will be stuck with the high levels for the next 50 years long after this administration is gone. I thought people were wrong when they said these groups of government officials were not compassionate. They are not compassionate and they do not listen to the will of the people.

“When the judge found there were more than 40 people who live within 10 miles of the plant at the hearing asking for status as individuals, he said, “I am required by law to hold this hearing in a way to have an organized process for the development of the evidence that will focus on issues and that can be cross examined effectively. And there is simply no way we can have this many active participants prepare for this hearing and then formally participate in it.”

“Reacting to Sullivan’s statement that there were too many parties seeking status as parties in the case, Dr. Stanley Feld said that there seemed to him to be evidence the process is moving too fast. Feld added there should be more hearings held close to the plant so local people won’t have to travel to Austin to decide a local issue.”

“With all due respect to everyone, you are working within the parameters you have to work in,” Feld said. “I can see that clearly. What has happened is there is something wrong with the system of parameters when local people didn’t know anything about it (the proposed coal plants) and haven’t been able to express their opinion. With the rules that have been set up, Texas Electric (the former name of part of TXU) has said ‘OK, let’s batch everyone together and make it quicker.’”

This was a very good move on TXU’s part. TXU would love to shut as many people up as they can. What is magical about 10 miles? What is so wrong with educating your neighbor about the risk we will permit in our neighborhood? Presently we get 70% of our electricity from Dirty Coal burning plants and right now we are the most polluted in the country with mercury.

Large area lakes in East Texas are already shut down already to fishing because of contamination with Mercury. We do not want Lake Texoma to be contaminated. TXU’s response is “Who said the contamination came from the Mercury produced by the Coal Plant.” Where does the Mercury come from?

“Sullivan reversed strategy and reconvened the hearing. He let all those interested in joining as individuals plead their cases.”

Maybe someone will get the point that the people want to be heard and we want the coal plant project stopped! Governor Perry seems not to be able to visualize that if we live in a polluted state no one will want to live here. TXU will not have a problem because they will sell the excess electricity on the national grid.

We the residents of Texas will suffer and the government will say it made a mistake. We have heard that before, haven’t we?

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