Railroad Commissioner Barry T. Smitherman Slams EPA for Killing at least 500 Texas Jobs with CSAPR Rule

09/12/2011

AUSTIN- Because of the EPA’s unscientific Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), Luminant announced the closure of two critical electric generating units, Monticello I and Monticello II, effective Jan. 1, 2012.   In addition, they will be closing down two mines, resulting in the loss of 500 skilled jobs.

“Despite EPA’s denial of our warnings about electric reliability, our worst fears have come true,” said Smitherman. “EPA’s technologically unfeasible timetable has forced the closure of two of our state’s critical generators on Jan. 1, 2012, right in the dead of winter, when our state’s medically fragile citizens absolutely cannot have a blackout.”
  Smitherman continued:  “The EPA has pulled a ‘bait-and-switch’ on Texas by not including our state in the most draconian portions of this rule until the final publication.  This means that the federal government denied Texas citizens, businesses, and elected leaders the opportunity to comment on a rule that will likely cost us thousands of jobs and could lead to blackouts because of the EPA’s unrealistic demands that are not based in scientific fact.”

The draft proposals of the CSAPR rule scheme specifically excluded Texas from annual caps on SOx (sulfur oxides) emissions.  In an about-face, the EPA, without ever showing it to the public, adopted a rule that requires Texas to achieve a 47 percent reduction in SOx emissions in less than 4 months.  Anyone who thinks this goal is attainable should consider the fact that Texas has been applauded for achieving a 33 percent SOx reduction in the last decade.

"While new, cleaner-burning, natural gas plants may be built to help us solve these problems in the long-run, it takes time to design, construct and permit new plants. That means that even if they began working on those plants today, they could not be brought online quickly enough to prevent the devastating impact of this rule on Texas citizens," said Smitherman.

“It is clear that the EPA has singled out the citizens of the state of Texas by adopting an unscientific, politically-motivated rule scheme that is designed to kill jobs and jeapordize the operation of our electric grid,” concluded Smitherman.

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Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Railroad Commission of Texas on July 8, 2011. Before serving at the Railroad Commission, Smitherman served on the Public Utility Commission  for seven years, four of those as Chairman.  In addition, he is a past ex-officio board member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).  He currently serves on the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) and is a member of the State Bar of Texas. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory panel on Federal Environmental Regulation and is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) Board of Directors, and the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment (ERE).