EPA rule forcing Texas energy company to lay-off workers

By Michael Tremoglie | Sep 13, 2011


Texas-based energy company Luminant announced Monday that it needs to close facilities and lay-off about 500 people so that it can be in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution rule.

The rule requires Texas power generators to make reductions in emissions beginning next January.

But Luminant, the fifth largest purchaser of wind energy in the U.S., is suing to overturn the mandate at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It is also seeking a stay in the court action filed Monday.

The company must idle two generating units and cease mining Texas lignite at three mines for them to be in compliance with EPA's rule. It will also implement several other actions to reduce emissions, including making substantial investments in its facilities.

Luminant says that it supports continued efforts to improve air quality across the state and nation. Since 2005, for example, Luminant has achieved a 21 percent reduction in SO2 emissions, while at the same time increasing generation by 13 percent.

David Campbell, Luminant's chief executive officer, issued a statement saying they are committed to complying, but are unable to meet the deadline.

"We have hundreds of employees who have spent their entire professional careers at Luminant and its predecessor companies," he said. "At every step of this process, we have tried to minimize these impacts, and it truly saddens me that we are being compelled to take the actions we've announced today. We have filed suit to try to avoid these consequences."

"The company's legal action is part of a broader effort, supported by a large and bipartisan contingent of political and community leaders, to achieve these goals without harming critically important Texas jobs and electric reliability," Luminant's announcement stated.

Luminant says the rule's mandates for Texas are unlawful because a year ago, the EPA's proposed rule did not include Texas in the annual SO2 and NOx reductions programs. Now they do and it is an impossible requirement to meet by the deadline, according to Luminant.

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