"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

November 29, 2006

Kelpie Wilson describes how Texas government is a pox on our civilization:

....Texas is already the number one CO2 polluter in the United States, which is the number one CO2 polluter in the world. If Texas were a separate country, it would rank as the world's tenth largest greenhouse gas emitter. But TXU could care less about that. When the company pitched its plans to municipal leaders last summer, it was happy to point out that CO2 is not a regulated pollutant. Expensive measures to control the gas would not be required.

Clearly, TXU is rushing to complete these cheap and dirty plants before any federal CO2 regulations can be enacted, thereby locking Texas and the planet into increased CO2 emissions for the 50 year life of the plants.

But Texans are becoming increasingly concerned - about climate change, about escalating power prices and about air quality. A number of local citizen groups have sprung up in opposition, and at least twenty mayors and county executives, including the mayors of Dallas and Houston, have raised concerns.

The most immediate victims of TXU's dirty coal expansion will be children and the elderly, some of whom will die. Texas Public Citizen just released a report on the deadly consequences of the fine particulate pollution that the plants will emit. The new plants will add 50,568 tons of sulfur dioxide and 24,031 tons of nitrous oxides per year. The report says: "This pollution can be expected to cause 177 premature mortalities per year, and 8,869 premature mortalities over the expected lifetimes of the plants."


TXU says that since the price of natural gas keeps going up, its new cheap coal plants will bring rates down for consumers. But the company is playing a shell game. Energy regulators in Texas have tied rates to the price of natural gas, so power producers can charge the natural gas premium price for their cheap dirty coal. TXU can make billions of dollars on that price differential because no one will make them pay the real cost of coal.

Laurie David, global warming activist and producer of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, calls TXU's new coal plants "global warming factories." She says Texans need help from the rest of country, and she's asking people to write to TXU (txuenergy@txu.com) and tell them to drop their plans for these dirty coal plants. There are more suggestions for action at http://www.stopthecoalplant.org/.

On Tuesday, climate scientist James Hansen said that the world has less than a decade to take decisive action on global warming or risk tipping the planet towards catastrophe. "The biggest problem is that the United States is not taking an active leadership role - quite the reverse," he said.

The world can't get its act together without the United States, and the US can't do it without Texas. The world may have ten years, but Texas only has six months to stop TXU from turning our climate to toast.

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