It was amazing to see TXU (Texas Utilities) act like they were surprised when a study from the University of Texas showed that the $10 Billion Dollar investment in new coal plants will increase air-quality problems in Texas, if they are built. Experts from the world over have criticized Red China because their coal fired utility plants cause so much pollution in China.
Even leaders in China have finally admitted that coal fired plants are a huge polluter in the atmosphere and a cause of millions of lung disease deaths. But here, in the USA, our "free market" CEO's and politicians who often invoke "christian values", who are quick to criticize "Godless China", act indignant, that someone would suggest that coal fired plants in Texas will pollute the air and cause sickness, higher mortality rates (death) and a lower quality of life in Texas. Who owns and has rights to the air that we all breath? And if someone puts garbage in it, who should be responsible?
TXU, one of the largest companies in Texas, has traditionally been a powerful lobbiest in political circles. TXU's people are well paid and excellent at "spinning" their message. They are particularly effective at this in civic meetings such as Rotary Clubs and Chambers of Commerce, after they have prayed and repeated the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the U.S. Flag. For years citizens have believed in TXU, in spite of the fact that the Dallas/Fort Worth area has been cited repeatedly by the EPA for poor air quality. This poor air quality has been caused largely by TXU and other large companies in the State. These companies have used their political and economic clout to gain exceptions and time and even "non-enforcement" of what most scientists consider proper clean air standards.
U.S. Congressman, Joe Barton has been one of the worst in hindering enforcement of clean air policies. When he became Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, research showed that he was one of the nation's largest recipients of money from big utility companies. It is no surprize then, that one of his largest contributors in 2006 was, you guess....TXU Corp.
It is no wonder than many people who live in his district and have to breath the air there, call him; "The menace from Ennis". He was a paid consultant for Atlantic Richfield, and has openly doubted that there is "Global Warming". It is no wonder, because Joe Barton may be the politician responsible for more pollution (that could cause global warming) than any in the USA. Since 1997, he has received more money from Utility companies than any other member of the U.S. Congress. He has attacked scientists who believe in global warming and scientists have responded by saying that he has tried to intimidate and "bully and harrass climate change experts".
But this time, even TXU and Joe Barton could not ignore the facts. The University of Texas study group, was led by Dr. David Allen, an air quality expert with excellent credentials. He heads up the University of Texas Center for Energy and Environmental Resources. He is on the Science Advisory Board of the EPA. He graduated from Cornell University and the California Insititute of Technology and is the author of several books.
His team at the University of Texas proved what residents, politicians, and environmental experts have been saying for a long time. That is that the areas from D/FW, Waco, Austin, and Tyler, all could be dramatically affected by the TXU coal power plant pollution. This pollution is dangerous to human health. This pollution contributes to global warming.
The Mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller said: "This gives us what we have been waiting for a long time, which is the evidence to present to the State of Texas of why we cannot afford to build all these coal plants."
An industry trade group, that is paid by the power companies, as expected, opposed the scientific study by putting a "bigger lie" rhetorical argument, stating that the study "hurts the ability of the state to provide healthy living conditions to its residents." What does that mean? Does it mean that the more pollution they cause, the more profits they make, the more hospitals and doctors they can provide to sick people, who are sick because of the actions of TXU?
As usual, the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is on the side of dirty air and opposed to environmental standards meant to protect citizens. Perry directed state environmental regulators to expedite the permitting process to build these new plants, but he has also been sued over the executive order. Perry has long been known to have the desire to use his office to keep federal environmental regulations from being enforced in Texas. The problem with this kind of policy is that people suffer, become sick and experts say that people die as a result of air pollution. Perry doesn't seem to understand that the very reason these environmental studies and regulations are in force, is to protect the health and welfare of people. His Texan citizens, and voters.
ECONOMIC AND LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS: In the body of common law there is the concept that if one party creates a situation that hurts or damages another party, then the party that created or is the source of the damage is responsible to compensate the damaged party. Now, what if you live in a place that is polluted. I remember the terrible stench that came from the old Stock Yards of Fort Worth, when it had thousands of cattle as well as a meat packing plant. The smell of manure, and blood, and decaying animal parts was overwhelming, and no business, no homeowner wanted to have property near the stock yards. Only when it was cleaned up, could the area have economic potential. The story leads us to another concept. What if your town, or neighborhood is in an area that known pollution will envelope your house, the air that you and your children breath. Would your house, or business be worth less because of that pollution? Whether it is water pollution, soil pollution, chemical pollution, or air pollution, we believe that it would have tangible negative impacts in damaging your property, and known impacts in damaging your health. What if enough people researched this, and pursued the damages caused by major polluters "downwind" of the industrial sources of the pollution. Perhaps then, polluters would see some "economic" reason not to pollute (if they cannot conceive of the ethical reasons). Our company, is researching a template to show the relationship in economic value and damage to property, and people, as a result of environmental pollution to that property.
THE DREAM OF THE THREE AMIGOS: What do we see in this dream? Here we see an environmental connection, an "Amigo" partnership of sorts. Just consider this as a hypothetical nightmare and see how much of the "nightmare" seems to be true to you. The nightmare has 3 players in it's partnership connection. It isn't a conspiracy, just 3 main players all who quietly want to cause certain things to happen, so that all three can profit financially.
The players in this nightmare? Who are the "THREE AMIGOS" of this hypothetical dream?
- Joe Barton
- Rick Perry
We won't call them an "Axis of Evil". That phrase has already been over used. Just call them the THREE AMIGOS. The more research that is done, the more "connections" and silent agreements, or common "understandings" will likely be uncovered among the three amigos. Phone calls, letters, emails, and big money exchanging hands. Big utility businesses, contribute to national congressman, Barton. Then TXU and industry friends help the congressman to get on an influential environmental committee. The national environmental agencies "just happen" to be pressured to not enforce national environmental standards, by that very same committee. World esteemed scientists are intimidated to not tell the truth of their science, relating to pollution. (This could only be a nightmare, it couldn't possibly be true! Could it?)
TXU contributes to the state governor, and the state environmental agencies are told to "rush" approvals for TXU, (and in the process to ignore environmental concerns). If we were in some developing country of Latin America, this would seem very corrupt. We would call it unethical and corruption of big money and power. What would you call it, here in Texas and the USA, in our "hypothetical dream of the three Amigos"? (This surely is only a nightmare, not reality!)
TXU has responded by saying that if it can build these plants it will "voluntarily" reduce it's company wide pollution by 20 percent, some day in the future. If TXU admits and believes that reducing pollution is important, why hasn't it already done that? Why have regulators had to force it to make such a promise? Could greed be more important than the health and welfare of citizens who breath the stuff they spew out of their plants?
The hardest hit area is Frisco, in Collin County. It is already rated by federal regulators has having the region's worst ozone problem. Under TXU's plan for these plants, during "ozone season" Frisco will see the ozone problem increase even more, by as much as 20 percent, according to studies. Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, all of the metroplex with it's millions of people will be impacted. To this, we can give some of the credit to the "Three Amigos".
"The study confirms our worst fears, that these power plants will have a devastating effect on air quality throughout the state" said Tom Smitty Smith of the Texas Chapter of the Public Citizen in Austin.
We at Environment-Solutions pose this alternative, and it is a positive one. TXU could go on the positive side. It could admit the facts, and say: "We want to do better, and be a part of the solution. Forget coal. It is historically known to be a terrible air polluter".
TXU could take the initiative and become one of the nation's leading promoters of clean air, clean environment, and good health. Then, all would benefit.
Then TXU would not have to "buy" politicians such as Barton, or pay millions to lobbiests, or keep a steady stream of people in Austin, working on the Governor and his minions. Let the two Amigos, Barton and Perry, find some other industry group to milk for contributions. No doubt they are talented and ethically challenged enough to find some other "influence peddling" industry who is willing to contribute big bucks for their votes.
TXU could again, be the friend of the people, by helping improve the health and environment of Texas.What if TXU invested 10 billion dollars in solar power, or wind power, or provided $10 Billion in incentives and financing to encourage consumers to invest in and build alternative sources of energy that do not pollute?
What if TXU invested in a fund to reimburse victims of lung cancer or help families who have lost their father or loved ones, due to air pollution issues. Consider this. Even poor India's power companies have helped India to target to supply 20% of it's power needs through wind. Other nations such as Finland and Denmark have reduced their reliance on coal and polluting energy sources by 80%, and have created new jobs and economic growth in the process. How about it TXU? TXU could again be a hero to all the people.
Wake up, recognize global environmental trends, and be a solution, not a source of more carbon, and other trash in our air. Wake up and let us forget the nightmare of the "Three Amigos" who seem to be messing with our air.
Yes, OUR air, that we and our children and loved ones must breath.