Environmentalists scored a big victory last week when power utility Luminant agreed to outfit its new 1,600 megawatt Oak Grove coal-fired electric plant with technology that will help reduce emissions of noxious airborne pollutants by some 90 percent. Two nonprofits, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen, had threatened to sue EFH (the holding company that owns Luminant) for violating standards set forth under the U.S. Clean Air Act calling for the reduction of mercury emissions from power plants. In avoiding the lawsuit, the company has agreed to implement "maximum achievable control technology" at the Oak Grove facility, which is scheduled to go live in late 2009.
"This agreement gives us greater legal and regulatory certainty as we complete the Oak Grove generating station, which will help meet growing Texas electricity demand," Luminant general counsel Bill Moore told reporters. "We're confident that our state-of-the art emissions control technology will continue to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements, reflecting our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship," he added.
Last week's news marks the second time in as many years that the Texas-based company made concessions to environmental interests. In 2007, EFH scrapped eight of 11 proposed new coal-fired power plants across Texas in order to gain the support of two other leading environmental nonprofits, Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council.