Greens Step Up Pressure to Stop New Texas Coal Plants

The nonprofit Rainforest Action Network urged 54 financial institutions last week not to participate in lending Texas-based TXU Corp. the $11 billion it needs for the construction of 11 new coal-burning power plants across Texas. The new plants would produce some 78 million tons of new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year they are operating, which is more greenhouse gas pollution than is produced by 21 states or by small countries like Sweden, Denmark and Portugal.

"The world’s financial institutions can prevent this project from ever leaving the ground by simply declining to be a part of it," a RAN statement declared. The group is targeting Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, the three lead funding groups of TXU’s expansion. Dozens of other financial institutions have committed to help fund the plants.

For its part, TXU’s CEO says the company plans to invest in new technology to limit carbon emissions from coal-burning plants, but environmentalists complain that such measures would do little to reduce the carbon footprint of the new facilities.

Other groups joining RAN in opposing construction of the new plants include the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, CERES and the Texas-based Seed Coalition. Also, the Democratic mayors of both Dallas and Houston, as well as several Texas county executives and other mayors, have raised objections to TXU’s coal-based expansion plans.

Sources: Ask Merrill Lynch to Stop Funding TXU;