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Earthjustice Statement On Texas Regional Haze Plan

Victory: Finalized EPA rule requires long-overdue emissions reductions at some of the worst-polluting power plants in the country
The W. A. Parish Power Plant in Thompsons, TX.

The W. A. Parish Power Plant in Thompsons, Texas. Power plants in the state have some of the highest sulfur dioxide emission rates in the country.

Roy Luck / CC BY 2.0
December 9, 2015
Austin, TX —

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized a regional haze plan for Texas, a Clean Air Act protection that requires states to develop plans to clean up pollution and improve air quality at national parks and wilderness areas. The EPA issued a proposed draft of the rule in November 2014.

Location map of Texas and Oklahoma.
The finalized regional haze plan will clean the air for people in Texas and Oklahoma.

In response, Earthjustice attorney Matthew Gerhart released the following statement:

“Today, EPA issued landmark air quality standards for Texas that will clear the skies and clean the air for people in Texas and Oklahoma. Texas emits more harmful sulfur dioxide pollution causing lasting injury to communities and damage to the environment than any other state, and its power plants have some of the highest sulfur dioxide emission rates in the country.

“Texas’s power plants have failed to install the modern pollution controls in use in many plants around the country, and today’s standards will finally bring Texas’s power plants into the 21st century. We applaud EPA’s standards that require long-overdue emissions reductions at some of the worst-polluting power plants in the country, such as Luminant's Big Brown, Martin Lake, and Monticello plants.

“Today’s rule will significantly improve visibility, health, and the economy. EPA estimates that the rule will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by a staggering 230,000 tons per year. A noted public health expert predicts that these standards will save Texans and Oklahomans more than $3 billion dollars each year in avoided medical costs. The Texas regional haze plan means clearer skies, cleaner air, fewer heart and asthma attacks, and longer lives.”

Clear Day Vs. Hazy Day

Comparison of views from Big Bend National Park in Texas, of Sierra del Carmen in Mexico.

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A hazy day in 2013 on August 20.
A clear day in 2013 on August 22.
Comparison of views of Sierra del Carmen in Mexico from Big Bend National Park in Texas.
National Park Service Photos
A clear day (left) on August 22, 2013, compared to a hazy day (right) on August 20, 2013.