The Martin Lake coal plant, located near Longview, Texas, is one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. It ranks as the worst mercury polluter among all U.S. coal plants, releasing a staggering 1,764 pounds in 2008, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory. In Texas, Martin Lake ranked third for asthma-causing soot pollution and was responsible for 13 percent of all industrial air pollution in the state.
The company’s self-reported emissions data indicates it has violated air pollution standards more than 50,000 times in five years. In 2010, Earthjustice, representing the Sierra Club and Environmental Integrity Project, filed suit against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to end this string of environmental crimes.
Although the TCEQ is charged with enforcing violations of the Clean Air Act, its enforcement policy and practice have ignored Martin Lake’s emissions—the Commission has not issued one enforcement notice, nor corrected any of the deficiencies at the plant through during the five year period the suit examines.
In 2013, the Department of Justice filed suit against Luminant for failure to clean up its operations at the Martin Lake plant and another Texas plant with serious air pollution problems.