Energy & Environment

EPA’s Regional Haze Rules Could Bring Texas Closer To Air Quality Compliance

Proposed rules by the EPA could cause as many as 14 coal-fired power plants in Texas to close. Environmentalists praise the new regulations.


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Coal burning power plant in Limestone County Photo by: Dave Fehling


The EPA’s proposed regulations address what’s known as regional haze, basically the soupy pollution in the air caused by sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants.

Cyrus Reed is the director of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club. He says of the state’s 121 power-generating facilities, 14 coal-fired plants would have to either shut down or make significant upgrades to comply with the new rules.

“If we were to replace these 14 coal boilers with clean energy, we’d get two thirds of the way to the EPA’s target to reducing carbon emissions from Texas.”

The regional haze plan is intended to reduce pollution at national parks and wildlife preserves. Several years ago, the EPA gave Texas regulators the chance to create their own plan to improve air quality at Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.

But the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality submitted a plan that did not have any new requirements to reduce emissions and said no additional controls on Texas power plants were necessary.


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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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