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Environmental Group May Have Overstated Power Plant Pollution

A couple months ago, we told you about claims that a big, coal-burning power plant near Houston was releasing pollution beyond safety limits set by the government. Or was it?

photo of NRG sign with coal mounds in background
Biggest power plant in Texas: the W.A Parish plant in Fort Bend County.

Back in September, the Texas chapter of the environmental group, the Sierra Club, said it had done its own analysis of pollution data from the Parish Power Plant. The huge plant burns tons of coal a day. It’s owned by NRG and sits on the southern edge of the booming suburb of Sugar Land.

The Sierra Club said data showed air pollution from the plant was exceeding government health standards for sulfur dioxide. NRG disagreed.

Now, two months later, the Sierra Club suggests in emails to News 88.7 that some of the data it used may have been incorrectly entered into a computer model and that their results may have overstated the impact of sulfur dioxide emissions. However, the group said it still believes the plant is in violation of government safeguards.

NRG had no official comment.

But it and the Sierra Club have each been submitting their own research to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It’s in the process of tightening limits on sulfur dioxide and is looking at how much a plant like Parish should be allowed to emit.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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