A leading power-generating company Luminant announced major layoffs in Texas Monday as a result of the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The new rule places unfair and excessive burdens on Texas and other states, which will be forced to shoulder a disproportionate percentage of the country's emissions reductions. Luminant stated it will be forced to idle plants and eliminate 500 skilled positions in order to comply with the new rule's stringent requirements and unreasonable compliance deadlines. Workers at the mine adjacent to the Big Brown power plant in Freestone County will be included in the layoffs. Luminant has also voiced concerns, which are echoed by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis/Arlington), that the rule will threaten electric reliability across the state of Texas.
The Energy and Commerce Committee, where Mr. Barton serves as Chairman Emeritus, has already passed the TRAIN Act, which includes language to delay implementation of EPA's CSAPR to ensure proper consideration of the rule's economic and job impacts.
The draft proposals of the CSAPR specifically excluded Texas from annual caps on SOx (sulfur oxides) emissions. Then at the last possible moment and without ever showing it to the public, the EPA issued a rule that would give Texas business less than 5 months to reduce emissions by 47% - an unrealistic goal and deadline that can only be reached by shutting down power plants costing Texans jobs and affordable, reliable electricity.
The Congressman released the following statement after hearing about Luminant's actions:
"The Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is an example of the overzealous, radical environmental agenda that the EPA is using against Texas. Air in Texas has gotten cleaner over the past decade thanks to cooperation between the public and private sectors. We're not a cause of interstate air pollution. The EPA's own data proves this point.
"There are real consequences to basing environmental policy on politics rather than facts or science. The President just stood in front of the country and said he wanted to create jobs and that some regulations "do put an unnecessary burden on business when they can least afford it.
"It is time for the President to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth. On the same day he is sending his "jobs bill" to Congress, the actions of his Administration led to 500 layoffs. (Luminant directly referenced the CASPR rule as a reason for their actions.)
"And the negative effects don't stop there. Shutting down these power plants and mines could put lives at stake. Texas was already the victim of rolling blackout this year. Now increased usage during a summer heat wave could leave people without power when they need it most.
"I will plan on working with state leaders and other members of the Texas Congressional delegation on ways to rescind this ill advised rule."