How New Emissions Rules Will Work in Texas
Texas could lead the way into a less carbon-intensive future under the Obama administration’s plans to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Or the state could have trouble keeping the lights on.
The competing views underscore the exquisite complexity of the rules scheduled to be unveiled Monday. The proposed regulation represents the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda – one that could lead to the shuttering of hundreds of coal plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.
Already Texas officials are lining up against the plan, with 29 members of the state’s congressional delegation – Republicans and Democrats – voicing concern in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. They say the rules could drive up electricity bills, threaten reliability and lead to job losses in a state that pumps far more carbon dioxide into the air than any other.
But environmentalists note that Texas already is shifting closer to Obama’s goals. Last year, 63 percent of the state’s electricity came from sources other than coal.
“We will hear a lot of complaining about the rule, but we have a lot of options in Texas that other states do not have,” said Al Armendariz, a former EPA official who now leads the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.