A coal-fired plant in Texas to be shut down after pollution spill
Coal plants that emit heavy pollution can be shut off in Texas under a law that was signed into law Tuesday.
The law, which is named for coal miner Chris Miller, allows the Texas Department of Environment to temporarily shut down any coal-burning facility that emits more than 5,000 tons of nitrogen oxides per year, a pollutant that can cause respiratory illness and cancer.
The law also requires the department to provide the facility with a plan to reduce emissions by at least 75 percent.
The bill passed the Senate in May and the House by a wide margin in early June.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 98-7 in June.
“It is essential that Texas and the country keep its citizens safe,” Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.
“I have long been a strong supporter of coal and its benefits to our economy and our communities, and this bill is a good start in the right direction.”
The bill has drawn a great deal of attention, and some have criticized the move to temporarily shutter coal plants.
One of the main criticisms is that the EPA’s regulations have been too stringent.
Critics of the bill have pointed to a 2012 study from the University of Pittsburgh that found the EPA was overstepping its authority when it banned coal-powered plants.
The University of Pennsylvania study found that, in fact, the EPA did not have the authority to ban coal plants, and that it had a history of making policy based on flawed science.
The study was released before the Obama administration ordered the EPA to study the emissions of carbon dioxide from coal-power plants.