Tenaska Hearing in Austin

By Joe Starkey | July 1, 2010

My sister Elaine and I were among several people from the Trent and Abilene area to attend. The first day made several things very clear. First is that TENASKA has absolutely NO requirement in the permit to capture CO2. Also they have no requirement to do dry cooling. They will not build the plant without receiving over $1,000.000, 000.00 of public money that will not be paid back and require passage of the cap and trade bill on emissions.{{more}}It also became clear that TEQC was a rubber stamp organization as all of their witnesses stated that all they did was examine the TENASKA request and never compared it against known plants. They took the request as gospel and if it said a toxin was insignificant – they did not even examine that statement to see if it was scientifically true. The toxicologist testifying stated he did not model any of a long list of emitted toxic chemicals that are known to come from coal plants submitted by the lawyer for the MCC as they were not listed by TENANSKA as health hazards. The CO2 expert stated he modeled his findings on the use of 506 Tons of coal per hour. He also only modeled his findings on the boiler alone – not the whole plant. He expects CO2 to be a regulated pollutant by 1 January 2011. TENASKA is trying very hard to get their permit approved before that happens.Second day – TEQC toxicologist Mr. Son Lee admitted that he only reviewed information submitted by TENASKA and did no independent selection of emissions. He said he was not expected to determine what toxins come from where – only to evaluate toxins listed by applicant. This means that TEQC has tunnel vision on these studies and is not really protecting the public from all toxins as the applicant could leave bad ones off the list. He stated “it is not my job to check any other possible emissions.” However, when reminded by the MCC lawyer that the State of Texas Statutes do require TEQC to evaluate all constituents of all emissions, he admitted they only do those listed by the applicant. The rest of the week went basically the same way. It was pointed out several times that the amounts listed in this permit were higher than those in other permits submitted in other states by TENASKA but TENASKA failed to volunteer to change the standards TECQ failed to require them to amend the requested permit.