Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

Astrology: ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the coming weeks it will be important for you to bestow blessings and disseminate gifts and dole out helpful... By Rob Brezsny 8/27/2014

Best Indian Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Savage Love: Working Out the Kinks

Savage Love: Working Out the Kinks

Arts & Culture: My boyfriend of two years cannot climax or maintain an erection unless his testicles are handled, squeezed, pulled, or pressed on... By Dan Savage 8/27/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Lone Star Green

‘Clean’ coal sticks its snout under San Antonio’s tent

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

In the slow-motion planetary train wreck that is fossil-fuel-derived climate disruption — whether you call it global warming, global ‘weirding,’ or a worldwide conspiracy of the labcoat class — no one factor ranks higher in the blame game than coal. Once burned, the dark rock we level mountains for releases a range of poisonous substances, including brain-addling mercury, lung-damaging sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, airborne radioactive materials, and loads of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as the normally benevolent carbon dioxide.

Coal is killing us in the here and now and destabilizing the planet’s natural processes to such a degree that our survival as a species has become not an infrequent subject of scientific papers. And no state gets more of its electricity from coal than Texas.

Yet last month, San Antonio-owned CPS Energy became the first utility in the nation to make the prescient business decision to close our oldest coal-fired power plant rather than invest in costly pollution-reduction equipment. The fact that the utility promised to install these scrubbers on the J.T. Deely power plant years ago to sidestep a fight with environmentalists over a newer (and cleaner) Spruce Two coal plant now up and running is something regional enviros are willing to forgive and forget. After all, the injection of an expected half-billion in new equipment now would virtually guarantee the plant would be run until the bolts burst, if possible. Good luck getting rate hikes for that.

The Deely announcement was followed by a pledge from Mayor Julián Castro to turn San Antonio into the nation’s epicenter of clean-energy development. Those twin messages were echoing last week when CPS announced it is seeking up to 400 megawatts of solar power. The game here has clearly shifted.

And yet Big Coal is still waging war in the state.

Several new coal plants are lurching toward realization. While none would be as bad as ’70s-era “Dirty” Deely, an expanded Coleto Creek Power Station a couple hours downriver could soon start spewing several hundred tons of sulfur dioxide per year. Beyond that, Las Brisas, a proposed petroleum coke power plant, would emit more than 60 pounds of mercury annually. And White Stallion in Matagorda County wouldn’t be doing any favors for the already heavily polluted Houston area, a prime suspect in the smog that so often envelopes San Antonio.

Even as we celebrate the decision to close Deely by 2018, the EPA’s transport rule announced last week targeting coal plants in Texas and 27 other states suggests there wasn’t much of a choice to be made. The plant blamed for 14 premature deaths, 21 heart attacks, and 280 asthma attacks every year, according to a report commissioned by the nonprofit advocacy group Clean Air Task Force, simply has to go. Of course, every year that ticks by adds to the death toll — both in terms of heart attacks as well as the gathering storm that is climate disruption, forecasts for which suggest this year’s punishing drought and record-breaking temps are just a foretaste.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus