Lt. Governor Race: the \'Luchadora\' vs. the Tea Party radio host

Lt. Governor Race: the 'Luchadora' vs. the Tea Party radio host

News: A few Saturdays ago, I spent several hours hanging around a Texas Realtors Association conference in San Antonio, trying to catch state Sen. Dan Patrick... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta 9/17/2014
The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The Permanent Gangsta Status of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

Music: Prodigy, better known to ’90s rap aficionados as the prodigious half of Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep, has made a successful career operating on... By James Courtney 9/17/2014
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
Best Lounge

Best Lounge

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013

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

As our city struggles to stay in compliance with existing federal rules on smog — having made it this far into 2011 only by “our teeth, and our nails,” according to Peter Bella, natural resource director for the 12-county Alamo Area Council of Governments — new coal plants could make all our ride-sharing, efficiency measures, and pollution cuts at area cement plants for naught. And while CPS Energy is digging deep into renewables, they also hope to make up some of those lost Deely megawatts with … another coal plant.

Seattle-based Summit Power’s Texas Clean Energy Project is a new venture into the wilds of “clean” coal. Run right, the air emissions of the coal gasification plant planned for the Odessa area would be minimal, most of the carbon dioxide would be collected and injected in the West Texas oil patch. The group even plans to sell a nitrogen-rich urea byproduct — consider it new-generation coal pee — into the fertilizer market, and build its own desalination plant for its water needs. It is such a different beast that none other than Tom “Smitty” Smith, director for typically coal-adverse Public Citizen’s Texas office, admits his impression is still “pretty schizophrenic.” (“It’s far, far cleaner than any other coal plant in the country,” Smith says. “But it’s still a coal plant.”) Whatever carbon magic can be worked, the ravages of mountaintop-removal coal mining and stream-smothering toxic slurries must still be addressed. And if the CO2 doesn’t stay in the ground, if it leads to earthquakes such as one researcher suggests it will, than it still does nothing to arrest our sprint toward six-degrees (or more) of warming this century.

And yet leaking carbon dioxide doesn’t disturb Texans nearly as much as wasted water. If anything threatens to derail this little coal rush, it’s the EPA from above and water from below. Already, the Lower Colorado River Authority stalled a decision on White Stallion’s application, requesting more information and time to consider it. And Tenaska, another supposedly “clean” coal West Texas venture, is being fought at every turn in its hunt for water. With June entering the record books as Texas’ hottest yet, neighboring New Mexico just suffered through their driest to date. With the link between CO2 and such withering conditions secure, it’s past time the energy behind such water fights carried over into the realm of the greenhouse. •


Greg Harman is the editor of the San Antonio Current. His column Lone Star Green appears monthly.

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