DALLAS, TX The Sierra Club has launched the Beyond TXU campaign in Texas with a new paid media and organizing effort in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including a billboard and online ads reading “Wall Street Runs TXU, We Pay the Price,” pushing Energy Future Holdings and its subsidiaries to take immediate action to clean up its four oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in Texas. The Sierra Club is launching a new consumer education and activism component to its campaign, working to educate Dallas-area residents about their right to switch retail electricity providers, and asking concerned consumers to choose a 100% renewable energy plan when they are able to change plans.
“The Sierra Club is launching the Beyond TXU campaign today to send the message that Energy Future Holdings cannot ignore the serious problems at their coal-fired power plants any longer,,” said Dr. Al Armendariz, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club in Texas. “For years, the Sierra Club and our partners like Public Citizen have been raising the alarm, because Energy Future Holdings’ four big coal plants are the dirtiest in Texas based on the company’s own reporting. As EFH races ahead toward bankruptcy, now is the time for concrete action by the utilities, public health community, and state leaders to phase out the use of dirty coal and replace it with clean energy.”
Energy Future Holdings owns four of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants, which together account for approximately one quarter of all industrial air pollution in Texas. The Big Brown, Martin Lake, Monticello, and Sandow plants are some of the dirtiest plants in the nation, and the Martin Lake coal-fired plant is the single largest industrial source of mercury air pollution in the United States. These plants blow smog-forming pollutants out of their smokestacks and into the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
Dr. Neil Carman with the Sierra Club added, “Dallas has seen a high numbers of days with several that had dangerously high air pollution for children and people with asthma in the last few years.The Energy Future Holdings coal plants blow ozone causing pollution right into the city, and during the hot summer months, spending time outside can trigger asthma attacks and cause serious respiratory problems. Dallas residents have suffered from unhealthy air for too long.”
After Texas Utilities (TXU) was bought out by Wall Street firms in 2007 as part of the nation’s largest-ever leveraged buyout, the new Energy Future Holdings delayed making significant and capital-intensive upgrades and pollution control retrofits at its coal plants. As thousands of wind turbines were installed across Texas, these plants have struggled to compete economically. After years of failing to make the substantial profits envisioned by Wall Street brokers, Energy Future Holdings is struggling, and many financial analysts have predicted the company will enter into bankruptcy proceedings in the near term. The Beyond TXU campaign will work to ensure that the four coal-fired power plants in East and Central Texas are set on a path to retirement as part of any bankruptcy proceeding.
“Within the next few years, homegrown clean energy will replace Energy Future’s coal plants,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, with Public Citizen. “In March of this year, wind provided more than 15% of Texas’s energy needs - half the amount of power coal provides in our state today. As even more cheap wind comes online in the next several years, no one should consider spending more money to keep these plants limping along.”
The Sierra Club billboard images can be seen here and here, and is located between 7524 and 7600 John Carpenter Freeway, Dallas, TX 75247. Information about the campaign can be reviewed at www.beyondtxu.org.