Coal plants an environmental boon?

coalplant’Former Texas regulator Kathleen Hartnett White’s commentary in today’s Opinion pages in support of the Holcomb coal-plant expansion deserves some response.

She would have approved the plant, she argues, because it “complied with all applicable legal requirements.” But Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby’s decision was based on his legal authority, upheld by a Kansas attorney general opinion, to intervene to protect Kansans’ health.

She also makes misleading, unsupported assertions on science, claiming that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change portrays global warming as an “uncertain, remote, gradual risk with impacts predicted in 100 years or more.”

To the contrary, the panel’s study is unequivocal on the high risks of warming, the environmental damage already under way, and the urgency of controlling carbon and greenhouse gases now.
A further note: White left her position last year under a storm of criticism. The Dallas Morning News said in a scathing editorial: “She has been an apologist for polluters, consistently siding with business interests instead of protecting public health. Ms. White worked to set a low bar as she lobbied for lax ozone standards and pushed through an inadequate anti-pollution plan. She also voted to approve TXU’s pollution-intensive Oak Grove coal units, ignoring evidence that emissions from the lignite plant could thwart North Texas’ efforts to meet air quality standards.”