SEED Coalition,
Sustainable Energy and Economic Development

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Spotlight on San Antonio

CPS City Public Service is Addicted to Coal!

CPS has a problem. Their dependence on the "rock" has hurt them, their families, and all of San Antonio…

They just want more, more, more… including a new 750 MW coal plant. But its not too late. Recovery is possible! Help CPS kick the coal habit and find alternatives to the dirty coal that threatens our health. CPS’ coal dependence could lead to dirtier air, a $1 billion coal plant boondoggle, and huge bills for San Antonio residents unless something is done… now.

CPS needs to begin a 12-step recovery plan and detoxify its power supply:

  1. CPS is dependent on coal, and must face the problem. A 180-day moratorium on applying for a permit a new coal plant should be put in place to fully research healthier options for meeting future energy needs and how to detoxify the power supply.
  2. Protect consumer’s pocketbooks. High rates are due to fuel costs, an ongoing expense with coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power.
  3. Let in a higher Power.There are no fuel costs with energy efficiency or from solar or wind energy. 1000 MW of wind energy is available now, from turbines that have already been built.
    The construction of additional transmission lines for this affordable energy has just been approved by the legislature.
  4. Do energy efficiency programs first. Include low-interest loans and rebates for more efficient air conditioners and lighting in homes and businesses- which could prevent the need for a new power plant – and cost 4-6 times less. Energy efficiency means more comfort in homes and businesses through the use of better air conditioning and insulation. Austin Energy shaved 500 MW of peak demand and their average home energy is 14% less than in San Antonio due to energy efficiency.
  5. Don’t add More Fuel to the Fire. CPS bills are going up by 30%, but they should and could come back down. If fuel costs are the problem, its time to avoid fuel costs altogether. Enact energy efficiency programs will lower bills for consumers, that include air conditioning, weatherization and appliance rebates and loans.
  6. Build on Success. Adopt greenbuilding measures like those in Frisco, Texas, where homes use 30% less energy than the state average, and homeowners save $436 every year in utility bills, while living in comfort. If they put the money saved each year into paying off their mortgage – it can cut the payments short by 2 years – an valued of $31,000!
  7. Avoid costly boondoggles. CPS estimates that a new 750 MW plant could cost $750 million. However, it is likely that the plant would cost over $1 billion, which would considerably impact consumer utility bills.
  8. Stop harming citizens. In San Antonio, 93 people die premature deaths each year from particle pollution from coal-burning power plants. 1,700 asthma attacks are due to this pollution as well. A community survey in Southeast San Antonio found that 23% of the homes had one or more family members with asthma – and often they were children. The 50% reduction in NOx pollution at Deely is of little use if it is replaced by more pollution from a new plant! Power plants in Dallas and Houston have to reduce NOx by 80%, so why not more significant clean up in San Antonio?
  9. Clean up their act. The existing power plants at Calaveras Lake contribute 64% (almost 2/3) of San Antonio’s industrial smog-forming pollution – NOx- or nitrogen oxides. CPS is a major contributor to ozone. Ozone exceedances have been frequent so far this year. San Antonio is already struggling with dirty air. It will be nearly impossible to meet San Antonio’s clean air goals – the State Implementation Plan or SIP – if a new coal plant is built. CPS says they will meet 1997 levels of pollution even with a new plant – but that year had very high levels. In 2000, CPS emitted 40,000 pounds of criteria pollutants, but in 1997 they emitted more – 51,000 pounds!
  10. Quit Using a Toxin that Harms the Brain. Every year 646 pounds of toxic mercury are released from Calaveras Lake power plants- "Dirty Deely" and Spruce. Mercury contaminates fish, making them unsafe to eat, and posing risks for brain damage and learning disabilities in exposed children. No mercury reductions are planned for existing plants and a new plant would drastically add to mercury pollution. Texas is already #1 in the nation for power plant mercury with over 1300 pounds/year. Texas has mercury advisories for 12 bodies of water, including the entire Gulf of Mexico for kingfish mackerel. Fish in the San Antonio river exceed EPA mercury guidelines.
  11. Quit blowing smoke. CPS must end their chronic "smoke" violations. " Dirty Deely" had over 6000 opacity violations in just 3 recent years. Smoke particles harm our health, carrying toxic compounds with them deep into our lungs.
  12. Protect San Antonio’s economy and be accountable to the public. Dallas has poor air quality and lost both Toyota and Boeing as a result. Clean air means more jobs and a healthier economy. Increase public accessibility of the board. Explain to all of San Antonio why power for 470,000 homes is needed if the projected growth is 400,000 people in 20 years, including children. Come clean about how much a new coal plant will cost – and how much pollution it would produce, information that has not been made publicly available!

CPS should stop burning the rock – now!

  • No more new coal plants. It’s time to quit- cold turkey.
  • Adopt a moratorium on new coal plants.
  • Plan instead for a healthier, more economically sound, clean energy future including renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Clean up existing plants to the same standards now being used Dallas and Houston- 80% NOx reductions, not just 50%!

Congressmen Ciro Rodriguez (924-7383) and Charlie Gonzalez (472-6195) should support the Clean Smokestacks Act, which would clean up existing plants, including Deely and Spruce. It calls for-

  • 75% NOx reduction (smog-forming compounds)
  • 75% SOx reduction (acid rain, particle pollution)
  • CO2 – Greenhouse gas, back to 1990 levels
  • Mercury- 90% reduction at all sources


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