20 October 2006 — TXU’s request for an extension to build the first of nine proposed coal-fired plants in Texas was denied by federal judge yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks would not allow TXU to pay a fine in order to take more time to complete construction of the 600-MW plant, according to Reuters news agency.
A Texas aluminum maker, Alcoa Inc., settled a lawsuit with environmental groups to shut down its aging coal-fired unit in Rockdale, Texas, and construct a new, cleaner one by 2007. TXU has said it cannot complete the plant by that deadline and has asked for an extension until March of 2009. The Sandow 5 plant was supposed to be the first coal-fired plant to be completed in TXU’s previously announced plans to build nine coal-fired across the state.
Environmental groups have protested against allowing TXU to delay the new power plant coming online beyond the 2007 deadline, sticking to the settlement agreed to by Alcoa.
The groups, which include Environmental Defense and Public Citizen, are seeking to force TXU to attain a new permit for the plant that would include stricter emissions standards than currently required.
TXU has faced increased opposition to its $10 billion plan to build coal-fired plants across Texas. In August, TXU received a negative ruling from two administrative law judges who recommended the denial of TXU’s application for an air permit to build a 1,600-MW Oak Grove coal plant. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will make the final ruling on the permit.