Dallas leaders speak out for Clean Power Plan, action on global warming

Media Contacts

Environment Texas

DALLAS – Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, philanthropist Trammell Crow and other DFW-area leaders joined together on Thursday to endorse the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan as critical to tackling global warming, reducing health damaging air pollution, and promoting investment in clean energy. The rule requires Texas power plants to reduce carbon emissions approximately 34% by 2030.

“Aggressive expansion of clean energy, conservation, and a move away from coal fired power plants will help us not only to meet these goals but to clean our air here in North Texas,” said Judge Jenkins. 

The group said Texas is well-positioned to meet its limits with increased development of clean energy, for which it has vast potential. Texas is already the nation’s biggest wind energy producer, with more than twice as much as any state. And with the price of solar power dropping dramatically, electric grid operator ERCOT predicts solar energy will grow almost 4,000 percent in the next 14 years. According to research by Environment Texas solar power could easily meet more than half of the Clean Power Plan targets, and the state could generate enough energy from wind to power 17.5 million homes by 2030, reducing as much carbon pollution as 36 coal plants dump each year.

“I come at this issue from a business perspective,” said Earth Day Texas founder Trammell Crow. “We know global warming is costing us a whole heck of a lot of money. Extreme weather puts trillions of dollars of assets at risk. We also know that, with Texas’ vast clean energy resources, solving the climate crisis comes with great business opportunity.”

Heat waves, extreme flooding, and devastating drought are just a few of the impacts of climate change Texans have already begun to experience. Torrential downpours and flooding, a result of the wettest May in Texas history, cost the lives of more than 20 Texans and made hundreds more homeless. Scientists predict that without drastic cuts in global warming emissions, these effects will become catastrophic.

The Clean Power Plan is also expected to bring public health benefits, since cutting power plant pollution also reduces soot, smog, and other harmful pollutants that are responsible for respiratory illness and even premature deaths. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Clean Power Plan will save as many as 3,600 lives and prevent up to 90,000 asthma attacks each year. According to a 2014 study by scientists from Harvard, Syracuse, and Boston Universities on the health “co-benefits” of reducing carbon pollution, strong limits on carbon pollution, similar to those in the Clean Power Plan, would prevent 2300 deaths in Texas between 2020 and 2030.
63 percent of Texans support setting “strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants,” according to a recent Yale University poll. More than 240,711 comments from Texans were among the 8 million submitted across the country in favor of the plan.

“Texans never shy from a challenge, and stopping global warming might be our greatest challenge yet, but with vast solar and wind energy resources at the ready, we can help lead the world to a cleaner, safer future,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Don’t believe the hype of Governor Abbott and the coal companies – the Clean Power Plan is great news for Texas.”

The group also highlighted a new EPA proposal to curb methane emissions from oil and gas drilling as another important move toward reining in climate change.