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Dallas doctors seek pollution controls at East Texas coal plants

The Dallas County Medical Society is asking the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to force three East Texas coal-fired power plants to cut emissions that it says contribute to higher ozone levels in the region. The physicians group in a petition to TCEQ cites a recent study that says the plants, all owned by Dallas-based Luminant Generation, produce an outsize share of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), as well as mercury emissions, compared to newer generators of similar output. The plants and their locations are: Big Brown, near Fairfield southeast of Corsicana; Martin Lake, near Longview; and Monticello, near Mount Pleasant. The medical society and Texas Medical Association sponsored the study, by Rice University's Daniel Cohan, and plan a 2 p.m. news conference Wednesday. 

"The Cohan Report identified these three very old coal-fired power plants south and east of Dallas, built in the 1970s, that have never been required to meet current emission limits and which contribute disproportionately to ozone levels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," Dr. Cynthia Sherry, president of the Dallas County Medical Society, said in a prepared release. Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, is already in court with the Environmental Protection Agency over pollution control requirements at the Big Brown and Martin Lake plants. The U.S. Justice Department on Aug. 17 filed a lawsuit in support of the EPA's position that the plants have made changes that trigger requirements for new permits and additional emissions controls. Luminant said at the time it has "complied with all requirements of the Clean Air Act for these two plants and our other generation facilities."

-- Jim Fuquay



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