Time is of an Essence to Prevent the Reopening of the Gibbons Creek Coal-Powered Plant!

Updated: Aug 18



Time is of an essence to prevent the reopening of the Gibbons Creek Coal-Powered Plant that was previously closed (supposedly for good) in 2018.


Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU), Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) and the City Councils of Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville are in talks to sell the plant to an unnamed Arizona company that touts ‘clean coal.’ We all know there is no such thing as clean coal - even our grade-schoolers know this.


The vote to sell this plant is expected in late August or early September. If the plant sells, the out-of-state company will start burning coal polluting our air and waterways.  If it does not sell, funds that have already been designated in the 2021 budgets of BTU, TMPA, Bryan, Denton, Garland and Greenville will be spent for decommissioning the plant and its structures, along with cleaning up the surrounding land and reservoir.


From all accounts reopening the coal plant will only cause harm; burning coal is bad for our community, our health, the environment and local economy. Bryan, Denton, Garland, Greenville and surrounding areas will not even benefit from more potential energy on the electric power grid since the coal-generated energy will be much too expensive for BTU to buy - TX has many sources of less expensive renewable energy.

It is well known that air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked with asthma, cancer, heart and lung ailments, neurological problems and severe public health impacts. People living near coal-fired power plants have higher death rates and die at earlier ages than people living elsewhere. Even the cleanest coal processing (CO2-capturing) does not eliminate the release of mercury, nitrogen oxide, and other poisonous contaminants into the air. The radioactive material in coal ash, a byproduct of burnt coal, contaminates water ways and groundwater with dangerous radioactive chemicals and toxic heavy metals (selenium, mercury, cadmium and arsenic) that are all associated with cancer, according to the EPA. Data has shown that these chemicals can negatively affect the development of human fetuses. The community cannot risk their health especially during the pandemic.

So, if you agree that the Gibbons Creek Coal-powered plant should not be reopened, you will need to take action right now in order to have an impact on the decision to sell and burn coal or to not sell and clean up the plant, surrounding area and reservoirs.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?


1. Please sign this petition in opposition of reopening Gibbons Creek coal-burning plant.

https://www.change.org/p/bryan-texas-utilities-say-no-to-the-reopening-of-gibbons-creek-coal-plant?

2. Send letters and emails (See letter template below) to BRYAN City Council, Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU), Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA):

I. BRYAN City Council - It is very important to contact the Bryan City Council since selling of the power plant requires approval by the City of Bryan.

The Honorable Mayor Andrew Nelson, anelson@bryantx.gov

Reuben Marin, Single Member District 1, rmarin@bryantx.gov

Prentiss Madison, Single Member District 2, pmadison@bryantx.gov

Greg Owens, Single Member District 3, gowens@bryantx.gov

Mike Southerland, Single Member District 4, msoutherland@bryantx.gov

Brent Hairston, Single Member District 5, bhairston@bryantx.gov

Buppy Simank, Council Member at Large, Place 6, bsimank@bryantx.gov


II. Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU)

Officers

Gary Miller, BTU General Manager

gmiller@btutilities.com

Flynn Adcock, Chairperson

FAdcock@btutilities.com

A. Bentley Nettles, Vice Chairperson

BNettles@btutilities.com

Rosemarie Selman, Secretary

rselman@btutilities.com

Jason Bienski, Ex-Officio to the BTU Board of Directors

jbienski@btutilities.com

Buppy Simank, Ex-Officio to the BTU Board of Directors

(Also member of Bryan City Council)

BSimank@btutilities.com

Members

Carl L. Benner,

CLBenner@btutilities.com

Pete J. Bienski, Jr.

pbienski@btutilities.com

Paul Turney

PTurney@btutilities.com

Paul Madison, Sr.

PMadison@btutilities.com


III. Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA)

P.O. Box 7000

Bryan, TX 77805

936-873-1123

Attention: Tracy Stracener, tstracener@texasmpa.org


TMPA Board of Directors - names are listed below.

Please contact TMPA Board Members via Tracy Stracener, tstracener@texasmpa.org

Tom Jeffeeries, Garland

James B. Ratliff, Garland

Sue Ann Harting, GreenvilleBill Cheek, Denton

Chris Watts, Denton

David Barrington, Bryan

Kean Register, Bryan

========================================================================

Sample letter that you can use.

Dear Ms. Stracener, Ms. Saxby, The Honorable Mayor Nelson, Councilmember .... ,


I am writing this letter in opposition to the upcoming sale and reopening of the Gibbons Creek coal-powered plant. Reopening a coal plant in Gibbons Creek is bad for our community, environment and local economy. The 420-megawatt coal-fired Gibbons Creek power plant, just outside of Bryan/College Station, was closed in October of 2019 for environmental and cost reasons. The community agreed with this decision and has moved to better renewable Texas-sourced energy. The Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) is selling the plant to Frontier Applied Sciences, based in Scottsdale, AZ. This does not benefit the local community nor environment.

It is well known that air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked with asthma, cancer, heart and lung ailments, neurological problems and severe public health impacts. People living near coal-fired power plants have higher death rates and die at earlier ages. Even the cleanest coal processing (CO2-capturing) does not eliminate the release of mercury, nitrogen oxide, and other poisonous contaminants into the air. The radioactive material in coal ash, a byproduct of burnt coal, contaminates water ways and groundwater with dangerous radioactive chemicals and toxic heavy metals (selenium, mercury, cadmium and arsenic) that are all associated with cancer, according to the EPA. The community cannot risk their health especially during the pandemic.

Reopening the Gibbons Creek coal-powered plant is irresponsible and dangerous to the health and well-being of the people of Texas. The people demand this deal be reversed and the Gibbon Creek coal plant to be shut down permanently.


Sincerely,

Your Name

City Of Residence


====================================================================

Talking Points to Add to Your Letter.

Financial

• Coal plants are no longer profitable because of coal’s higher

operational cost. Any idea of reopening the facility as a “clean coal”

plant, as the buyer may be promoting, would be even more expensive

to operate – power from the plant would not be able to compete with

market prices per kW hour.

• BTU wisely voted in favor of permanently closing the Gibbons Creek

plant in October 2019 because it was a financial drain on the BTU

budget to operate even part-time.

• Bryan has replaced coal with less expensive Texas-based energy

sources, including renewables (solar and wind).

• A decision to sell and reopen as a coal plant runs counter to new

utility grid allocations in Texas, including BTU, to transition away from

coal-fired plants for electricity generation.

• The sale and operation of a 35 year-old polluting coal-burning plant

reduces quality of life measures in our region and makes the Brazos

Valley less attractive to potential new residents, new businesses and

clean investors.

• Plant sale is a potential financial liability if the new owner defaults on

the purchase, with cleanup responsibilities reverting to us.

• Funds for cleanup have already been set aside by BTU to proceed

with environmental cleanup, so the sale of plant is not needed to

raise money for our cleanup obligation.

• A more economically sound long-range investment is for us to retain

this high-value asset and repurpose the 6,000 acre site as a

recreational area that will attract residents and visitors to our area, as

well as provide opportunities for small, local businesses to develop

and thrive around the recreational site.

• Reopening a coal plant at Gibbons Creek will only decrease the value

of the 6,000 acre property at a time when BCS is growing toward the

plant.• If the sale goes forward, cleanup liabilities will be transferred to the

new owner, so the property may be sold at a financial loss to

incentivize the buyer to assume cleanup responsibilities.

• Health impacts of coal plant pollution can cause economic harm due

to lost workdays, business reopenings, etc.

• BTU has indicated that we do not need (and will not purchase) power

from the plant, leaving us only with the financial downsides of having

a coal plant operating on our doorstep.


Health

• Negative health impacts have been well-established by the U.S.

National Institutes of Health.

• Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked with asthma,

cancer, heart and lung ailments, neurological problems and severe

public health impacts.

• People living near coal-fired power plants have higher death rates

and die at earlier ages.

• Community health should not be compromised by unneeded power

generation, especially during a respiratory pandemic.

• Particulates from coal-fired plants can cause lung damage that

predispose to COVID susceptibility.

• Particulates from coal-fired plants can serve as physical carriers of

the COVID virus into the respiratory system.

• Ironically, since BTU has said they will not purchase power from the

plant, we are risking health impacts without need for the electricity.


Environment

• If the coal plant reopens, cleanup would likely be delayed since

pollution will continue. Yet, we will pay for the cleanup twice – once

through utility bills to fund the cleanup and again through money lost

in a reduced sale of our property - while running the risk of not having

the property cleaned up (the new owner will be operating a polluting

coal plant so pollution will continue).

• Motivation for the new owner to clean up the site is questionable,

particularly in the new anti-regulatory environment emerging at the

EPA. We should not put our environmental fate in the hands of a private and unvetted out-of-state buyer who’s only concern in our

region is to make money at our expense.

• Coal-fired power plants emit 84 of the 187 hazardous air pollutants

that have been previously identified by the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency.

• Radioactive materials and heavy metals (selenium, mercury,

cadmium and arsenic) in coal ash, a byproduct of burnt coal,

contaminates surface and ground waters. According to the EPA,

these are all associated with cancer when reaching toxic thresholds.

• Water contamination around the site has been documented in the

TMPA’s well-monitoring report published in January 2020. Some of

this contamination was deemed related to coal plant operation, and

corrective actions were recommended.


Citizen Opposition

• There is considerable opposition – at this time we have 2,125 signers

in Texas for the 2 petitions opposing the sale a



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