Enviros score major win in Texas coal-plant fight

Texas Governor Rick Perry tried to pull a fast one on Texans this year as he fast-tracked the permitting process of 11 new coal-fired power plants proposed by energy giant TXU.

But now it seems Perry may not have been within the bounds of his power.

"... a state district judge ruled Gov. Rick Perry overstepped his authority by ordering the State Office of Administrative Hearings to speed up the hearings process by which citizens can challenge state permits. State District Judge Stephen Yelenosky's Tuesday ruling directed the judges to consider delaying the hearings," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Shortly following the ruling, a group of state judges decided to delay the hearings four months -- good news for the coalition of environmentalists, business people, mayors, and local residents who are opposing the project.

The coal plants would emit 78 million tons of CO2 per year -- larger than the total greenhouse gas emissions of countries such as Ireland and Sweden; more than 80 percent of the UK's pledged reduction of GHG under the Kyoto treaty; and the equivalent of putting 14 million new cars on the road.

The Austin American-Statesmen's editorial said the "the state will be better off for" the decision -- arguing that four more months of weighing the pros and cons of this proposal could only be helpful to Texans.

They're right. But a stumbling block for dirty energy is a win not just for Texans, but for the rest of us who are hoping to breathe clean air and work for energy solutions that address the reality of global warming.

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