Environmental groups sue Lower Colorado River Authority

Austin Business Journal

Three anti-pollution groups have accused the Lower Colorado River Authority of committing 10,000 violations against the federal Clean Air Act.

The groups— Environmental Integrity Project, Environment Texas and the Texas Campaign for the Environment— warned the Central Texas provider Thursday that they plan to file a lawsuit for alleged infractions at its coal-fired power plant near LaGrange in Fayette County. Two of the plants three units are partly-owned by Austin Energy.

The lawsuit trails a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to overhaul the state’s Flexible Air Permitting rules, under which the Fayette Power Project and 121 other Texas plants operate. The agency has proposed striking down the rules, saying the violate the Clean Air Act.

“The Fayette power plant is a prime example of an air pollution program that puts polluters ahead of public health,” TCE Director Robin Schneider said.

The groups have delivered a notice of intent to sue to LCRA, saying the company is violating the Act’s “New Source Review” by elevating production without making required pollution control upgrades. The groups also allege LCRA owes the state about $500,000 worth in pollution fees for under-reporting its emissions.