A federal judge ruled Wednesday afternoon that Luminant Generation Company had not violated federal emissions standards at its Big Brown coal-fueled power plant in Freestone County.
The Sierra Club had filed the suit after learning of an alleged 6,000+ times that the plant's emissions had been dirtier than the law allows and hoped to get a ruling that would punish the company.
Instead the judge found that Luminant did not violate the law.
"This is a significant legal victory for our company," Stephanie Zapata Moore, Luminant's vice president and general counsel said. "This decision is a full vindication and demonstrates the integrity of each and every Luminant employee."
"Our employees take pride in being careful stewards of the environment," Luminant CEO Mac McFarland said. "No one has more experience than Luminant in using coal to generate electricity in a way that is conscious of the environment and with an exceptional track record of exemplary environmental compliance."
The Sierra Club has a second suit pending against Luminant's Martin Lake plant in Rusk County. Al Armendariz, spokesperson for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, expressed frustration with the verdict.
"We are deeply disappointed by today's court decision in Sierra Club vs Luminant. As a result, people who live downwind from Luminant's Big Brown plant will continue to suffer from the harmful effects of air pollution the plant produces," he said. "While other coal plants around the country must ensure that safe, modern protections from pollution are installed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality continues to give Big Brown a free pass to pollute Texas communities. The Sierra Club, nevertheless, will continue our efforts to protect Texans from Luminant's pollution."
The suit pending against the Rusk County plant is scheduled to go to trial in May.