Luminant estimates 500 cuts to meet EPA rule
POSTED: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 8:49am
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 2:45pm
Longview, TX — Unless courts rule in its favor, Luminant energy announced plans Monday to cut some 500 jobs by closing coal-fired power plants in Titus and Freestone counties.
“This would be devastating to the Northeast Texas economy — not just Titus County,” Titus County Chamber of Commerce Director Faustine Curry said of the losses from the regional employer and taxpayer. “In Titus County, we have the power plant, the mines.”
The company said the job losses and plant shutdowns represent its best shot at meeting a January deadline to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
In addition to shutting down two of three units at Luminant’s Monticello plant outside Mount Pleasant, company officials said they plan to stop mining coal at the Thermo and Winfield mines in favor of cleaner-burning coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
Land reclamation work at both mines will continue.
Luminant also announced a lawsuit it filed in federal court to exclude Texas from the cross-state pollution rule and prevent the job losses and plant closures. The rule is designed to attack pollution-causing emissions that travel across state lines, and Texas initially was not included in it among states ordered to comply.
“You hope that the (court) stay will work and things get sorted out to the benefit of all,” Curry said. “I”m sure that (Luminant) wants to try to deal with it with the least amount of pain. ... We have been so fortunate to have Luminant in the community.”
The job cuts will take place in 2012 and 2015, Luminant spokeswoman Ashley Barrie wrote in an email response to questions.
“We estimate 400 jobs will be eliminated by early next year, with the remainder being lost by 2015 once mining reclamation work is complete at the affected mines,” she wrote. “To be clear, this is the plan if we are unsuccessful with our legal actions.”
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