A Giant Texas Utility Buys a $10 Billion Ticket on an Environmental Titanic

Here's one that absolutely takes the cake. With global warming emission limits looking more inevitable every day, a huge Dallas-based utility company known as TXU Corporation has announced plans to spend $10 billion to build 11 new carbon-belching coal-fired power plants around its home state. Coal, of course, is one of the dirtiest energy sources there is. And each of these plants has an expected lifespan of 50 years or more. Which means TXU is committing to put millions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and betting it can get away with it. Business-wise, it's like buying a horse and buggy instead of a hybrid. Climate-wise, it's like buying a ticket on the Titanic after it has already hit the iceberg. Except TXU is buying the ticket for us. And our kids. And our kids' kids. But wait...there's more! Turns out these plants could actually end up knocking cleaner-burning natural gas facilities out of business. And because TXU thinks this crazy plan just might work, it is talking about doubling the number of proposed coal-fired generators and spreading the others around the country. All this from a company that just announced a record billion-dollar quarterly profit, and is under scrutiny by the Texas state legislature for charging state businesses and consumers some of the highest electricity rates in the country. TXU has made token promises to put up a few wind turbines along the way, but nowhere near enough to offset the massive emissions that would come from the coal burners. The company's CEO, John Wilder, has graciously offered to leave room at the plant sites for future pollution controls. Yeah, right. Fortunately, there's still time to stop this madness. Several Texas mayors, the NRDC, and other national and local groups are teaming together to keep Wilder and TXU from succeeding. If there was ever a reason to support environmental groups, this is it.