Providing safe and reliable low-cost energy to Matagoda County

White Stallion Energy Center – Announces New Technology Change

final air permit

White Stallion Energy Center – “Announces New Technology Change” is available now as a downloadable PDF. Click here to download the PDF.

White Stallion Energy Center – Receives Corps of Engineers Permit

Corps of Engineers Permit

White Stallion Energy Center – “Receives Corps of Engineers Permit” is available now as a downloadable PDF. Click here to download the PDF.

White Stallion Energy Center – Final Air Permit

final air permit

White Stallion Energy Center – Final Air Permit is available now as a downloadable PDF. Click here to download the PDF.

White Stallion Energy Center Names Rikki Stanley Director of Local Development

Effective October 1, 2010, Rikki Stanley has joined White Stallion Energy Center as Director of Local Development. Rikki is a native of Bay City and has been a longtime advocate for progress in Matagorda County. In his role with White Stallion Energy Center, Rikki will be responsible for White Stallion Energy Center’s local involvement, a liaison between community political officials and White Stallion, and public relations. Rikki’s experience includes serving in the United States Marine Corps for two years. In addition, he has deep experience in sales and marketing, having worked extensively in the ceramic tile industry. Rikki is also the owner of Stanley-Fisher Bed & Breakfast in Matagorda, which is listed as a Texas Historic Landmark.

“We are very pleased to have our first Matagorda County employee on board. Rikki has been active in the community for many years and will bring a wealth of local knowledge and respect to the White Stallion team,” stated Randy Bird, Chief Operating Officer.

Rikki Stanley added, “White Stallion is good for this county, and the people of this region. We will be able to add 2,000 temporary and 200 permanent jobs, and increase our tax base, which will enhance our school districts and hospital districts, all the while protecting our environmental concerns. I’m proud to be a part of this landmark initiative.”

Rikki can be reached at rstanley@whitestallionenergycenter.com or via his phone: (979) 323-3967 or cell (979) 476-0973.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Issues Air Quality Permit for White Stallion Energy Center

On September 29, 2010, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued the air quality permit for the White Stallion Energy Center. The decision culminated a two-year process that began even before White Stallion filed its extensive permit application in September of 2008.

After technical review and approval by the TCEQ Executive Director in February 2009, which included several opportunities for public review and comment, White Stallion asked the Commission to send its application to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for an additional review process—a contested case hearing by Administrative Law Judges. That hearing process, much like a trial proceeding, allows the parties to the case to present and cross-examine witnesses under oath, and present information in accordance with legal rules governing proper evidence. Several national groups, including the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund, intervened in that case through legal counsel, along with a locally organized group called No Coal Coalition. After conclusion of that hearing process in February and substantial legal briefing, the assigned Judges issues their proposal for decision in July 2010. At its September 29 hearing, the TCEQ Commissioners voted 3-0 to issue the permit, in the process addressing and ultimately dismissing the minor objections identified by the Administrative Law Judges. The decision means that the permit as recommended by the TCEQ Executive Director will be issued, with a few limits on “particulate matter” emissions slightly tightened to reflect marginal improvements in emission rate guarantees.

Among the conclusions resulting from this process are the following, as expressed in the order approved by the Commission:

  • [Sierra Club’s] photochemical modeling analysis determined that the maximum incremental impact attributable to the WSEC’s emissions at any regulatory monitor in the Houston area was 0.074 ppb, which would be undetectable….The WSEC’s emissions will not cause or contribute to an exceedance of the ozone NAAQS.
  • The WSEC’s emissions will not cause or contribute to air pollution in violation of any NAAQS in any air quality control region, or any applicable maximum allowable increase over the baseline concentration in any area.
  • The WSEC will utilize [Maximum Achievable Control Technology] to control emissions from the CFB boilers.
  • White Stallion has made all demonstrations required under applicable statutes and regulations…to be issued an air quality permit with PSD review.

Synopsis of SOAH Judges’ Letter Regarding Exceptions to the Proposal for Decision

On August 11, 2010, the two Administrative Law Judges with the State Office of Administrative Hearings who presided over the contested case hearing held last February on White Stallion’s application to the TCEQ for an air permit issued a letter responding to the parties’ “exceptions” to the Judges’ July 2, 2010, Proposal for Decision. “Exceptions” are post-PFD briefings in which the parties present any arguments on perceived errors in the PFD. They are filed with both the Judges and the 3-member TCEQ Commission. It is common for SOAH Judges to issue a letter in response to the parties’ exceptions, explaining to the Commission whether any changes to the hundreds of Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in the proposed order accompanying the PFD should be made.

Because the Judges’ had resolved most contested issues in White Stallion’s favor in their PFD, the exceptions filed by protesting parties Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund were numerous and wide-ranging. But in their August 11, 2010, letter, the Judges explained that they were not recommending any changes to the PFD in response to any of the protesting parties’ arguments.

White Stallion also filed some exceptions, explaining why none of the Judges’ three stated reservations were reasons to withhold permit issuance. Those three reservations pertained to (1) White Stallion’s use of TCEQ-published monitoring data in conducting the TCEQ-prescribed ozone analysis, (2) TCEQ Staff’s decision to not require during technical review of the application an analysis of a pollutant (coal dust) that was fully evaluated by two toxicologists at hearing, and (3) a question in the Judges’ mind about which hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride permit limits mentioned in the evidentiary record were the correct ones. In their August 11, 2010, letter, the Judges agreed that all of White Stallion’s recommended changes to their proposed order concerning the ozone issue be made, and that White Stallion had satisfactorily explained that it would meet the lower of the two sets of HCl and HF permit limits discussed in the record.

Regarding the second issue, involving the adequacy of TCEQ Staff’s technical review as it pertained to coal dust, the Judges agreed that many of White Stallion’s suggested changes to their proposed order be made to more properly reflect the record evidence, but they did not agree with all of White Stallion’s proposed changes on this issue. White Stallion remains confident that the Commissioners will properly appreciate the Judges’ lone remaining reservation as a slight misunderstanding of TCEQ’s requirements for permit issuance when they consider SOAH’s PFD, as well as the exceptions filed by the parties and the Judges’ letter response, at a regularly scheduled public meeting on a date to be determined and deliberate and vote on whether the air permit should be issued.

Click here to download the PDF version.

Your Guide to White Stallion Energy Center (Downloadable Brochure)

Your Guide To White Stallion Energy Center – Generating Clean Energy For Texas’ Future is available now as a downloadable PDF. Click here to download the PDF.

State Adjudicatory Panel Finds That White Stallion Will Use Most Stringent Emissions Controls And Will Not Cause Ozone Exceedances In Houston, Makes Other Key Findings

On July 2, 2010, two Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH”) issued their Proposal for Decision (“PFD”) in a contested case hearing on White Stallion’s pending application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) for an air permit authorizing construction of the White Stallion Energy Center (“WSEC”), a new 1,200 net megawatt electricity generating facility to be built in Matagorda County, Texas. The PFD rejects all of the arguments made by the protesting parties’ expert witnesses, and contains hundreds of findings and conclusions, the overwhelming majority of which are in favor of permit issuance.

In the contested case hearing, Sierra Club/No Coal Coalition and Environmental Defense Fund offered voluminous testimony from two expert witnesses who argued that the WSEC’s proposed design was deficient from an emissions control perspective. The PFD, however, definitively concludes that “WSEC will use the most stringent emissions control technology.”

Sierra Club/No Coal Coalition also attempted to prove through its proffered ozone modeling expert that White Stallion’s emissions would worsen ambient ozone concentrations in the Houston area. But, after evaluating the Sierra Club/No Coal Coalition expert’s analysis, the PFD recommends a finding that “WSEC would not cause or contribute to an exceedance of a NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standard] in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria nonattainment area.” The PFD further rejects the criticisms of White Stallion’s air dispersion modeling analysis leveled by the expert witness proffered by the Environmental Defense Fund.

The PFD resolves other key issues in White Stallion’s favor. Regarding mercury emissions, the PFD concludes, “[n]o adverse health or welfare effects will result from any emissions of mercury from WSEC.” With respect to the emissions monitoring provisions of the Draft Permit prepared by the TCEQ the PFD concludes, “[t]he methods for measuring emissions from WSEC required by the Draft Permit are adequate to assure compliance with the permit conditions and emissions limitations.” The PFD further finds that the Draft “prescribes requirements for demonstrating initial and ongoing compliance with all applicable requirements of the permit and of the Texas Clean Air Act,” and that the WSEC, “[a]s designed, is expected to comply with the terms of the Draft Permit.” The ALJs’ few reservations result from a slight and easily corrected misunderstanding of TCEQ requirements for permit issuance, as conveyed not only by White Stallion but by the testimony of the TCEQ’s own experts.

Parties to the hearing will have the opportunity to correct any errors made by the ALJs before their proposal is considered by the three TCEQ Commissioners by filing “exceptions” to the PFD. By recent order of the Commission’s General Counsel, the exceptions are due on July 26, 2010, with responses due on August 6, 2010. White Stallion certainly will use that opportunity to correct the very few mistakes that the judges made in considering the volumes of evidence before them. The Commissioners will then consider SOAH’s PFD, as well as the additional briefing from the parties, at a regularly scheduled public meeting on a date to be determined and deliberate and vote on whether the air permit should be issued.

SOAH Administrative Law Judges Issue Proposal for Decision on Air Permit Application

On July 2, 2010, two Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH”) issued their Proposal for Decision (“PFD”) in a contested case hearing on White Stallion’s pending application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) for an air permit authorizing construction of the White Stallion Energy Center (“WSEC”). The PFD represents a significant milestone in a process that began in Spring, 2009, when TCEQ, at White Stallion’s request, direct-referred the application to SOAH for a hearing on whether it complies with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Participants in the hearing, held in February of this year, included White Stallion, TCEQ’s Office of Public Interest Counsel, Sierra Club, No Coal Coalition, Environmental Defense Fund, and TCEQ’s Executive Director, who had previously announced his preliminary determination that the application should be granted.

In the PFD, the ALJs discuss and evaluate the expert testimony and other evidence presented at the hearing, and make comprehensive Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on all contested issues. The overwhelming majority of the PFD’s hundreds of Findings and Conclusions, which include a Finding that the “WSEC will utilize the most stringent emissions control technology,” are in favor of permit issuance. The ALJs’ few reservations result from a slight and easily corrected misunderstanding of Commission requirements for permit issuance, as conveyed not only by White Stallion but by the testimony of the TCEQ’s own experts.

TCEQ’s decision-making process, fortunately, is extremely thorough, allowing each party the opportunity to correct any errors made by the ALJs before their proposal is considered by the Commission by filing “exceptions” to the PFD. The exceptions are due on July 22, 2010, with responses due on August 2, 2010. White Stallion certainly will use that opportunity to correct the very few mistakes that the judges made in considering the volumes of evidence before them. The three TCEQ Commissioners will then consider SOAH’s PFD, as well as the additional briefing from the parties, at a regularly scheduled public meeting on a date to be determined and deliberate and vote on whether the air permit should be issued.

Generating Clean Energy for Texas’ Future (Downloadable Brochure)

An overview of the White Stallion Energy Center is available now as a downloadable brochure. Click here to download the PDF.