Proposed Plant Debate Heating Up

02-23-07 Although the 'Clearing the Air' series is finished, opponents to the plant say the fight is far from over. Legislative officials on both sides of the Red River are stepping in to give their input on the proposed plants.

"It affects the world and that's what we have to look at," said Jack Morrison, a rallier from Austin. "It's not just what's next door to you, it's that we all have to work together as a community and the whole world. If we don't work together ten we're all just going to end up hurting each other."

State representative Charles "Doc" Anderson (D-Durant) filed Bill HCR-43, requiring a 180 day moratorium on the TCEQ permitting process. Anderson's office is also working on other state legislation to provide incentives for companies to use the cleanest energy technologies.

"We're all concerned about the rate payers, we're all concerned about stock holders, we're concerned about economic development," Anderson said. "We just want to make sure we have the facts, and the truth."

While TXU employees say their work environment isn't as damaging as some groups make it seem. Opponent groups wear t-shirts depicting a coal-plant worker with a soot-filled face.

"I've worked or TXU for over 20 years and TXU is a company of their word," said Cliff Watson, an employee at the TXU Big Brown plant. "They're going to do what' right for the environment and they're going to do what's right for the state of Texas."

Oklahoma officials are getting involved too. Department of Environmental Quality officials wrote a letter to the State Office of Administrative Hearings, saying they are concerned about emissions blowing from Texas into Oklahoma. There are also concerns about toxicity levels in Lake Texoma.

"We have to come up with a regional solution and not have one state dictate what's best for everyone," said Oklahoma State Senator Jay Paul Gumm (D-Durant).

Members of CORE, a local opposition group, say they'll keep up the fight as long as necessary, with upcoming meetings planned for north Texas.

Texoma residents join residents across the state, waiting for decisions to be made. State officials will decide what's best for the state regarding the balance between energy demands and environmental concerns.