This year, Air Alliance Houston launched our #ShutDownParish campaign, and we’re proud of everything we’ve achieved together!
W.A. Parish is NRG Energy’s dirtiest coal plant, and it is located in Fort Bend County, just outside of Houston. W.A. Parish has continuously failed during key natural disasters and has polluted the air for decades— resulting in approximately 180 premature deaths a year. This past year was just as dirty:
In May 2022, a fire at the Parish facility closed Coal Unit 8 at least until late 2023, removing more than 600 MW from the grid all summer and leaving community concerned for the record breaking summer heat set to occur a few weeks later. The 2022 Texas heat wave set 11 new electricity demand records, raising questions among the community about the reliability of the plant. In September 2022, a chemical exposure at Parish endangered 100 employees, and left six hospitalized.
Recognizing the repeated failures and the public health threat of W.A. Parish, our community-led campaign mobilized into action with door-to-door canvassing events.
Our first canvass in June helped turn out over 50 people to an EPA Listening Session where community had a seat at the table with the EPA to discuss ideas for limiting power plant pollution and receive answers to their questions in real time.
Our second successful canvass of the year occurred during the Halloween weekend! Targeting W.A. Parish, the scariest monster of all, we welcomed 12 new volunteers, knocked on over 100 doors, and shared crucial information with those nearest to the plant.
Community outreach and education on W.A. Parish is our top priority. In addition to canvassing events, we organized two social media campaigns focused on increasing the awareness of the plant’s unreliability and the effects of its air pollution, which extends beyond Fort Bend County. Did we mention that W.A. Parish is the fourth largest polluting power plant in the country?
#ShutDownParish is for community, and by community. We are honored to have the support of partners like Fort Bend Houston Environmental, Fort Bend CAN, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Mi Familia Vota, and Environment Texas. It is with their help that we organized these community outreach efforts.
It’s clear that W.A. Parish is a danger to public health, and NRG Energy needs to take responsibility for the plant and decommission it. With the lack of air monitors in the area, NRG Energy has lacked transparency, keeping the public health threat that is the W.A. Parish coal plant under wraps. Our aim is to make information on Parish accessible to everyone and to protect community from toxic pollution and chemical disasters. Texans deserve clean air and water, and NRG should be leading the way on alternatives, such as battery storage and renewable energy, for our region.
Our work on closing the W.A. Parish coal plant is just beginning. At our most recent tabling event at the Farmers Market at Imperial in Sugar Land, the team acquired over 25 signatures on our petition addressed to NRG demanding clean air and water for everyone. You can sign the petition here to show your support – the petition will be shared with NRG and Fort Bend elected officials.
As we close out the year, Air Alliance Houston is proud to lead a W.A. Parish Community Working Group, previously led by Steve Brown, where we strategize to close the plant. The Working Group meets bi-weekly on Thursdays– our next meeting is on January 5th, 2023. We would love for you to join us in the new year as we continue to build the movement! Follow us on Instagram @ShutDownParish to stay in the know!