Close Parish Coal coalition applauds EPA actions to cut toxic power plant pollution

Close Parish Coal coalition applauds EPA actions to cut toxic power plant pollution
New rules are a victory for the public health of the Fort Bend community

Fort Bend, TX – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized yesterday a suite of federal protections that will reduce greenhouse gasses and other air, water, and land pollution from coal-fired power plants. These critical safeguards will improve the air and water quality throughout the Houston region but especially in the Fort Bend community, home to NRG Energy’s W.A. Parish power plant—one of the nation’s largest and most polluting coal facilities. The emissions from W.A. Parish have been directly linked to approximately 178 premature deaths annually, making these protections all the more urgent. 

The Close Parish Coal (CPC) coalition applauds this action by the EPA, which is a testament to years of community advocacy. The EPA’s standards will require the Parish coal plant to implement improved Particulate Matter (PM) reduction technology. PM pollution is associated with a range of health risks, including asthma, cancer, heart and lung ailments, and neurological problems. Additionally, the Parish plant will face stricter rules addressing water pollution and coal ash contamination.

In response to the EPA’s announcement, CPC coalition members and community partners issued the following statements:

“I am excited that the EPA recognizes how coal plant emissions and coal ash have impacted our air, water, land and health over the years. The passing of these new power plant regulations represents a groundbreaking and much-needed step forward for our communities in protecting our environment amidst the climate crisis. I am hopeful for further proactive action from the EPA.”

  • Donna Thomas, Fort Bend County Resident and President, Fort Bend County Environmental Organization (FBCEO)

“I am beyond thrilled for what these EPA rulings mean for the Fort Bend community. These rulings are a  testament to the power of community and show what we can accomplish when policy and the public convene. I am optimistic for Fort Bend and what this means for the homes, schools, and neighborhoods surrounding the W.A. Parish coal plant. Fort Bend and Houstonians have too long endured the unnecessary exposure and pollution from W.A. Parish and I hope all affected facilities quickly comply to the EPA’s rulings.”

  • Haley Schulz, Fort Bend County Resident

“While we applaud and welcome the EPA’s current actions regarding coal plant pollution emissions and coal ash impact on the air we breathe, there is a lot more that needs to be done to safeguard the health and safety of our community. There are no state or federally regulated air monitors in Fort Bend County and the state has filed a lawsuit to block the EPA’s new federal air quality standards. If we want to see enforcement of these new policies and more policies that give us a healthy future for our families and future generations, we need to be actively engaged citizens and hold our Texas officials accountable.”

  • Lydia Ozuna, Fort Bend County Resident and President, Texans Against Gerrymandering

“We are grateful to the EPA for taking bold action to protect families from the most dangerous coal plant in Texas. Currently, the community is paying for W.A. Parish with their lives while NRG delivers severe health impacts from pollution, blackouts during disasters, and rising energy bills in return. Together with other rules, we could save upwards of 13 billion dollars in health costs across the nation— this is an investment in community. The measures taken by the EPA will greatly reduce the risks posed by coal plants for frontline communities in Fort Bend while we await a retirement date for Parish.”

  • Alondra Torres, Climate Justice Coordinator, Air Alliance Houston (AAH)

“This is a huge milestone forward as Texans continue advocating for safe and clean air to breathe and water to drink, no matter the color of our skin or where we live. It’s time for the TCEQ and the State of Texas to protect people from the corporations that pollute our communities. It’s time to Close the W.A. Parish Coal Plant. We deserve reliable clean energy that doesn’t damage our health and our future on this planet. Join our coalition, register to vote, talk to your neighbors, and ask candidates running for congress and state offices what they’re going to do to protect us and #CloseParishCoal.”

  • Marla López, Texas Communications Manager, Mi Familia en Acción


Contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, [email protected], 713 589 7079

About Close Parish Coal: Close Parish Coal is committed to bringing attention to the health and environmental impact of NRG Energy’s W.A. Parish coal plant. Close Parish Coal strives to create a healthier and safer Fort Bend County and Greater Houston area through supporting community-led action that advocates for the closure of the coal units at Parish. Coalition members include Fort Bend County Environmental; Air Alliance Houston; Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience (CEER); Mi Familia en Acción; Public Citizen; and Sierra Club.

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