Dos Republicas Coal Partnership’s Eagle Pass permit will allow it to mine coal in the border town and then transport it to Mexico to fuel coal-fired power plants 20 miles from the US border.
Mexico has fewer restrictions on coal power plants relative to the heavy Environmental Protection Agency regulation of US coal power plants, making Mexico a lucrative market for southern US coal mines.
The Eagle Pass permit will facilitate 40 permanent jobs in mine staff positions and up to 200 area workforce jobs, according to Pete Nielsen, who testified before the Railroad Commission on behalf of the Dos Republicas Coal Partnership.
Environmentalists are concerned that pollutants from the power plant will cross the border and affect Texan residents but Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye told Environment & Climate News that the issue had already been examined.
“After reviewing extensive testimony and evidence regarding hydrologic, geologic, environmental, water resource, fish and wildlife, air quality and reclamation data and plans presented during 19 days of hearing by 36 witnesses, the commission approved on a 2:1 vote … the application,” Nye said.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman provided Environment & Climate News with a copy of the commission’s approval, which explains the actions the commission will take to safeguard local health and the environment, including the monitoring of emissions.