Texas Pollution Apologist Weighs in on Kansas Coal Fight

Texas Pollution Apologist Weighs in on Kansas Coal Fight
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With the final decision on the future of coal-fired power in Kansas now resting on a veto by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, the industry-friendly think tankers are pulling out some pretty desperate rhetoric.

Case in point is this article penned by Kathleen Harnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Harnett White claims that she courageously made the decision to approve the first new coal-fired plant in Texas in 20 years because she was convinced that, “…equipped with groundbreaking emission controls [the new plant], was a net environmental benefit for Texas.”

Harnett White goes on to explain what strange logic one would require to come to the conclusion that a coal-fired generation plant can have a net environmental benefit:

“Lost in the outcry over carbon dioxide are these considerations:

CO2 represents only 5 percent of global greenhouse gas. CO2 added by human activity such as power plants constitutes only 3.4 percent of all CO2.

As predicted by the reigning science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the risk of global warming from human-induced greenhouse gases such as CO2 is an uncertain, remote, gradual risk with impacts predicted in 100 years or more.”

I guess once you ignore the entire body of conventional science around human-induced global warming, it is quite easy to make the leap to coal plants having a net environmental benefit.

As the Wichita Eagle’s Editorial blog rightly states:

She [Harnett White] also makes misleading, unsupported assertions on science, claiming that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change portrays global warming as an ‘uncertain, remote, gradual risk with impacts predicted in 100 years or more.’ To the contrary, the panel’s study is unequivocal on the high risks of warming, the environmental damage already under way, and the urgency of controlling carbon and greenhouse gases now.”

And more to the point, the Dallas Morning Star penned a devastating editorial on Harnett White in July, 2007 that makes her strange net environmental benefit logic even more clear:

She [Harnett White] has been an apologist for polluters, consistently siding with business interests instead of protecting public health. Ms. White worked to set a low bar as she lobbied for lax ozone standards and pushed through an inadequate anti-pollution plan. She also voted to approve TXU‘s pollution-intensive Oak Grove coal units, ignoring evidence that emissions from the lignite plant could thwart North Texas’ efforts to meet air quality standards.

With all that explained, the only question I have left is, why did any newspaper print such garbage in the first place?

Texas Pollution Apologist Weighs in on Kansas Coal Fight

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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