04/20/17 10:30am

W.A. PARISH COAL PLANT NOW RUNNING ‘CLEAN’ IN RICHMOND, HELPING BOOST OIL EMISSIONS FURTHER SOUTH W.A. Parish Electric Generation Station, Richmond, Texas, 77469The years-long retrofitting of the W.A. Parish coal plant next to Smithers Lake in Richmond was capped off last week by a valve opening ceremony, at which the plant’s new Petra Nova carbon dioxide collection machinery was ceremonially turned on (though NRG says its been running since September). The new machinery is currently the largest such capture operation in the country, and might help knock the plant down a few notches from its recent high score on the carbon pollution rankings. Monica Simmons of the San Antonio Current, however, points out this week that whether the project actually results in a net reduction of CO2 emissions is something of a question mark: The project, which has been in the works since the over-$70-a-barrel days of 2010, is helping to pay for itself by piping that excess CO2 down to Jackson County and into the ground at the West Ranch oil field — which NRG says will help the folks there squeeze out 15,000 barrels of oil a day instead of 300. [San Antonio Current; previously on Swamplot] Photo of W.A. Parish Generating Station and labeled Petra Nova add-ons: NRG

12/29/16 1:00pm

PIPELINE PROTESTERS LEAVE FREEZING N. DAKOTA, HEAD TO TEXAS TO CAMP Meanwhile, in Alpine: Several groups of environmental activist-types are currently setting up a series of long-term protest camps along the planned route of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, which would send natural gas to Mexico from near Ft. Stockton by crossing beneath the Rio Grande. Like the Dakota Access pipeline (which the Army Corps said earlier this month it’s gonna try to reroute),  the Trans-Pecos is another Energy Transfer Partners project — though the company was already running into opposition in the region long before the Dakota protests made the national news, from what Rachel Monroe describes as an unlikely coalition of “archaeologists, McDonald Observatory astronomers, hippies, and ranchers.” The 1st camp was to have opened yesterday near Alpine; David Hunn writes this week that a handful of the same folks from the Dakota protests have already arrived in the region, and that 2 more camps are planned to open early next year, in the ghost town of Casa Piedra (near the edge of Big Bend Ranch State Park) and Toyahvale (home to Balmorhea State Park and San Solomon Springs  and near which Houston-based Apache Corp. is currently planning major drilling operations). [Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly]