Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Robertson County Coal Plant

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WACO, Texas - A federal judge has thrown out a federal Clean Air Act lawsuit against a proposed coal-burning TXU power plant in Robertson County.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco ruled Thursday that he has no jurisdiction in the matter because the state hasn't yet issued a permit for the Oak Grove plant.

Until early this year, eight coal-fired electricity projects were planned in Central Texas.

Although TXU scaled back its plans, it continues with a request for the Oak Grove project, which would burn the so-called "dirty" form of coal called lignite.

In a contested case hearing, a state administrative judge recommended that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reject the permit application.

A commission board is expected to hear the case next month.

The lawsuit was filed by a local citizens group called Robertson County Our Land Our Lives. It joined forces with the Dallas-based Clean COALition to sue TXU over the plant last year.

The plaintiffs argued that once the permit was granted, reversing it
with a federal lawsuit would be difficult.