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How will EPA regulations affect Texas? Straus wants to get to the bottom of it.

By: Nicholas Sakelaris |

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, directed a house committee to review how proposed regulations on coal plants will affect Texas’ electric grid and its economy.

Straus is reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2030. The proposal affects Texas more than most states because the Lone Star state consumes the most coal.

Straus said in a statement that the Texas House Committee on Environmental Regulation will present their findings before the 2015 legislative session starts in January.

“It’s important for legislators to understand the potential impact of this federal mandate, not only on the cost and availability of electricity but also the broader Texas economy,” Straus said. “The committee’s work will guide the House’s approach to this issue in next year’s legislative session, and the seriousness of these proposed rules demands that we start working on that approach soon.”

Coal produced 37 percent of the power in the state Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid, which covers 85 percent of Texas. How many of those coal plants will be retired or forced to scale back production because of the regulations is still unclear. And where Texas will make up that power, whether it’s natural gas or intermittent renewable energy sources, is still unclear.

“A reliable energy supply is especially critical in a state like Texas because our population is growing twice as fast as the country as a whole,” Straus said.