The CBS affiliate in Tyler broadcast a story last Thursday with rural Rusk County residents Robert Davidson, Sr. and his son Edwin Davidson in which they made claims about noise and dust from Luminant’s new Liberty Mine operations near their property.
But there’s more to the story regarding the Davidsons’ relatively newfound concern about these alleged conditions and some clarification and context are needed.
For the past four years, Luminant has been moving forward with development of our new Liberty Mine that’s adjacent to and serving the Martin Lake Power Plant. The mine operations started this month. As the need for power continues to grow in Texas, the Martin Lake Power Plant’s 2,250 megawatts of capacity, which is fueled by local lignite, remains critical in meeting that demand especially in the peak summer months.
Luminant approached Edwin Davidson in June 2010 and made a substantial offer well above the appraised value set by the Rusk County Appraisal District to buy his 85 acres. Luminant told him during negotiations there would be a loading facility built south of his property. Luminant also made an offer, higher than the county’s assessed value, to purchase the land owned by Robert Davidson, Sr.
Unfortunately, and despite Luminant’s effort to reach a fair deal with each, both of the Davidsons asked for unreasonably high prices to sell, so the company looked elsewhere and purchased land farther west, owned by another Davidson son and brother.
The Davidsons had many opportunities since 2011 to learn specific locations after public notices were published advising of the public display of maps showing the mine and loading station. They also had the opportunity to express their opinions and intervene during the public comment periods required under state mine and air permitting rules, but there’s no record they did.
With all state permits granted, construction of the mine proceeding and after rejecting our more than fair offers, the Davidsons began their allegations.
Liberty Mine has been granted an air permit by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. For the TCEQ to grant an air permit, the applicant must adequately demonstrate that the facility protects public health and the environment.
Luminant is proud of its more than 40-year record of environmentally responsible mining, reclamation and being a good neighbor. We meet or exceed the regulations of our state and nation. We listen when our neighbors express concern and take action when needed.
We’ve met those obligations over time and we’re meeting them now.