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Federal regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? "Don't tread on us" sums up the reaction of GOP Gov. Rick Perry, who's running for reelection.
In February, the state filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide. Perry has resisted the EPA's finding last year that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health — a verdict that sets the stage for federal regulation.
State officials say such curbs could jeopardize jobs and threaten businesses in Texas, which leads the nation in carbon emissions.
As evidence that Texas is doing just fine protecting natural resources, thanks, Perry says Texas also leads the nation in wind power. From a press release the governor issued Feb. 16 announcing the state's lawsuit: "Texas has installed more wind power than any other state, and all but four countries."
Does Perry have it right?
Let's start with those other states.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade group that tracks development in the industry, Texas has the largest installed wind capacity in the country. That means its wind projects are producing more power than any other state. As of 2009, Texas boasted 9,410 megawatts of it — enough to power about two million-some homes here.
Iowa has the second-largest installed wind capacity with 3,670 megawatts of power, followed by California, Washington state, and Minnesota.
In 2009, Texas installed the largest amount of new capacity with 2,292 megawatts of wind power, trailed this time by Indiana, Iowa, Oregon and Illinois.
So Texas is — sorry — blowing the competition out of U.S. waters.
How does the state fare worldwide? The Global Wind Energy Council, of which the AWEA is a member, reports the United States had an installed wind power capacity of 35,159 megawatts as of 2009. Germany had 25,777 megawatts, China had 25,104 megawatts, Spain had 19,149 megawatts and India had 10,926 megawatts.
Italy was the country with the sixth largest installed wind power capacity (4,850 megawatts) — just over half of Texas' capacity.
Not including the U.S., Texas had installed more wind power than any all but four countries. And more than any other state.
We rate Perry's statement as True.
Office of the Governor, Press release with video: Texas takes legal action against federal government over EPA CO2 mandates, Feb. 16, 2010
Austin American-Statesman, Texas sues EPA over greenhouse finding, Feb. 16, 2010
American Wind Energy Association, Year end 2009 market report, January 2010
Global Wind Energy Council, Global installed wind power capacity 2008/2009 (MW), 2009
Interview with Kathy Belyeu, manager of industry information services at the American Wind Energy Association, March 2, 2010
Interview with Kathleen O'Dell, senior communicator at the National Renewable European Energy Laboratory, March 2, 2010
Interview with George Douglas, spokesman at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, March 2, 2010
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