Judge’s ruling could buy Texas coal-plant permit objectors more time

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that applies to coal battles too. A big ol’ permit hearing on six of the power plants proposed by TXU Corp. was scheduled to kick off today, with opponents explaining why they’re not keen to live in a “ring of fire.” But the anti-coal crowd got a big ol’ reprieve: a judge decided yesterday that the fast-track executive order issued for the permits by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) isn’t binding. The decision, expected to delay the hearing, led activists to breathe a big ol’ sigh of relief — and led the guv’s office to do some big ol’ blustering. “No one should be surprised that a single liberal Austin judge would rule against Governor Perry and his efforts to increase energy capacity in Texas,” said a spokesperson. TXU, meanwhile, offered a big ol’ sob story: “We’re obviously disappointed in this decision. Every day of delay means that meeting the goal of providing newer, cleaner power generation is denied.”