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Texans Rally Against New Coal Plants

"I'm just another guy trying to avoid the pollution," Jones said.

Stephen Hodgsen, an engineer from Galveston, said he became motivated after watching former Vice President Al Gore's Oscar-nominated documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

"That showed me we need to do something," said Hodgsen, who supports more use of wind power and nuclear energy.

Marc Scott, a farmer who lives within just a few miles of four of the proposed plants, worries his family's health would suffer from air and water pollution.

"We're at ground zero," he said. "It won't matter which way the wind blows."

A coalition of business and energy interests recently bought more than $1 million in newspaper advertising to speak out against the coal plants and promote the rally. The Texas Clean Sky Coalition included at least one competitor of coal-fired plants _ Chesapeake Energy Corp., a natural gas company in Oklahoma City.

Other opponents of the plants include 17 mayors whose cities are downwind of the plants, including Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Houston Mayor Bill White.

TXU spokesman Tom Kleckner said the coal plants would be cleaner than environmentalists fear.

"These are not your grandfather's coal plants," Kleckner said as he surveyed the signs and listened to the speakers from the perimeter of the rally.

"They'll burn 80 percent cleaner than today's coal plants," he said.

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© 2007 The Associated Press