This story was originally published by the Texas Tribune. Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
Volunteer firefighter Jim Emery grew emotional as he spoke to the crowd at an anti-solar development town hall meeting in his northeast Texas community. Emery, who worked for decades at the nearby coal power plant before it closed in 2018, didn’t worry then about pollution from the plant.
But now, the fear of storage batteries catching on fire at a solar facility grip the 67-year-old.
“I’ve been in the fire department since we started in ’76, and this scares me more than anything I’ve ever been involved with,” Emery told roughly 50 people gathered in a local coffee shop called Penelope’s in Mount Vernon, the county seat. “We need to stop it. I don’t know how we can. But we don’t need solar power in Franklin County at all.”
People cheered and whistled. Someone shouted, “Amen!”