The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  has notified the state of  Texas that it needs to take action to reduce pollution in six counties. where coal-fired power plants are located and sulfur dioxide emissions exceed federal recommendation.

Sulfur dioxide is a product of burning coal and other fossil fuels used to make electricity.  Short-term exposure to high levels of the gas can be life-threatening, but exposure to lower amounts can cause heart and lung trouble, according to the Sierra Club, a national environmental advocacy group.

— Houston Chronicle