Author Archives: davecortez

Victory! Austin City Council Votes 6-0 In Favor of Generation Plan Task Force

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March 6, 2014

Contact: Dave Cortez, David.Cortez@SierraClub.Org, 512-736-7600

Austin City Council Votes to Create Austin Energy Task Force

AUSTIN, TX – Today, in a 6-0 vote, city council members voted to create the Austin Energy Resource Generation Task Force as part of the 2014 update process to the city’s existing energy plan.

The task force is directed to provide recommendations to council members for how Austin Energy should meet existing goals for renewable energy by 2020, as well as opportunities for strengthening and expanding those goals through 2024. Task force members will include one member from the Electric Utilities Commission and one from the Resource Management Commission, as well as seven other members appointed by city council.

Sierra Club Beyond Coal Organizer David Cortez
issued the following statement in response:

“Public participation is always a win-win in our book. Today, the people of Austin and Central Texas communities impacted by climate disruption won a major procedural victory for clean energy, transparency and good governance. This task force will provide environmental, low-income, renewable energy and industry stakeholders their best opportunity to review Austin Energy’s approach and set a clear path for making Austin a leader in the clean energy economy.

Austin Energy ratepayers have made it clear that they want this process to expand our clean energy goals, phase out our over-reliance on dirty coal and fracked gas, as well as preserve our affordability targets. We see this task force as the best way to ensure those demands are met.

The Sierra Club and our 4,500 Central Texas members and supporters applaud City Council for their leadership in making this process more accessible to all Austin Energy ratepayers.”



Austin’s 10-Year Energy Plan: Ramp Up Renewables, or Double Down on Fossil Fuels?

Stop Dirty Coal Rally, Austin, Texas



Dave Cortez, Sierra Club Beyond Coal,
David.Cortez@SierraClub.Org, 512-736-7600
Kaiba White, Public Citizen,, 607-339-9854

Austin Energy Ratepayers Rally to Expand Affordable Renewable Energy Goals in Energy Plan Update 

WHAT: Clean Energy Rally Following First Austin Energy Stakeholder Meeting

WHERE: Front Lawn, Austin Energy HQ, Town Lake Center, 721 Barton Springs Road
WHEN: Tuesday, February 25th at 12:15 pm
(following the conclusion of Austin Energy’s first stakeholder meeting)

WHO:  Hosted by the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign and Public Citizen

VISUALS FOR CAMERAS: We’ll have 30 Austin Energy Ratepayers wearing yellow shirts and holding clean energy signs next to a large solar panel. A coal lobbyist clad in a suit and a large black smokestack costume will be doing all he can to remove the solar panel from the rally. Parents and children will also be in attendance to highlight the need to plan for clean future for our kids.
Coal Monster

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 – 10 a.m. to Noon
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Austin Energy Headquarters
Town Lake Cntr
721 Barton Springs Road
First floor assembly room

AUSTIN – On Tuesday, February 25th at 12:15 PM CT, dozens of yellow-shirt clad Austinities will rally in support of clean energy and moving beyond fossil fuels outside of Austin Energy headquarters following the first of three stakeholder input meetings on the proposed 10-year update to the Austin Energy Resource, Generation, and Climate Protection Plan.

Austin Energy has given no indication that it will incorporate City Council’s recommendation that the solar energy goal be expanded to 400 megawatts by 2020 – enough to power about 50,000 homes. Nor has it suggested increasing the overall renewable energy goal, despite the fact that it’s already has contracts to meeting the current goal 4 years early. Instead, the utility is proposing to keep the Fayette coal plant running through 2025 and to build an additional 800 megawatt fracked gas plant.

The rally is hosted by the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign and Public Citizen.

Intern with the Texas Sierra Club! (Austin)

(updated April 2014)

Intern with the Texas Sierra Club! 

Dates: Summer 2014 – May 19th to August 8th

Location: All positions based in Austin, TX

Applications accepted until positions filled

2014 will be a hallmark year in for the Texas environmental movement, and we want you to be part of our team. The Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter and Texas Beyond Coal campaign are looking for committed activists, students, and community members with a strong passion for the environment and social justice.

Who Should Apply?

If you care about the impacts of climate disruption on our air, water, economy, and wildlands, apply for the Texas Sierra Club internship program today! We’re looking for undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students to help build out our campaigns so we can better educate and engage Central Texans on critical environmental issues.

You’ll help us get our issues into the media, build coalitions, organize events and lobby decision-makers. Ultimately, you’ll help us build the kind of public support it takes to win.

The ideal candidate for an internship with Sierra Club is self-motivated, energetic, flexible and a strategic thinker with very strong writing abilities, good organizational skills, understanding of the political system, and a passion for the environment and social justice. Responsibilities will be tailored to personal skills and areas of interest to the best of our ability.

Positions open for Summer 2014 Internship
(click on each link for more detailed descriptions and requirements)


Campaign Background

The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the country. Currently, Texas Sierra Club is working on moving beyond coal. We are promoting drought resistant clean energy solutions and energy efficiency measures that will create thousands of new, green jobs and stimulate the economy, all while conserving our water and ensuring we have clean air to breathe. We accomplish this through political and grassroots action.

Opportunities and Expectations

Interns will learn many of the skills used in grassroots and advocacy organizing by working with professional staff on the Austin Beyond Coal Campaign, Texas Living Waters Project, or Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.

Interns will also learn real skills through professional trainings and apply their new knowledge to their work at the Club.

This is an unpaid internship, but includes opportunities to attend many events and participate in several program trainings at no cost. The Club will also reimburse any campaign-related travel costs.

Interns will be expected to work a flexible 10-15 hour week which includes holding regular office hours and attending mandatory Wednesday evening phonebanks from 6pm to 8pm.

Once accepted, all interns are expected to complete the semester of the internship program they have committed to in order to receive credit. Interns must have a weekly meeting or call with their Sierra Club staff member to check in on work plan and strategy.

Depending on progress and commitment shown, there is also an opportunity for the internship to continue past the set end date with remote supervision from the Sierra Club office in Austin.


Interviews will be held on a rolling basis at the Sierra Club office in Austin (1202 San Antonio St). Orientation will be held on Monday May 19th. If hired, interns must be available for this date. The first regular day of the internship will be Wednesday May 21st.

How to apply

Send resume and cover letter to Internship Program Coordinator Rabekha Siebert at, and cc Internship Manager Dave Cortez at Include in the body of your email a note about which position you are applying for.

The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer and encourages people of color, immigrants, female, and LBGTQ individuals to apply.

Volunteer or Exhibit at the 2013 Renewable Roundup in Fredericksburg!

The Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair is now just over two weeks away.  Be sure you have signed up for your exhibit booth and/or sponsorship and that you are letting your new and potential customers know that they can visit you at the largest sustainable event in the South!
Check out our three days worth of panels and speakers
then sign up to attend or volunteer TODAY!

Roundup Art 2013

September 27 – 29, 2013


100 E. Main Street

Fredericksburg, Texas  78624

Plan to join us for another Roundup, this year back to being a three day event full of tent talks, demonstrations, and green energy saving or energy making products from our exhibitors.

For further details including sponsorship and
exhibitor signups please visit:






Urban Poultry Association of Texas



Would you also like Texas Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair on Facebook?

Would you link to our Linkedin Page The Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair?

Would you join our Google+ Community – Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair
Would you follow us on Twitter @TXGreenRoundup

For more information:
Contact: Laura Rice
Phone: (830) 997-2350

CPS Energy Making Strides to Reduce Air Pollution In San Antonio

CPS Alamo 1-II


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10, 2013

Sean Sarah, Sierra Club, Beyond Coal Campaign, (330) 338-3740
Scheleen Walker, Director, Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter, (512) 477-1729 x 115

Sierra Club Congratulates CPS Energy for Outstanding Environmental Leadership
Recent Analysis Shows Greenhouse Gas Emissions Declining Quickly

SAN ANTONIO – An analysis of data for the 2012 calendar year shows a large reduction in carbon and other climate disruption-causing pollution from power plants operated by CPS Energy of San Antonio. In 2011, CPS Energy committed to gradually phase out and retire its aging JT Deely coal plant 15 years ahead of schedule. Under the leadership of CEO Doyle Beneby and supported by Mayor Julián Castro, the utility made significant investments in solar power. By the time the solar program is fully implemented, over 400 MW of clean solar power will provide CPS Energy customers with Texas-based energy. These solar projects provide good paying jobs in a growing solar industry in South Texas, and require none of the precious water resources used for cooling conventional power plants. In addition, CPS Energy’s Save for Tomorrow Energy Program (STEP) has so far saved 317 megawatts (MW) of electric load, putting it well on its way to meeting the goal set in 2010 to avoid 771 MW by 2020 through residential and commercial energy conservation, demand reduction and solar rebates.

“We congratulate CPS Energy on a job well-done. Phasing out the old Deely plant and making significant investments in solar power and energy efficiency is good planning, good for our economy, and good for San Antonio’s ratepayers” said Al Armendariz, Senior Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “The reductions in carbon pollution at CPS Energy have set the benchmark for Texas utilities.”

The resource plan developed by CPS Energy ensures their customers don’t have to worry about the steep expense of retrofitting a 30-year old coal plant to meet 21st century public health safeguards. Through smart and careful planning, CPS Energy has reduced emissions of both conventional pollutants and carbon pollution that causes climate disruption. In 2012, carbon emissions were down 9 percent from the previous year, and by 2020 CPS Energy is on track to achieve a 29 percent decrease in carbon pollution compared to 2011. Emissions of nitrogen oxides, which can cause the orange and red ozone days, have fallen by over 2000 tons, or more than 70 percent, since 1997. The reductions in nitrogen oxides are critical to help keep the city away from high levels of air pollution that would put San Antonio into nonattainment of air quality under EPA guidelines.

“There are real public health benefits when utilities reduce pollution coming from their smoke stacks, and we thank CPS Energy for the achievements putting cleaner power sources on-line,” said Scheleen Walker, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We look forward to working with CPS Energy and all other stakeholders in San Antonio to build on this achievement and to make the city a leader in clean energy development in Texas.”

The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club last year awarded CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby a Special Service Award for his contribution to a cleaner Texas.


Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Statement on President Obama’s Climate Plan


For Immediate Release:
June 25, 2013

Contact:  Scheleen Walker, office: (512) 477-1729, ext. 115; mobile: (512) 481-1448

Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Statement on President Obama’s Climate Plan

AUSTIN, TX –  Today President Barack Obama announced his administration’s next steps for building a legacy of action to fight the climate crisis. The plan includes new energy efficiency standards for federal buildings and appliances, scales up responsible clean energy production on public lands with an ambitious new commitment to power 6 million homes by 2020, and uses the full authority of the Clean Air Act to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.

Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Director Scheleen Walker released the following statement in response:

“This is the change Texans struggling with drought and pollution have been waiting for on climate.

“President Obama is putting action behind his words, which is exactly what the Lone Star Chapter, our thousands of Texas members and supporters, and coalition partners have worked mightily to achieve.  Today, we applaud him for taking a giant step forward toward meeting that goal. As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country, Texas has a special responsibility to rapidly tackle carbon pollution.

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“Texas farmers, ranchers, and cities have been suffering through year after year of drought. Scientists at Texas universities are telling us that over time climate change is going to make the drought even longer and more severe. By committing to implement new energy efficiency standards, increase responsible clean energy production, and most importantly using the full authority of the Clean Air Act to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, the President is stepping up to reduce the climate-disrupting pollution that is destabilizing our climate and threatening our agricultural economy and growing cities.

“The first step in the Presidents’ climate legacy were the clean car rules. Today he committed to tackle existing power plant emissions. To complete his legacy, we look forward to a day when the Administration takes the final step, and recognizes that natural gas and tar sands crude are dangerous fuels. Nevertheless, the President’s plan gives us hope that he will cement his climate legacy and protect future generations by ending destructive oil drilling in the Arctic, rejecting dangerous nukes, phasing out dirty fossil fuels in favor of clean energy – and by making the critically important decision to reject the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline.”

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Call to Young Artists: Design the 2013 Renewable Energy Roundup Poster!


Seeking young Texans ages 9 to 18 to submit renewable energy poster designs

Deadine July 1, 2013

The Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair Art Contest was created to draw upon young people’s artistic expression to convey the importance of renewable energy and living sustainably in Texas. Pieces will be judged on creativity and inclusion of renewable energy (solar and wind), Texas, farming and green living practices.

The purpose is to enhance public awareness of the importance of renewable energy and sustainability in the artists’ and viewers’ lives and to convey how personal actions affect the world.

  •   Rules: The contest is open to all students in Texas ages 9 thru 18.
  •   Entry Requirements: Poster design must be original, and may be computer or electronically generated, hand- drawn or photographed. It must not violate any copyrights, intellectual property rights or contain other infringements. Electronic submissions must be 300 DPI (JPEG or PDF preferred).
  •  Size: Any size between 8.5 x 11 inches and up to 28 x 22 inches.
  •   Deadline: All entries must be postmarked or delivered no later than: July 1, 2013.

  •  Mailed entrees:
    The Roundup Art Contest P O Box 2735; Fredericksburg TX 78624
    Emailed entrees:
  •  Hand-delivered entrees:
    Laura Rice; 604 N Bowie; Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    Call 830-456-1341 to arrange
  •   Required: Submitted artwork must have clearly printed on the back: Artist’s name and contact information, parents name, school or facilitator name, including mailing address, phone, email.

The winner will be determined by a vote of the Roundup Planning Committee. All decisions are within the discretion of the committee and those decisions are final.

The winner will be announced and their artwork will be displayed in the art exhibit area during the fair weekend, in addition to being the official t-shirt art for 2013. First Prize $200 Cash + event tickets, 2nd – 5th place gift cards + event tickets.

All entries become the sole property of The Roundup. The Roundup will own all personal, intellectual and other property rights and interests in each submission, including all copyrights, moral rights and publicity rights. The submissions will not be returned to the artist. The artist will not create derivative works of their submissions, nor use their submissions in any other way outside of this contest. A submission may be used to promote any Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair, and/or for any other Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair commercial or promotional purposes, regardless of media. The Roundup reserves the right to make modifications to size, and content display. By sending in a poster design, you agree that the Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair may use, without compensation, artwork and the winner’s name, age, town and likeness for promotional purposes in Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair’s 2013 campaign.

Limited to one entry per person.

Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair
P.O. Box 2735 | Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 | 830-997-2350

The Renewable Energy Roundup & Green Living Fair is organized by: The Center for Policy Studies and Texas Renewable Energy Industries Assoc.