Author Archives: davecortez

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

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.56.57 PM


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.