Tag Archives: Chairman

Water Council Safe- For Now.

I’m pleased to report that at the Sunset Advisory Commission meeting this morning the Chairman of the Commission, Senator Glenn Hegar, who had initially floated the idea of abolishing the state’s Water Conservation Advisory Council, announced after a brief discussion that he was withdrawing his suggestion “for now.” This announcement came after the Chairman and other members of the Commission had received numerous communications in opposition to the proposed elimination and after two members of the Sunset Commission, Rep. Larry Taylor and Sen. Robert Nichols, made supportive arguments at this morning’s meeting in favor of continuing the Water Conservation Advisory Council.

As a result of this morning’s actions the Sunset Advisory Commission report and decisions on the Texas Water Development Board (the primary state agency which the Council advises) will NOT recommend abolition of the Advisory Council. Indeed, ironically the Commission report includes a couple of recommendations which specifically call upon the Water Development Board and/or TCEQ to work with the Advisory Council on specific water conservation activities.

Thus, the Advisory Council is “safe” for the time being. But remember that no person’s “life, liberty or property” or valued Advisory Council is safe while the Legislature is in session. The regular session of the Texas Legislature begins January 11. We will need to carefully monitor the Legislature to be on guard for any attempts during the legislative session to eliminate the Council either through a specific bill introduced for that purpose or – more likely – a last minute amendment to a more general bill. Sen. Hegar indicated in withdrawing his proposal at the Sunset Commission meeting that he is still not convinced of the need for the Council, so he might make an effort to abolish the Council during the legislative session. Stay tuned.

In the meantime though, thanks to everyone who contacted members of the Sunset Advisory Commission on behalf of continuing the Water Conservation Advisory Council. Your support and your quick response is appreciated, especially at this busy time of the year, and it paid off!!

Ken Kramer

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Chairman Shaw tries to fast-track Las Brisas pet-coke plant

Chairman Shaw at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality didn’t hesitate today to demonstrate that he puts the concerns of industry over public health and state law. In an unusual “status update” before the Commissioners today on the Las Brisas Energy Center application for an air permit, Chairman Shaw said “Anything we can do to facilitate making a timely decision on this matter, we’re committed to.”

But timely for who? Chairman Shaw was referencing Las Brisas’s request to have an air permit in hand prior to EPA’s new rules regulating green house gas emissions, set to be released on January 2, 2011. But isn’t the TCEQ there to protect the citizens of Corpus Christi from illegal air pollution — pollution like the tons (yep, tons of pollution) of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and mercury. And since when is the state charged with helping an applicant get around rules and regulations?

Once again, Chairman Shaw and Commissioner Rubio demonstrated that the TCEQ is a broken agency that needs a culture change. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shouldn’t be rubber stamping permits to pollute, nor “committing” to do anything to help an applicant avoid rules and regulations that are there to protect our health. It’s time to revise the TCEQ. Get involved in the Sunset process and learn more about what you can do put our environmental agency back on track.

The Caller-Times has the story.

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