Tag Archives: corpus christi

Celebrate Earth Day

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Texas constitutes 0.004% of the Earth’s surface

Earth Day events happening around Texas…

Austin
Austin Earth Day Festival
Saturday, April 20th, 12pm-7pm
Browning Hangar at Mueller Park
4550 Mueller Central Dr., Austin, TX 78723
http://www.earthdayaustin.com

Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange
2013 Trail Between the Lakes Hike
April 19th , 20th, & 21st
www.texas.sierraclub.org/triangle/pages/trail.html
Phil Rogers – philarogers@gmail.com – 409-543-4616
Bruce Walker – bwalker@gt.rr.com – 409-782-3486

Belton
Earth Day Festival Belton
April 13, 9 am – 5 pm
Organized by AWARE Central Texas and
Belton Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Linda Griffith or Richard Paul Thomas at (254) 947-4717 or via email to linda@tbcinternational.com orrichard@tbcinternational.com.http://www.beltonearthday.com

Brazos Valley
Brazos Valley Earth Day
April 20, 2013
11 am – 7 pm
Wolf Pen Creek
Organized by The Brazos Valley Earth Day Committee
http://www.brazosvalleyearthday.com

Corpus Christi
Earth Day Bay Day
Saturday, April 13th, 10am to 5pm
Heritage Park
1581 N Chaparral St, Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Sierra Club Contact:
Lois Huff, huffs@the-i.net, 361-774-1500
http://www.facebook.com/events/426674934068213/

Dallas
Earth Day Dallas
April 20-21, 10 am – 6 pm
Fair Park
Organized by Earth Day Dallas (EDD)
http://www.earthdaydallas.org

Edinburg
The City of Edinburg Earth/Arbor Day Festival
Saturday, April 27th, 9am to 1pm
Edinburg World Birding Center
Includes a 1 mile family walk and a ‘Bicycle Rodeo’
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=496129070453227&set=a.136022163130588.26197.135992229800248&type=1&theater

El Paso
El Paso’s Earth Day
Saturday, April 20, 9 am – 1 pm
Union Plaza District
Organized by City of El Paso
Environmental Services Department
home.elpasotexas.gov/environmental-services/documents/El%20Pasos%20Earth%20Day%202013%20Invitation%20for%20Exhibitors-Vendors.pdf
http://www.downtownelpaso.com/el-pasos-earth-day-celebration-2013/

Houston
Earth Day Houston
April 14, 11 am – 5 pm
Discovery Green
Organized by Air Alliance Houston
http://www.earthdayhouston.org

McAllen
Vida Verde Earth Day Festival
April 20, 9 am – 4 pm
Quinta Mazatlan
Organized by City of McAllen
http://www.quintamazatlan.com/events/special/vidaverde.aspx

San Antonio
April 18: “Earth Day” NW Vista College (9 A.M. – 1 P.M.)
April 22: “Earth Day” San Antonio College (10 A.M. – 2 P.M.)
April 23: “EarthFest” UTSA 1604 (11 A.M. – 2 P.M.)
Contact Gay Wright at alamo.sierra@yahoo.com or(210) 362-1984.

Earth Day San Antonio
April 20, 2013
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Woodlawn Lake
Organized by Build San Antonio Green
http://www.heb.com/page/about-us/community/events/san-antonio/earth-day-2013

Texoma
Texoma Earth Day Festival
April 20, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Municipal Ballroom and Grounds
Sherman, TX
http://www.earthdaytexoma.org

More Than 3,000 Texans Call on Reps. Canseco and Farenthold to Save Texas Wind Jobs

Contact: Dave Cortez, Texas BlueGreen Alliance
Davec@bluegreenalliance.org,  512-736-7600

More Than 3,000 Texans Call on
Reps. Canseco and Farenthold to Save Texas Wind  Jobs

WHO:
Dave Cortez – Emcee, Coordinator at Texas BlueGreen Alliance
Jeff Clark – Executive Director, The Wind Coalition
Jeff Neves – Project Developer, American Shoreline Inc.

WHAT: Teleconference on benefits of wind production tax credit in Texas

WHEN: Thursday, October 11th, 11AM CT

CALL INFO: 1-866-501-6174
code: 317-0874-1892
*Spanish speakers available for quotes*

With help from the federal wind energy production tax credit, Texas has become a national leader in wind energy and wind jobs. The Production Tax Credit helps level the energy playing field between fossil fuels and renewables, and has been a key engine in the huge growth of the wind industry over the past decade. The wind industry currently supports more than 75,000 jobs across the country, including over 7,000 here in Texas.  If the PTC is not renewed by the end of the year, an estimated 37,000 jobs will be lost.

As a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report stated, “Current energy tax policy is the result of prior policy action undertaken in an effort to achieve the nation’s long-standing goal of enhancing U.S. energy security.  For example, the promotion of domestic fossil fuel production, the current principle short-run strategy, was a central tenet of energy tax policy from 1918 through the late 1960s” (Sherlock and Crandall-Hollick, September 2012).

In addition, U.S. government support for oil, natural gas, and coal has totaled over $500 billion from 1950 to 2006 according to Management Information Services Incorporated. Some of these incentives have been permanent fixtures of the tax code for decades, whereas the PTC has been periodically extended on a short-term basis since 1992.

List of key wind projects in CD 23
Anacacho Wind Farm (Near Uvalde)
Desert Sky Wind Project (CPS Energy purchases power from here)
Sherbino Wind Farms (BP owned)
Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch

List of key wind projects in CD 27
Palo Alto West Wind Farm (Proposed for construction in Nueces County, projected $3 million annual tax revenue)
Papalote Wind Farm (Near Taft, Texas)
Magic Valley Wind Farm (Willacy County)

South Texas wind farms awaiting fate of energy tax credit
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2012/10/01/south-texas-wind-farms-awaiting-fate.html

AWEA Factsheet
http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/factsheets/upload/2Q-12-Texas-2.pdf

There’s Something in the Dirt in Texas

“What I don’t understand is why Texas always has to take care of everybody else’s crap,” says Kenny Ahlrich, a cotton and milo farmer in Robstown, Texas. We’re riding his pickup truck along the perimeter of his property, which happens to be right next to U.S. Ecology, a hazardous waste treatment and disposal plant.

Kenny and Virginia Ahlrich

A known rabbler-rouser in Corpus Christi, Carolyn Moon, had written an email to a group of activists about her visit a few days before: “I was out there for a half an hour and started to cough. A big black cloud of particulate matter puffed into the air while I was watching, and black smoke was coming out of the processing building. Virginia Ahlrich called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s 800 number, but it didn’t sound like they were interested, and they didn’t give her an incident number.”

As U.S. Ecology undergoes a permit modification with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the public is wondering just how many incidents there have to be before a toxic waste processing facility becomes a danger to the public. The dump has been there since 1973. The Ahlriches started farming there at the end of that decade. The tap water is undrinkable, and Kenny has been treated for heavy metal poisoning multiple times.

The facility has had multiple incidents, only some of which have gone recorded. Huge plumes of dirt from the facility have flown up and been dispersed for years. And in this part of the Texas, the wind can really blow.

As we ride around the property, Kenny Ahlrich shows me pictures of dirt falling from dump trucks that passed by his property years ago.

We drive by a large, damp spot, caused by uncontrolled drainage from the site. The farmer who plows that land had to go around it. Growing cotton in toxic soil doesn’t sound particularly appealing to him.

As US Ecology undergoes a permit modification, citizens in the area have become increasingly aware of the problems associated with the facility, and are turning out for hearings and passing the word along to their neighbors. When it comes to protecting public health, they’re not going to leave it to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to do the right thing.

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The Fight is Not Over

Today the Perry-appointed Commissioners of the TCEQ flagged their noses at federal law and voted to give a permit to a petroleum coke-fired power plant Las Brisas.  Also known as Lost Brisas. 

The bridge crossing into Corpus Christi.
Image via Wikipedia

A group of valiant Corpus Christi retirees traveled four hours from the Gulf Coast to the Capitol of Texas to represent hundreds of citizens, numerous organizations, and several counties’ medical societies opposing the dirty Las Brisas coke-fired power plant.  After the TCEQ’s illegal decision allowing the permit, the fed up Corpus Christi people headed to the Capitol to let our outlaw Governor know what they think of the decision. 

Yesterday the EPA told the TCEQ not to do it.  Today, the TCEQ ignored the directive from their accrediting agency and violated the law.

The fight is far from over.  And though tenacious troops may feel weary today that our state has gone outlaw and failed to protect, we are just catching the collective breath — because we still can…a deep breath!  And we’re ready to keep up this fight to block Las Brisas.  Watch the KIII-TV news coverage.

On our side is the federal Clean Act.  We’re calling on the EPA to uphold it in Texas where the outlaw TCEQ would allow large, ready polluters to have their way with our health and environment.

Read more to find out why this plant would be a grave malignant travesty and why Sierra Club and our friends are not going to let it happen.

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Tuesday Round-Up

Some articles you’ve seen and some you haven’t, on a totally random Tuesday.

Full speed ahead on regulation of GHG gases. Because climate change is real.

From our friends at Public Citizen, it’s time for a new industry watchdog: citizens.

Sweeping changes for the Railroad Commission. No kidding.

Uranium mining permit in Goliad moves forward. Last time we heard, Goliad didn’t really want it.

Meet Al Armendariz, EPA Region 6 head honcho.

Corpus Christi has had enough. Suzie Canales brings straight talk to the White House, and students protest inside TCEQ headquarters.

Meet our bad-ass conservation director, Sarah Hodgdon.

And see Sarah and Mike Brune, our ED, review 2010. Best holiday wishes, everybody. Onward.

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Yes! Texas Judges We Love You!

Corpus Christi from above
Image via Wikipedia

Today Texas State Administrative Law Judges have announced their Proposal for Decision recommending to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the agency should deny an air pollution permit for Las Brisas LLC coke-fired power plant.  This is the second time the Judges in the Las Brisas case have made a recommendation to deny the Las Brisas permit.  The recommendation rejects Las Brisas’ planned high levels of particulate matter pollution.  Particulate matter pollution causes asthma and other respiratory diseases, and can lead to heart disease.

We are delighted with today’s Judges’ recommendation and we call on the TCEQ Commissioners to recognize the illegality of the Las Brisas permit application.  We are asking the three Commissioners – Chairman Bryan Shaw and Commissioners Buddy Garcia and Carlos Rubinstein to follow the wisdom in this thoroughly considered conclusion — Las Brisas LLC proposed to emit more pollution than would meet health-based Clean Air Act standards.   The Perry Administration and its appointed Commissioners must follow the law and confirm the Judge’s repeat recommendations to deny this permit application.

Corpus Christi and surrounding Coastal Bend communities already suffer asthma rates higher than the state average.  If built, Las Brisas would have emitted more pollution than all of the existing refineries combined.

Thanks for your wisdom, Texas Administrative Law Judges!  We love you.

Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Texas

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Mega pet-coke is a mega problem

This guest post courtesy of Daniel Lucio from Corpus Christi.

It’s no secret that Corpus Christi is viewed as an industrial city. What they don’t tell you is that these industries have abandoned local work forces and destroyed our natural resources. In our city the largest employers are not the oil or port industry, it’s the hospitals. Seriously, you can check the statistics. And there is a reason for it. Near our industrial port, where minorities and low-income families are relegated to because of low housing prices, Corpus has some of the highest asthma, birth defect, and cancer rates in the state.

During our recent TCEQ Sunset Review town hall meeting, some of our citizens had the opportunity to openly voice their frustration with an agency that has systematically failed to protect the people of Corpus Christi, in everything from water safety to air pollution. One story that stood out among others was that of Tom Thomas and Mariah Boone. Tom is a teacher, Mariah a social advocate, both full time parents of two wonderful daughters living the Texas dream in Corpus Christi.

Unfortunately that dream includes his older daughter developing an asthma problem that worsens when the winds blow industrial emissions back toward the city. Did I tell you that Corpus is also known as the “Real Windy City”? Seriously, check it out on Wikipedia. With the advent of a new mega pet-coke facility being built in the city, Las Brisas Energy Center, they are concerned for the health and future of their daughters. And who decides whether this plant, which will (by their own estimates) increase pollutants in the area by 82%, will get built or not? Three TCEQ commissioners sitting in an office in Austin will have final say. Not the administrative Judges or the TCEQ’s own public council, both of whom have recommended that the plant not be permitted. Does this sound like a system working for the people?

I will say this, having worked with our local TCEQ on a variety of issues. Our local office is filled with people who truly care about keeping people and the environment safe. But ask anyone of them if they think that we are adequately protecting our community, and they will tell you ‘No’. As people, they can only do so much before the policies of an industry friendly TCEQ, and the decisions of an industry friendly Commissioner take away their ability to protect us.

Texas is not taking care of Mariah Boone’s daughters. Texas is not taking care of its citizens, period. It’s about time to do something about it, and it starts with the TCEQ Sunset Process.

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