Tag Archives: public citizen

Second best! LCRA delay on Coal Plant Water

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and numerous Texas water users applauded LCRA’s decision yesterday to delay a decision on a proposed White Stallion coal plant water contract.

Matagorda Co. Judge McDonald opposes water for coal

The Board room was full and public comment began with elected officials from Matagorda County in the south, Travis County in the middle and Burnet County in the north of the Colorado River basin, all opposing the coal plant water and all citing drought concerns.

Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal organizer

Lydia Avila spoke for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. She welcomed this decision,

Even though they haven’t denied it yet, we’re glad they’re taking their time to look into the serious implications of this coal plant request. We’re confident that when they look at the facts that this is a bad deal for Texans, they will reject it.

The Board suggested a 30-45 day period before they would consider it again.

Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen and Coal Block organizer

Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen and Coal Block spoke at the meeting.  Afterwards he said,

The proposed White Stallion coal plant is not a beneficial or responsible use of water.  LCRA can and should deny this water request.  We should invest in cleaner renewable energy so that we assure water for our future.

Sierra Club recognizes and appreciates the over 2,000 people who sent comments to LCRA recommending LCRA reject water for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.  We ask if you will stay tuned and prepare to comment and show up again, if and when LCRA reconsiders the proposed White Stallion water request.  Contact Lydia Avila, 512-477-1729 to get more involved.  Thank you!

~ Donna Hoffman

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Environmental Groups and Water Users call on LCRA at Meeting this Morning-Reject Coal Plant Water

Contact:  Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, 626-506-9651
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen Texas, 440-796-9695

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and No Coal Coalition call on LCRA Board to Reject  Coal Plant Water

Citizens Want Questions Answered saying Coal Plant Would use Too Much Water

(Austin)  The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and lower Colorado River Ranchers today urge members of the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to vote at their meeting this morning to deny a water contract requested by the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

“We have to face the facts- there simply isn’t enough water in the Colorado river to cool these old style power plants,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen.  “We’re facing the worst drought in 50 years and maybe in history and yet LCRA staff has their head in the sand and is recommending  approval of this contract when all indications show that there isn’t enough water to go around. We call upon the Board to exercise judgment and just say ‘No’ when the staff is taking a wrong turn.”

Members of Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition, other environmental groups and many residents from both the Highland Lakes and Matagorda and Wharton County ends of the LCRA’s managed water basin are attending the meeting at the LCRA headquarters in Austin this morning – some with signs outside.  Many came to make public comments at the microphone.

“Do we really want the coal industry to trump agricultural water needs and the environment that sustains life?” said Susan Dancer, wildlife rehabilitator and owner of Matagorda County Texas Blessings Ranch.  “During this drought, we are especially in need of water to irrigate our human and livestock food crops as well as our hay production.  We need enough freshwater inflow into Matagorda Bay and estuaries to provide the brackish water necessary for many of our fish and shellfish species to reproduce.  The LCRA Board must consider the hidden costs of such a facility as White Stallion.  Taking our water for an un-needed coal plant is one of the ways White Stallion would cripple the existing economy and damage agriculture and the environment.  We ask the LCRA board to manage our water wisely, refuse this contract today, or wait to consider the decision more carefully.”

The Sierra Club released a report this week, “Proposed White Stallion Coal-Fired Power Plant Water Demands and the Highland Lakes Water Supply”.

The report’s author Dr. Lauren Ross said, “According to the water management plan, there is not enough water available for the White Stallion request.  Committing water to this proposed coal plant would compromise agricultural and environmental flows during the most severe historical drought of record.”

At the LCRA’s Water Management Committee meeting last night, members of the LCRA board commented that they had only been updated yesterday morning, they hadn’t had time to finish reading a new proposed contract, and that they wanted the board to take the time to inform citizens on the details.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign organizer, Lydia Avila attended both the meeting last night and today’s Board meeting.

Avila said, “The Board must deny this permit today or at the very least, slow down and reconsider such a potentially damaging decision.  The evidence against this proposal is in and people, including the LCRA Board of Directors deserve to know more.  The proposed White Stallion coal plant would displace other water users at a time when extreme drought means we must carefully conserve water for the most important uses,” said Lydia Avila with Sierra Club.  “We don’t need new coal plants, including this one.  We already have enough electricity generation on the grid and we simply can’t afford to burn away our precious water in coal steam.  Texas is are already working on phasing out existing coal plants in favor of clean, water-wise renewable energy such as wind and solar power.  ”

#   #   #

Donna Hoffman
Communications Coordinator
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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The Dallas showdown, by the numbers

Polluters, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

With about 10 days of notice, Texans came together to organize a very successful EPA hearing. Over 120 people were in attendance, 67 people gave testimony, and only two to five people gave testimony against regulation of GHG’s (BOO! HISS!). People came in from all across the state to fight Governor Perry’s TCEQ and to fight coal plants in Texas.

* Over 120 people were in attendance.
* Over 2000 online comments already generated in Texas
* Phone bank was awesome– volunteers culled 65 yes’es and maybe’
* Online organizing – 49 people RSVP’d online, 7 people signed up for the phone bank, and over 150 people committed to helping to spread the word
* State Representative Lon Burnam came and testified at the hearing as well.
* Sierra Club led the drive, and pulled together many environmental and environmental justice organizations including TEJAS, William C. Velasquez Institute, Downwinders at Risk, Environment Texas, Texas Campaign for the environment, Texas Impact, Alliance for Clean Texas, GreenPeace, Clean Economy Coalition, No Coal Coalition, Public Citizen, and others.

That’s how it went! Greenhouse gases WILL be regulated in Texas, and we WILL stop dangerous pollution and climate change. And that’s the word.

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Energy Efficiency produces jobs says Businesses for Energy Efficient Texas, Texas is Hot and Sierra Club at forum at the legislature

About 120 folks huddled together at the Legislative Conference Center over at the capitol yesterday to hear why Energy Efficiency is the “Conservative Approach to Securing Texas’s Energy Future.” Sponsored by the Businesses for an Energy Efficient Texas, TexasisHot.org, Sierra Club, EDF, Public Citizen, and state Representative Rafael Anchia and Senator Carona, a mixed group of state representatives, staffers, and interested parties heard that businesses from HEB to Texas Instruments had fully embraced energy efficiency as a good business model, and the need for state policies — including incentives — to drive people and businesses toward the practice of avoiding electricity through new technologies and behavioral changes. Joining the presenters were a number of companies showing off the latest technologies in energy efficiency, including thermal cameras, LED lighting produced up the road in Georgetown, computer controlled thermostats, and advanced computer energy tracking technologies.
Theresa Gross, with the PUC, pointed out that PUC required energy efficiency programs had already saved enough energy — about 1400 MWs since the programs began — to prevent four 350 MW peaking gas plants from having to be built, while saving money and producing jobs. Currently, PUC is raising the required goals on investor-owned utilities from 20 percent of growth in demand today to 30 percent of growth in demand by 2013. Rep. Anchia said he and Corona are considering legislation to increase the goals in a few years and grow the energy efficiency programs, based on a 2009 PUC study.

HEB’s Bob Manning pointed out that with 300 stores spending some $130 million in utility bills each year, energy efficiency has become over the last five years a huge investment and priority of the food retail giants. He pointed out that while the company has saved $22 million in utility bills over the last five years through these efforts, regular paying customers at HEB are also suffering from high electricity bills, and sometimes it is a choice between food, gas and electric bills. Therefore, it is good for his business and the state to promote energy efficiency for commercial and residential folks.

Jeff Moe, with the company Ingersoll Rand, pointed out that while his manufacturing facilities in Tyler and Waco had cut their own energy use, his company actually sells the energy efficiency products like HVAC systems and insulation that help make people more efficient with their energy use. He called on the legislature to adopt policies that helped drive technology and innovation.

Finally, Paul Westbrook said that at Texas Instruments not only were they making their chips using a fraction of the energy they used to through green building features at their manufacturing facilities, they were participating in the development of chips and other technology that used less energy. He said while wind and solar were sexy and needed to be part of Texas’s energy mix, energy efficiency was the nerdy stuff which actually makes good business sense right away. He noted that for every 100 units of fuel input into a power plant, only 9.5 units actually makes it to the end user as electricity because of the extraction of fossil fuel, inefficiencies in the plant, and losses on the transmission and distribution system.

Ringdale shows off their energy efficient LED lighting manufactured in Georgetown.

Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director, Sierra Club

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A Radioactive Texas?

OK — here is the vision brought to you by Waste Control Specialists, the private company trying to locate a radioactive waste disposal facility in Andrews Texas, just next to the border with New Mexico: a one-stop shop for virtually all of the radioactive waste in the country, with the facility opening in November of 2011. Open for business for radioactive waste from anywhere. And it is a vision that is becoming much closer to reality following the 5-2 vote yesterday by the Texas Low Level Waste Disposal Compact Commission to approve rules that would allow, on a case-by-case basis, Texas to import radioactive waste from anywhere in the country to be buried in the West Texas ground, even if that generator or place had no legal agreement with Texas, as does the State of Vermont under the Texas Compact.

Not surprisingly, there are multiple viewpoints on the issue. Sierra Club is opposed to the present license even for the Texas and Vermont waste because there are significant problems with the proposed location and proposed license. In fact, we have appealed the license to State District Court and are awaiting a trial. But we are particularly opposed — as are a couple of the Texas Compact Commission Commissioners, several key legislators like Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Lon Burnam and Rafael Anchia, and even Dennis Bonnen, to the notion that it was the right time to open up the “compact” with Vermont to waste from other states, even before the Compact Commission has an operating budget to hire staff, the Legislature has met to consider what it thinks about opening up the compact, and before the site itself has been given the green light to even begin major construction.

Here is a statement we put out this week on it.

“The decision by the Commission to approve rules that would allow a private company — Waste Control Specialists — to import dangerous radioactive wastes into a site that was by its license only designed for Texas and Vermont waste is irresponsible and alarming,” noted Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club Conservation Director Cyrus Reed.

“Thousands of members of the public as well as several members of the  Texas Legislature asked the Commission to either vote ‘no’ on the rules or at least delay voting on the proposed rules until the Legislature had met, the site had actually been constructed, opened, proved to be safe and the Commission had an actual budget with which to operate. Instead, the Commission has rushed into a grave decision based upon false information from the license holder that waste from other states was needed to make the site economical. Fortunately, the Commission’s vote is likely to be challenged in court because not all comments on the rules were even considered.  Sierra Club awaits a decision by a State District Court that would allow us to participate in a hearing to determine the safety of the site,” said Reed.

Keep in mind that even before the vote there was a legal attempt by Public Citizen to prevent the vote based on some poor notice and failure to get the Commission’s email right to receive comment. Unfortunately, the Federal Judge ruled he didn’t have the jurisdiction to act but noted folks like Public Citizen were welcome to question the process of the vote after the vote was taken. So stay tuned.

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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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You Don’t Miss Your Water Until…

…your river runs dry.

…your city’s economy takes a hit when tourism drops.

…there’s a drought.

This week, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, and Texans who want to move beyond coal to a clean energy future will be letting you know that powerplants suck… lots and lots of water.

For the whole story, check out this story in the Houston Chronicle.

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