[Oct. 30] Today, after more than four hours of citizen testimony, San Antonio City Council approved a contract between SAWS and Abengoa, a Spanish developer, to develop the 140-mile Vista Ridge water pipeline project. Despite hearing from a plethora of opposition voices both from San Antonio and from the area where the groundwater will be mined, such as Lee County (includes Burleson and Bastrop Counties as well), Council voted unanimously to move into the “development” phase of the project. Council heard from dozens of citizens and grassroots groups, including the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, Southwest Workers’ Union, and others. Individuals representing groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce spoke separately in favor of the $3 billion water project that will raise rates for San Antonio residents and deplete the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. The project will now seek all needed permits, rights of way, easements, etc. Stay tuned.
[Original: EPA Press Release, Oct. 29, 2014]
Superior Crude Gathering Inc. (Superior Crude) has agreed to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a 2010 crude oil spill from tanks at Superior’s oil storage facility in Ingleside, Texas, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Under the consent decree lodged today in federal court, Superior will pay $1.61 million to resolve the government’s claims.
[Original post: Jim Malewitz, Texas Tribune, Oct. 28, 2014]
Texas regulators on Tuesday tightened rules for wells that dispose of oilfield waste, a response to the spate of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas.
For the last five years, the Sierra Club has been in a healthy discussion at ERCOT (Electric Reliable Council of Texas) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas over how to calculate the value of wind energy during peak demand. Opponents of wind still use an antiquated yet lingering criticism that it tends to generate electricity mostly at night and not when Texas needs it the most – on hot summer afternoons. The state’s grid operator just assumed all wind generation had the same value at peak. Thanks in part to our efforts this isn’t the case anymore.
Recently, the Sierra Club welcomed the arrival of two great new staff members to work in our Austin office. Mayté (like My-tay) Salazar, who helped to establish a low-income advisory task force in Austin, is now an Apprentice with the Beyond Coal Campaign. Dr. Tane Ward, a long time Indigenous Rights activist who has worked extensively with community groups in Austin for more than ten years, is the new Organizing Manager for the Beyond Coal Campaign in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The next legislative session is right around the corner. Hopefully, by now you’ve either voted early or have a plan to vote. But your work as an environmental advocate doesn’t end on Election Day. The election winners will soon be at work and we need your help fighting for a healthy environment! The Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter invites you to its 2015 Texas Legislative Workshop for Environmental Advocates, November 8-9, at McKinney Roughs Nature Park.
The Galveston Bay Foundation and Houston Advanced Research Center are seeking the public's help in developing a report card about the health of Galveston Bay, scheduled to be released in early 2015. Everyone who lives near, uses, or simply has an interest in Galveston Bay is encouraged to visit www.galvbay.org/reportcard to take an important survey, submit comments about issues concerning bay health, and learn more about the project.