On Wednesday, July 9, after a three-hour meeting, the Austin Energy Generation & Resource Planning Task Force approved its final report that lays out ambitious goals for Austin Energy over the next 15 years. As a member of both this task force and its 2009 predecessor, I can state the plan is ambitious and I support it. If approved, it should make Austin Energy one of the cleanest and most efficient utilities in the United States.
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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court upheld EPA regulations that could have implications for the Lone Star state. From our Beyond Coal Team, here's a rundown of what's happening with Cross-State Air Pollution rules and what we can expect.
Here’s an easy problem for the Legislature to solve next session: Texas’ cities are facing additional federal regulations to clean-up their dirty air. Fortunately,, the state just happens to have over a billion dollars sitting in its coffers for that expressed purpose. The state programs have already been created; the fees for those programs have been collected; yet the Legislature has decided to withhold that money, leaving it sitting idle in the state’s bank account.
Last week, Kevin Patteson, the executive administrator for the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), issued his long-awaited recommendation on the proposed construction of the Marvin Nichols reservoir, deciding to keep the controversial proposal within the 2011 Region C water plan. The reservoir, proposed to be developed along the Sulphur River in East Texas (TWDB Region D), would potentially serve as a source of water for the growing Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.
Happy (belated) Earth Day! Some celebrate the entire month of April as Earth Month, but we at the Lone Star Chapter would like to think that we work to protect the environment every day of the year (minus holidays and weekends, of course.) In an effort to educate the public how each one of us can lessen our impact on the Earth’s resources every day of the year, the EPA has released its list of tips to act on climate change. Here’s a sampling of their tips, with some our own staff picks added to the mix for good measure:
Last week, Sierra Club volunteers from across the state converged on Big Bend National Park to assist with the park’s ongoing grassland restoration efforts. Grasslands in the low-lying flats of the park were devastated by over-grazing in the late 1800’s and early twentieth century when the park land was nothing more than ranch land on the border of Texas and Mexico. In recent years, park officials have been supporting a renewed effort to bring those grassland areas back, along with the flora and fauna that once inhabited it.
This past month, Texas’ investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities filed their annual energy efficiency reports with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) reporting on the savings produced through the state’s energy efficiency program. The results demonstrated that the programs are reaching their potential, but much more can be done.
Last November Texas voters overwhelming approved Proposition 6 – a proposed state constitutional amendment that created a new state water fund for water projects in the state water plan. Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to provide water for “non-rainy” days.
A new report from ACEEE — American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy — found that energy efficiency is the nation’s cheapest resource. The non-profit institute looked at utility energy efficiency programs in a variety of states over a variety of years and found costs were a fraction of the energy costs for generation. Below is the press release. We will be digging in to some more specific Texas numbers in future blogs.
Washington, D.C. – Today the Sierra Club urged the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to recommend a strong, science-based standard to protect Americans from smog. The Committee provides independent advice to the Environmental Protection Agency as it seeks to update the country’s smog pollution limits according to the Clean Air Act.