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Archive for September 8th, 2009

Environmental Groups welcome EPA’s proposed rejection of key elements of TCEQ’s air permitting plan and call for proper enforcement of Clean Air Act protections in Texas

(Austin)  — Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and the Galveston/Houston Association for Smog Prevent (GHASP) welcomed the EPA proposal today to disapprove key aspects of the Texas clean-air permitting program that “do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements” followed by other states.

Texas environmental community leaders commented on the proposed decision –

Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, Director of the Texas office of Public Citizen –

It’s refreshing to see an agency that actually believes in enforcing our clean air laws.  We’ve gotten too comfortable with allowing substandard permits through TCEQ, and our air quality and our quality of life have suffered the consequences.  We must put the public’s interest above the special interests of the polluters if we are to pass on a better Texas than we found to our children and grandchildren.

Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club –

The Sierra Club welcomes today’s action by EPA to disapprove portions of the State of Texas air pollution control program. Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears for years, but the new Administration at EPA is taking action once again to enforce the nation’s environmental protection laws.  We now need EPA to take swift action to ensure that every permit issued in Texas complies with the Clean Air Act’s health based protections.

Matthew Tejada, Executive Director of GHASP, Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention

This means two things to GHASP and for everyone in the Houston region: first it means that President Obama and Administrator Lisa Jackson have solidly put the EPA back where it is supposed to be – aggressively protecting the human and environmental health of this country.  Second, and possibly most important for us in Houston, it means that the government has finally jammed a crowbar into the most opaque and ineffective air permitting program in the country in order to shed a little bit of light – and hopefully let in a little bit of clean air.

The EPA will post notice for comments in the Federal Registry and the public will have sixty days to comment.

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Austin Rally to Protest the Possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court Will Allow Corporations to Unleash Flood of Money Into Elections

Court Is Considering Sweeping Away a Century’s Worth of Campaign Finance Principles

WHAT: Rally to raise awareness about the U.S. Supreme Court re-hearing Wednesday of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court has signaled it is considering sweeping away a century-old pillar of campaign finance principles: restrictions on direct corporate financing of candidate campaigns. If that were to happen, not only would the nature of elections change fundamentally, but corporations would further crowd out voters and the public interest in policymaking on health care, climate change and other critical issues.

This rally is part of Public Citizen’s campaign to encourage citizen protests throughout the country. To learn about Public Citizen’s campaign and for more information about the case, go to www.DontGetRolled.org.

WHO: Public Citizen staff, members, activists and concerned citizens.

WHEN: 11 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, Sept. 9

WHERE: South Steps of Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX

VISUALS: A parody and a protest.

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The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone has a Happy Labor Day, and notes that it won’t be any work at all to read this week’s roundup of blog highlights.

ExxonMobil! Free Mrs. Burns!

Like TXsharon, Elizabeth Burns is a reluctant activist forced into action by the horrendous environmental abuses she witnesses on her own ranch. Her videos have exposed reckless drilling practices by XOM that endanger human health and safety, harm wildlife and spoil air, soil and water. XOM has gagged Mrs. Burns claiming that she is revealing “trade secrets.”

Neil at Texas Liberal made note of elections in Japan. These elections have moved Japan to the left and possibly changed politics in Japan for years to come.

Off the Kuff discusses the latest entrants into the Texas Governor’s race.

Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger takes a look at the BARACKNOPHOBIA gripping a small minority of the people in some parts of Texas.

The Texas Cloverleaf announces its intention to not run for Governor.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why SMU is still supporting a Bush policy institute. Isn’t that like the Larry, Moe and Curly institute of higher learning?

Felix Alvarado’s problems managing his checking account are a precursor of bigger troubles ahead for Texas Democrats in 2010, reports PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Dembones at Eye On Williamson posts about the latest craziness from the crackpots in our country, More fake outrage from right wing astroturf.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw helps out understand the latest right wing melt down in his posting The Right Wing Goes Ballastic Again . If their unhinged outrage leaves you scratching your head, check it out!

WhosPlayin readers divided their time between rallying for health insurance reform and standing up to the Lewisville ISD’s silly decision to BLOCK the President’s speech from its classrooms.

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We  are pleased to announce that Public Citizen has a new President, so we cross-posted this from our mama blog, CitizenVox so y’all could get to know him, too.  Please to enjoy!

My name is Robert Weissman, and I am very excited to join Public Citizen as its new president.

For nearly 40 years, Public Citizen has pioneered cutting-edge advocacy on the crucial issues of the day. As a result, we all are a lot safer and healthier, our government works for more people and our democracy functions better.

But for all we’ve achieved, powerful corporate interests have managed to shape the policy agenda. On each of the top-line issues of the day – climate change, health care and financial re-regulation – corporate interests are blocking the changes we need for a more just and ecologically sustainable future. The majority whip in the Senate even says the banks “own the place.”

We can’t allow Big Business to continue to set the agenda and write the rules. And we won’t.

As we look forward to the challenges ahead, Public Citizen will continue to do everything it has done so well for nearly four decades.

We are going to do some other things, too. We will be more creative on the Internet. We will develop new ways to work with you, so that together we build new forms of citizen power. We will invest more in organizing people, both online and on-the-ground. Together, we will innovate ways to change the way Washington works.

For the past 20 years, I’ve worked on corporate accountability projects at Essential Action and the Center for Study of Responsive Law here in Washington, D.C. I’ve also edited a magazine, Multinational Monitor, which tracks the activities of multinational corporations and reports on the global economy. I’ve seen the panoply of organizations working on consumer, environmental and corporate accountability issues. Public Citizen has always stood out for its extraordinarily talented and committed staff, with deep expertise in a wide set of issues. I’m thrilled to join this team.

Public Citizen has also been unique for its fierce independence, its commitment to advancing the public interest across a broad issue spectrum, and its insistence on focusing on root problems and solutions. I promise that we’ll maintain those characteristics as we go forward.

For 27 years, Joan Claybrook provided Public Citizen with inspirational leadership, boundless energy and good humor, strategic vision and the force of her personality. She has been deeply committed to advancing health and safety, defending victims of corporate wrongdoing, and campaigning for a better and more responsive democracy. I am deeply honored to follow in her footsteps. She remains on our board and will continue to guide us.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for the generosity you have shown to Public Citizen. Your commitment and dedication are what allow this organization to thrive, and I hope it will continue for years to come. Public Citizen is an organization that belongs to all of us.

I am humbled by the enormity of the task ahead but know that with your help, we will build new forms of citizen power together. Please tell me what you’d like to see in Public Citizen’s future by posting a comment below or sending an email to [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you.

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