Archive for February 22nd, 2010

Anybody catch this article last week in the Houston Chronicle? An important issue to think about: how coal plants will not only affect the surrounding air quality, but that of communities down wind. If the White Stallion coal plant is allowed to be built: Houston, we will have an even worse smog problem. Look for Ryan’s quote to close it out!

City’s smog concerns may choke power plant

Pollution near Matagorda could drift to Houston



A proposed coal-fired power plant in mostly rural Matagorda County, 90 miles from the traffic-choked freeways and smokestacks of Houston, has moved to the center of the debate over the big city’s air.

Some federal regulators, Houston lawmakers, and environmentalists say the proposed White Stallion Energy Center would only exacerbate the city’s stubborn smog problem as tougher nationwide limits for the widespread pollutant come into play.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for one, wants Texas regulators to prove that pollution from the coal plant would not make Houston’s smog worse before issuing permits. Critics also want the state to require the power company to consider new technology that might slash emissions of smog-forming pollution.

The push comes amid a review of the proposal by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which will soon recommend whether the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should grant the plant’s air permit.

The plant would be built less than 20 miles from the boundary of the eight-county Houston region that was long in violation of federal limits for smog or ozone. Rules on industrial pollution — in particular, new sources — are tighter inside such areas than outside, even though smog ignores county lines. (more…)

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Agency Is Refusing to Adhere to an Order to Release Document That Would Help Determine Safety of New Nuclear Reactors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should stop balking and provide a critical document that would reveal how the owners of a Texas nuclear plant expansion project plan to deal with a fire or explosion, three public interest groups told the commission late last week.

Three administrative judges of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board have ordered the agency to provide at least a redacted version, but NRC staffers have refused. The NRC’s lack of transparency could impact the ability to get adequate safety-related information not only about the South Texas Project (STP) but about other proposed reactors around the country as well.

Late Friday, the groups – the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Public Citizen and the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy – filed a brief with the NRC. It noted that the NRC staff’s refusal to provide the information violated President Barack Obama’s new transparency policy. The groups also said the NRC is acting arbitrarily and trying to shut the public out of NRC proceedings.

“After the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress required new fire and safety standards for all new plants and the NRC developed rules to reflect this. Now, the NRC is trying to do its work behind closed doors, and its staffers are literally making up how to handle information as they go along, keeping as much secret as possible,” said Karen Hadden, executive director of the SEED Coalition. “Without disclosure of this information, we can’t tell how well the NRC is doing in protecting the public.” (more…)

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Tonight, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell will host a town hall meeting on an energy plan for Austin Energy that would establish our own carbon dioxide cap and reduction plan. The great news is that by 2020, Austin’s investments in solar, wind and energy efficiency would allow us to reduce our dependence on the Fayette coal plant by 30 percent! The town hall meeting is our opportunity to show widespread public support for the plan.

Please attend the mayor’s town hall meeting at 6 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, Feb. 22, at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd.

Public Citizen will have a table outside the auditorium where we will gather signatures for the Clean Energy for Austin coalition. Working with other environmental organizations, we’ve gained the support of more than 70 businesses, 18 nonprofits and over 200 individuals, who are calling on the City Council to pass the clean energy plan. But we need you to come to this town hall and show your support.

This is your opportunity to ask questions, learn more and have your input heard by our mayor. In addition, city officials will be asking questions of the audience, so you can tell the mayor and City Council that you want a clean energy future for our town.

So please endorse Clean Energy for Austin, and come to the meeting Monday night. We hope to see you there!


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that early voting runs through this Friday at 7 PM for the primaries as it brings you this week’s blog highlights.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is amazed that anger is directed toward the Internal Revenue Service when Americans elect the very people who make the laws IRS enforces. Joe Stack targeted the wrong end of this chain. Taxpayers get end up owing money because they do not understand the laws their representatives make. Tax and Defiance – Short Sighted Protester, Joe Stack.

In times of depleting incomes, Republican Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack brags about his $2.3 Million tax funded soap box derby track.

Two Steps Forward One Step Back for Tainted Texas Air at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy reflects on the next 40 days of protest that are taking place at Planned Parenthood, and reviews a performance of the Vagina Monologues at Texas A&M. Also, a look at the poll numbers in the campaign to be the next governor of Texas, and a review of the week in headlines.

The Conservative Politicians Against Compromise convention picked an old-school nutjob as the presidential nominee in 2012, notes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Republicans hate education so much? Why make community colleges unaffordable?

In Lewisville, the school district has revoked consent for a community organization use their parking lots to gather signatures for a petition drive on the weekend.

In what will come as a massive surprise, McBlogger endorses Hank Gilbert. Find out why here.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that even without the severe decrease in sales tax receipts Texas would still be facing a budget crisis, Understanding the budget and Texas’ structural deficit.

Off the Kuff notes the humor of our Attorney General suing to protect the sanctity of divorce.

Libby shaw at TexasKaos does the accountability analysis on the GOP stimulus hypocrites. See her scorecard here; TX U.S. House Members Join Senators in GOP Hall of Hypocritical Shame.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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