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Archive for February 25th, 2010

This is the launch of our Get to Know an Activist Series. Everyday the staff of Public Citizen Texas works to protect and enhance the rights of Texas citizens. We scrutinize, work to reform, and disseminate the details of local policy and energy issues to ensure that our government is of, for, and by the people. But who are the people behind the protests and press releases?

That’s why we’re introducing the Get to Know an Activist Series. Across the coming weeks, our new communications intern Patrick Reck will interview the staff at our Austin office to show the community who is defending it.

To begin, Citizen Sarah turned the camera on our burgeoning blogger Patrick to see what makes him type…

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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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Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUC), made this statement regarding the “progress” Texas has been making in regards to green energy and “responsible” leadership:

Texas is the nation’s reddest state on the political map. But it produces more green energy than any blue state. The state’s top political leaders are fiercely fighting federal cap-and-trade legislation, but the state is No. 2 behind only New York when it comes to reducing the production of carbon dioxide emissions. (From the Texas Energy Report)

This is true, IF you completely ignore the plethora of new coal plants being proposed and built in Texas. Texas already has 17 coal plants (more than any other state), and there are 12 or 13 more being proposed or built (also more than any other state – by far). Current reductions in greenhouse gases include improved building codes, energy efficiency programs, replacement of pilot lights, air conditioning retrofitting, and wind farms. The reduction of greenhouse gases from all these amounts to about 16 million tons a year. If you add in the wind farms that still need transmission lines built to access their power you get around 43 million tons a year. This sounds great until you realize that the recent coal plant proposals would add 77 million tons of CO2 to our atmosphere every year – far more than offsetting these reductions.

While reductions in greenhouse gasses should, of course, be applauded, it is misleading for Chairman Smitherman to take credit for Texas reducing greenhouse gas emissions when he knows there are so many coal plants looming on the horizon that will completely overwhelm these significant reductions. If Texas were really serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions we would not allow anymore unnecessary coal plants to be built, and start replacing the old ones we have with renewable forms of power generation. This would do far more than anything to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and the public health and environmental health benefits from getting off a fossil-fuel based electric system would far outweigh the cost.

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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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Original post can be found at our DC “Citizen Energy” blog

President Obama wants to triple the loan program for construction of new nuclear reactors, to $54 billion.

The nuclear loan guarantee program commits taxpayers to not only underwrite risky nuclear reactor projects, but also allows wealthy nuclear utilities to borrow the money from the government’s Federal Financing Bank- funds for this bank come directly from the U.S Treasury. You might want to read that again.

If you are struggling with the absurdity of a program that allows taxpayer dollars to both guarantee and provide direct loans for billion dollar projects that the Congressional Budget Office has found will default 50% of the time, you are not alone.

On February 25th, Public Citizen and several ally organizations are calling on their members to tell Congress to stop the tripling of the nuclear loan program. The proposal to expand this ill-conceived program is not a done deal. So, please join us to stop this boondoggle. You can reach all of your Congress members at 202-224-3121.

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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.

Read Full Post »