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Archive for September 13th, 2010

Welcome sign posted at the Corpus Christi, Tex...

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We’ve got an Action Alert! This week, hundreds of people from Corpus Christi and across Texas will be calling the Environmental Protection Agency to ask them to ensure that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is complying with the Federal Clean Air Act. To protect our air, our water, our earth, and our health, we are going to make our voices heard!

Under the federal Clean Air Act, the EPA has the power to intervene in any permitting process to make sure that polluters are complying with the law.

In the case of the Las Brisas Energy Center, the situation is critical and we need the EPA to step in. Pollution will increase by 82%, they’ll dump 220 pounds of mercury a year, the plant will use 3 million gallons of water a day, and Nueces and San Patricio Counties will almost certainly reach ozone non-attainment levels, which means pricey smog-checks for everybody and a rollback of production for local industries.

So, we’ve decided to call the EPA’s enforcement offices. We have two sample scripts for you to help you out, and remember: don’t be nervous! They are nice people, so don’t forget to smile (even though they can’t see you) and say thanks!

Call Gina McCarthy, head of enforcement at the EPA at 202-564-7404. If she’s not there, leave a message!

Script:

Concerned citizen (that’s you): “Hello Ms. McCarthy, my name is ___, and I’d like to bring an important issue to your attention.”

EPA: “Sure, go right ahead.”

Concerned Citizen:

1) “I am really concerned with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s permitting process on the Las Brisas Energy Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. I am worried about pollution in our air, our water, and our soil. I am calling to ask that the EPA intervene and ensure that the the permit complies with the Federal Clean Air Act. Thank you for your time.”

OR

2) “I have a real problem with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s permitting process as it considers whether to grant the Las Brisas Energy Center an air permit for its proposed petroleum coke plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. TCEQ officials have expressly stated that a case by case MACT analysis is not needed for this plant. I know that means that TCEQ is letting Las Brisas pollute at greater quantities into my area and with less oversight. I am calling to ask that the EPA intervene and ensure that the permit complies with the Federal Clean Air Act. Thank you for your time.”

You just did a good deed! Pat yourself on the back, email this to your friends, and stay tuned by checking out Public Citizen on Facebook, www.TexasGreenReport.org, Texas Sierra Club on Facebook, and @TexasSierraClub on Twitter.

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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For those in Austin who don’t know, the EGRSO (the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office… I had to look it up too) gets a substantial portion of its funding from the municipally-owned utility Austin Energy. What does this office do? From its city website:

[The EGRSO] implements the City of Austin Economic Development Policy as directed by the Austin City Council.

Essentially, the office provides grants and loans of city funds or services in order to promote economic development. Among its awardees are Facebook, LegalZoom, Heliovolt, Friday Night Lights, and the Home Depot Austin Technology Center.

Recently, the Electric Utility Commission voted unanimously to cut AE’s funding of the EGRSO, citing the fact that AE faces tough budget choices inside its own walls. Commissioner Shudde Fath wrote in the Business Journal that AE can no longer be the city’s cash cow.

EUC Chairman Phillip Schmandt released a statement on the matter yesterday:

I applaud EGRSO and its programs.  There are many great ideas in EGROS’ $10 Million budget.

But not every great idea should be funded with government money.

And more to the point, not every great idea should be funded from utility bills paid by our hard working customers who are struggling to make ends meet every month. (more…)

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