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Archive for November 23rd, 2010

Regardless of your car needs, a more fuel efficient vehicle is available. But we can do better!

As Texas families prepare for one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, a new Environment Texas report finds that more fuel efficient cars could save Texans over $16 million at the gas pump this Thanksgiving holiday alone. The report was released as new federal fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks are being developed. (more…)

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced the opportunity for public participation in a hearing on an Early Site Permit (ESP) application for a site in Victoria County, Texas.

Exelon submitted its ESP application on March 25, seeking the NRC’s determination on whether the site is suitable for a nuclear power facility, contingent on the approval of an additional application for a construction permit or combined license. An ESP is valid for 10 to 20 years and can potentially be renewed for an additional 10 to 20 years. The Exelon application, minus proprietary and security-related details, is available on the NRC website at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/esp/victoria.html.

The NRC staff has determined that the application contains sufficient information for the agency to formally “docket,” or file, the application and begin its technical review. Docketing the application does not preclude requests for additional information as the review proceeds; nor does it indicate whether the Commission will issue the permit. The docket number established for this application is 52-042.

The NRC has issued in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity for the public to intervene inthe proceeding on the application (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-29481.pdf), and the deadline for requesting a hearing is Jan. 24, 2011. Petitions may be filed by anyone whose interest may be affected by the proposed license, who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding, and who meets criteria set out in the NRC’s regulations. Background information regarding the hearing process was provided by NRC staff to members of the public during an April 15 public information session in Victoria, Texas.

A petition to intervene must be electronically submitted in a timely manner to the NRC’s Electronic Information Exchange (EIE) system. The petition to intervene must be filed in accordance with the NRC’s E-Filing Rule that appeared in the Federal Register on Aug. 28, 2007

(http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-16898.pdf). Additional guidance and instructions regarding electronic submissions to the NRC EIE system is available on the NRC web pages at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

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Texans living around the Victoria region attended a town hall in September to express their concerns about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on a number of different issues, including the proposed White Stallion coal plant in Bay City. On the panel were Sunset Commission Chairman Sen. Glenn Hegar, former TCEQ commissioner Larry Soward, the regional administrator of TCEQ for that area, and a lawyer with Blackburn & Carter who often take on environmental cases.

This town hall was one of a series of events held to provide the people of Texas a way in which to voice their concerns to TCEQ. The official Sunset Commission hearing on TCEQ is scheduled for December 15th in Austin. For more video footage of these town halls check our archives and stay tuned to TexasVOX. For more information on the ongoing Sunset review of TCEQ check out Alliance for a Clean Texas.

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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 arePublic Citizen Texas.

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In a Republican dominated America with many Republicans deeply skeptical of global warming, it is unlikely the new Congress will do much on the energy front. A broad plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and use the revenue to fund alternative energy — known as cap-and-trade — is dead

Vyng for the leadership post of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce when the Republicans take the reins in January are four interesting contenders:

  • Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill, who last year, while quoting the Bible in a House hearing said, “The earth will end only when God decides it’s time to be over. ‘This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.’”
  • Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who apologized to BP for what he called a White House “shakedown” when it agreed to establishing the $20 billion Gulf oil spill trust fund;
  • Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, who wants to open up Alaska’s wildlife refuge to drilling; and
  • Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan who is considered the front-runner and probably the most moderate of the bunch.  He has vowed to eliminate an offshoot of the committee, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and wrote in a recent editorial, “The American people do not need Congress to spend millions of dollars to write reports and fly around the world.  We must terminate this wasteful committee.”

There is one thing the newly empowered Republicans are sure to go after: the Environmental Protection Agency.

Over the past year, the EPA (after classifing greenhouse gases as a public health threat and then being under court order to do so after losing a Supreme Court challenge by the state of Massachusetts while under the Bush administration) has been quietly working on the sidelines to draft up rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Heavily targeted would be power plants, refineries, and heavy industries such as steel and concrete.

Republican lawmakers have made their intent clear and we can expect them to push for  more oversight of the EPA.  Even going as far as to try to pass legislation to limit the EPA’s authority.

Just last week, EPA issued guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions that will take effect this January. The guidelines were not particularly strict, which analysts took as a sign that the agency was willing to work with industry, but also as a sign that it plans on pressing ahead with its plan to regulate these gases

It seems that dealing with EPA is becoming a reality and Republican efforts to reign them in could get ugly.

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