Archive for May 13th, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says if an amendment to HB 2694 remains on the TCEQ Sunset bill, undermining federal regulations at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, TCEQ could risk losing its permitting authority and EPA might have to intervene directly in Texas permitting cases.

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place), whose sunset legislation for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality won unanimous Senate approval Thursday, said she stripped out all House amendments, including one that prompted a letter from the EPA.

The most controversial House amendment, added by Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa), would shift the burden of proof in a contested case from the company applying for a permit to a citizen challenging the permit.

In an April 29 letter from EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield to the Sunset Advisory Committee Chairman Sen. Glenn Hegar,  the EPA said House changes could affect how federal requirements apply to federal permits issued by TCEQ and that “jeopardizes EPA’s approval and/or authorization” for Texas permitting programs.  The letter also specifically addressed the shifting of burdens to a person contesting a permit, saying that affects “Texas’ public participation process.”

While contested case hearings are not required by federal law, Chisum’s change would warrant federal review to make sure the legislation doesn’t conflict with federal law.

The EPA letter to Senator Glenn Hegar can be found here.

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The House and Senate Energy Appropriations Committees are beginning to work on the FY 2012 federal budget. That means they are beginning to decide the fate of the loan guarantee program for new nuclear reactor construction.  The first vote in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy is expected before June 2–within the next three weeks.

President Obama has asked that this program be increased by $36 Billion. That’s on top of the $10.2 Billion already in the program and the $8.3 already promised to Southern Company for construction of the Vogtle reactors in Georgia. Plus there is money for uranium enrichment plants in Idaho and Ohio.

Meanwhile, partly in response to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan–the world’s third and fourth largest economies–Japan and Germany are marching ahead with new energy policies that will focus on clean and safe renewable energy and energy efficiency.

According to a March 2011 poll conducted for the Civil Society Institute, 73% of the American people oppose federal loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. An April 2011 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 64% oppose new reactor construction entirely.

What you can do!  National Nuclear-Free Call-In Day, Wednesday, May 18. Please call your members of Congress and demand an end to the nuclear loan program. The members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are listed below. It is especially important that these members receive your calls. You can reach every member of Congress at 202-224-3121

House Appropriations Committee
    Republican Members:
    * Hal Rogers, Kentucky, Chairman
    * C.W. Bill Young, Florida
    * Jerry Lewis, California
    * Frank Wolf, Virginia
    * Jack Kingston, Georgia
    * Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey
    * Tom Latham, Iowa
    * Robert Aderholt, Alabama
    * Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri
    * Kay Granger, Texas
    * Mike Simpson, Idaho
    * John Culberson, Texas
    * Ander Crenshaw, Florida
    * Denny Rehberg, Montana
    * John Carter, Texas
    * Rodney Alexander, Louisiana
    * Ken Calvert, California
    * Jo Bonner, Alabama
    * Steve LaTourette, Ohio
    * Tom Cole, Oklahoma
    * Jeff Flake, Arizona
    * Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
    * Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania
    * Steve Austria, Ohio
    * Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming
    * Tom Graves, Georgia
    * Kevin Yoder, Kansas
    * Steve Womack, Arkansas
    * Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi

    Democrat Members
    * Norman D. Dicks, Washington, Ranking Member
    * Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
    * Pete Visclosky, Indiana
    * Nita Lowey, New York
    * José Serrano, New York
    * Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut
    * Jim Moran, Virginia
    * John Olver, Massachusetts
    * Ed Pastor, Arizona
    * David Price, North Carolina
    * Maurice Hinchey, New York
    * Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
    * Sam Farr, California
    * Jesse Jackson, Jr., Illinois
    * Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania
    * Steve Rothman, New Jersey
    * Sanford Bishop, Georgia
    * Barbara Lee, California
    * Adam Schiff, California
    * Mike Honda, California
    * Betty McCollum, Minnesota

    Senate Appropriations Committee
    Democrat Members
* Daniel Inouye, Hawaii, Chairman
    * Patrick Leahy, Vermont
    * Tom Harkin, Iowa
    * Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
    * Herb Kohl, Wisconsin
    * Patty Murray, Washington
    * Dianne Feinstein, California
    * Dick Durbin, Illinois
    * Tim Johnson, South Dakota
    * Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
    * Jack Reed, Rhode Island
    * Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
    * Ben Nelson, Nebraska
    * Mark Pryor, Arkansas
    * Jon Tester, Montana
    * Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Republican Members
    * Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Vice Chairman
    * Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
    * Richard Shelby, Alabama
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas
    * Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
    * Susan Collins, Maine
    * Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
    * Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
    * Mark Kirk, Illinois
    * Dan Coats, Indiana
    * Roy Blunt, Missouri
    * Jerry Moran, Kansas
    * John Hoeven, North Dakota
    * Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

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