San Antonio Nuclear Showdown TONIGHT

boxingUPDATE: The streaming audio from last night’s event was, unfortunately, very hard to listen to — but folks who weren’t willing to wade through the feedback can watch our video of the town hall in its entirety, which we should be able to post in the next couple days 🙂

Tonight KSTX will host a Town Hall on Energy in San Antonio to provide the forum we’ve all been waiting for — an honest and open debate of whether or not SA should invest in two new nuclear reactors and the safe, clean alternatives that SA can choose to meet its future energy needs.

The Clean Technology Forum will provide an opportunity for a similar opportunity for this discussion — but at $50 a pop, only the most well-heeled San Antonians will be able to attend.  KSTX’s Town Hall, by contrast, will be free and open to the public.  Folks who would like to attend in person should plan on being at the McAllister Auditorium at San Antonio College (SAC) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm — but if you can’t make it, never fear.  KSTX will be streaming the conversation live from their website www.tpr.org, as well as carrying the town hall on the radio at 89.1 FM. You can also submit your question on Facebook or Twitter — three cheers for interactivity!

Should be a good show — maybe even a bit of a sparring match, judging by the panelists.  In one corner we’ve got: Michael Kotara, Executive Vice President for Energy Development, CPS Energy and Mayor Julián Castro, who supports the nuclear option even though he would rather San Antonio own 20% rather than 40% of the new reactors.  In the other, Lanny Sinkin, Executive Director, Solar San Antonio and co-founder of Citizens Against Nuclear Power and Public Citizen’s own Tom “Smitty” Smith, whitehat extraordinaire and lifelong agitator of the nuclear bad guys (because, as Smitty likes to repeat “you’ve got to agitate to get the dirt out“).

Texas Vox will be on hand to videotape the town hall, and you can follow our tweets live from @publiccitizentx.  Be sure to look for a follow up blog post and video in the next couple days!

Our regular readers already know how we feel about the issue at Public Citizen: San Antonio citizens can’t afford the huge 50% rate hikes that would result from involvement in the proposed nukes at South Texas Project. The billions that San Antonio would sink into the nuclear money pit should instead be spent in San Antonio, creating local jobs in energy efficiency, retrofitting homes and businesses, and developing clean renewable energy technologies including solar, wind and geothermal power.

Hope you can make it out to the event, listen in, or follow up on our post and videos tomorrow!  Look for event details and panelist bios after the jump.

KSTX Town Hall: Energy

San Antonio’s energy needs in the past have been met by using natural gas, coal and nuclear power. As the city and the metropolitan area’s population have grown, how the energy needs of the future will be met is being studied and discussed. Use of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are being touted as a way to provide clean energy, but which path is the right one to take to make sure San Antonio stays powered?

Join us for our next KSTX Town Hall on Energy as we host a solutions-based conversation between energy experts and the public. Texas Public Radio’s Terry Gildea will lead a dialog on how we can meet the metropolitan area’s growing energy needs while minimizing our impact on the environment.

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: McAllister Auditorium (San Antonio College)

1300 San Pedro Avenue, San Antonio, TX 78212

The KSTX Town Hall on energy will stream live here on www.tpr.org the day of the event. Have a question for our panelists? Email us to [email protected] You can also submit your question on Facebook or Twitter. This KSTX Town Hall is made possible by H-E-B.


Mayor Julián Castro

Julián Castro was elected Mayor of San Antonio on May 9, 2009. A 34 year-old San Antonio native, Mayor Castro is the youngest mayor of a major American city. In 2001, at the age of 26, Castro became the youngest elected city councilman in San Antonio history. Throughout his tenure in public service, Mayor Castro has championed a vision of economic growth and a top-notch quality of life for all San Antonians. In 2005, Castro founded The Law Offices of Julián Castro, PLLC, a civil litigation practice. He has served on the board of Family Services Association, the Clear Channel San Antonio Advisory Board and the San Antonio National Bank Advisory Board. In addition to his community service, Mayor Castro has taught courses at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Trinity University and St. Mary’s University. Mayor Castro earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University with honors and distinction in 1996 and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2000.

Lanny Sinkin, Executive Director, Solar San Antonio

A native of San Antonio, Lanny Sinkin is Executive Director for Solar San Antonio, an advocacy and resource center dedicated to renewable and sustainable energy. His wide-ranging environmental career has spanned over three decades. In the 1970’s, Sinkin served as Executive Director of the Urban Coalition of Metropolitan San Antonio and volunteer for the Aquifer Protection Association. As co-founder of Citizens Against Nuclear Power, he represented the group for nearly ten years in Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing hearings for the South Texas Nuclear Project, Units 1 and 2. Sinkin is also the co-founder of Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary, a safe haven for hundreds of homeless cats and dogs on the island of Hawaii.

Michael Kotara, Executive Vice President for Energy Development, CPS Energy

Michael Kotara is the Executive Vice President of Energy Development at CPS Energy. In this role, Mr. Kotara is responsible for power generation and wholesale energy market activities. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Kotara served as Vice President of Wholesale Energy Markets, and he also previously served as the Vice President of the Gas Business Unit. Mr. Kotara started his career at CPS Energy in 1985, and he has held several other leadership positions including Director of Fuels, Director of Generation Control & Marketing, Director of Gas Engineering.

Mr. Kotara is a licensed professional mechanical engineer in the State of Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mr. Kotara’s professional memberships include the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Texas Public Power Association and Gulf Coast Power Association. He is also a member and past chairman of the Texas Gas Association. Locally, Mr. Kotara is a member of the Optimist Club of San Antonio, and he is an advisor on Trinity University’s Engineering Science Board of Advisors.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas Director, Public Citizen

Smith has been Director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office since 1985. He is widely recognized for directing a multi-issue consumer and environmental advocacy organization: directing and managing research; developing policy initiatives; analyzing, commenting and testifying on regulatory and legislative issues; and communicating with officeholders, policy makers, the public and the press. A major current initiative of Public Citizen is the Texas Energy Efficiency partnership, a joint project with Environmental Defense and the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. The partnership advances state and local energy efficiency policies and actions to combat global warming.