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Posts Tagged ‘clean air’

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/is-the-epa-trying-to-destroy-rick-perrys-texa/blog/36841/

Earlier this month Rick Perry denied the reality of climate change at a presidential debate. This week Governor “Good-Hair” has continued his crusade of fact fabrication and blamed the loss of 500 Texas jobs on the EPA and its new regulations (called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule or CSAPR). This accusation came just after TXU/Luminant, the largest power generating company in Texas, announced it would be shutting down two of its coal units. While Luminant is taking a step in the right direction, this unethical tactic of blaming impending EPA regulations for job losses has become old hat for politicians like Perry and large fossil-fuel corporations like Luminant.

Accusations like this are nothing new. The fossil-fuel industry shrilly shouted the same kind of job-killing rhetoric over forty years ago when the Clean Air Act was passed. Instead of killing jobs, however, the Clean Air Act created them. Many studies have shown that the economic benefits, including job creation, of making polluters clean up their act far outweigh any negative impacts (such as layoffs at plants).

Unfortunately, it looks like President Obama has been drinking the same Industry-financed kool-aid as his main opponent. The President has announced that these crucial smog-reducing rules will be pushed back to 2013 (at the earliest). President Obama should be ashamed of his decision to delay these rules. He has, in effect, sacrificed human lives and the lungs of children because big-energy lobbyists have whined about it. The excessive pollution from Luminant’s three dirtiest coal plants is estimated to cause one premature death every three days. Whether Obama or Perry (as the likely candidate) wins the next presidential election, it looks like neither will stand up to corporate polluters for the sake of American lives. Visit Greenpeace online to sign a petition asking Obama to reverse this decision.

The EPA’s purpose is not to coddle fossil-fuel industries, nor to ensure their profit margins stay at ideal levels – it exists to protect human and environmental health. If companies in Texas like Luminant cannot conduct their business responsibly and acknowledge the pollution and harm they cause, then they must be held accountable by the public and our leaders.

Texans are paying the price for the cowardice of our politicians and the irresponsibility of these large energy corporations. These Luminant plants are some of the dirtiest coal plants in the country. Why should we have to pay higher medical bills and environmental clean up costs so that companies like Luminant can maximize profits?

This report from TR Rose Associates shows in detail how Luminant’s shuttering of these coal plants is most likely due to poor financial management. Considering that these plants are practically worthless for Luminant it makes sense for them to shut them down. This retirement has everything to do with the energy market and Luminant’s mismanagement of their resources and very little to do with any new EPA regulations.

Luminant should follow the example of the TVA, who announced back in April the closure of 18 coal plants. TVA further committed to retraining their workers for jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy – both fields which are likely to employ more people than traditional fossil-fuels. Luminant could easily end this boondoggle and shut down all three of their large, old, dirty plants: Monticello, Martin Lake, and Big Brown. Texas has some of the best solar, wind and geothermal potential in the country. There is no reason, or excuse, for TXU to lay off any workers from any of these old plants, when the company could easily retrain them and invest in geothermal plants throughout that region. If these workers are abandoned it will be Luminant’s fault, not EPA’s.

These regulations should be seen as an opportunity for Texas to embrace renewable energy generation and to transition our power generation (and the relative jobs) to new facilities and programs that use this century’s technology, not last century’s. Luminant and Governor Perry should stop scapegoating the EPA and take responsibility for the health of the public and the future of energy generation in Texas. We Texans should do all we can to encourage and promote that kind of action.

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The Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT) hosts another town hall addressing TCEQ sunset.

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Video footage of a public meeting back in March for the Dallas, TX region. EPA has proposed a new NOx attainment standard, and this meeting was held during the comment period. Though an official EPA meeting had been held in Houston, there was no official meeting for Dallas (where Region 6 offices of EPA are located) so a number of environmental groups got together to host and sponsor this event. The last video is of some folks who didn’t speak at the event itself but who wanted to submit video comments to the EPA. The event was sponsored by Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Downwinders at Risk, and other individuals and environmental organizations. Rep. Lon Burnam presided over the entire meeting and was joined throughout by Mayor Cluck of Arlington, TX and other representatives and officials, including one from the TCEQ.

Press Conference

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This editorial from the Dallas Morning News is a little bit old news, responding to Governor Perry’s lawsuit against the EPA’s endangerment finding about carbon dioxide, BUT I really like the message that clean air vs. jobs is a false choice.  Because everything we would have to do to create a new clean economy, is a JOB. Windmills don’t manufacture themselves, solar panels aren’t going to get up on the roof unless someone bolts them there, and weatherstripping isn’t going to take it off without an audience protect your house from air conditioning leaks unless someone gets in there and give you an energy audit. So, better late than never: read on!

Editorial: Clean air vs. jobs is a false choice

Sure, it buttresses his campaign theme, casting him as the protector of Texas jobs against employment-crippling federal environmental mandates. And Perry is right when he says Texas has a lot a stake.

But his approach is troublingly shortsighted. The lawsuit relies on thinking about the state’s past, not its future, and it falsely pits jobs against clean air. Instead of opposing the tougher air quality rules, Austin would be wise to focus instead on how best to be a leader in a less carbon-dependent economy.

Our state emits up to 35 percent of all greenhouse gases released by industrial sources in the United States, and the state’s energy sector remains a prominent generator of jobs. So it’s vital that Texas work on two tracks simultaneously – clean air and clean jobs.

Efforts to buck the shift won’t save jobs, but rather will tether Texas to 20th-century jobs in the 21st century and, thus, have considerable negative consequences on the state’s long-term economic health. Dirty air endangers health and also kills jobs, as California learned the hard way.

Texas’ legal gymnastics also are odd because the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases has already been decided. (more…)

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Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing on a newly proposed rule to strengthen federal ozone standards. A coalition of environmental and public health advocates called Clean Air Texas rallied in support of the new rule, which would improve air quality across the state and make our communities healthier.  Over a hundred citizens presented their comments to the EPA in support of the new, stronger rule — more than the EPA has seen at a public hearing in years.  Public Citizen was on hand to give comments and capture the stories of concerned citizens that came to the hearing, check out the videos below to hear what folks had to say!

Also check out this video of the press conference to hear what matters most about the ozone rule from activists with Kids for Clean Air, Public Citizen, the American Lung Association, Health Professionals for Clean Air, Sierra Club,  and the Galveston-Houston Alliance for Smog Prevention. The lead image is acting a little funny, but the video will still show up, I promise

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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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round upThe Texas Progressive Alliance is starting to feel an odd craving for can-shaped servings of cranberry sauce as it brings you this week’s highlights from the blogs.

TXsharon continues to follow the abuses of Aruba Petroleum in a Barnett Shale backyard and Wednesday the Wise County Messenger picked up the story. It’s all on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is really p*ssed that some South Texas Democrats voted against women’s health care.

WhosPlayin posted an interview with Neil Durrance, the Democratic candidate seeking to unseat Michael Burgess in Congressional District 26.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on some of the talk this past week about raising the statewide gas tax. All that being said there are only two options to pay for transportation in Texas, which will we choose Taxes or tolls?.

McBlogger takes a look at Sen. Hutchison’s decision not to resign from her Senate seat.

Off the Kuff looks at a threatened outbreak of homophobic behavior in the Houston Mayor’s race.

The War on Christmas starts early at The Texas Cloverleaf, complete with a beach landing at WalMart.

Sue Schechter announced for Harris County Clerk last week and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs caught the press release.

With Thanksgiving almost here, Neil at Texas Liberal ran a picture of a sultry pilgrim holding a turkey, and included in this post information about the status of women in Colonial New England.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, cleaner cars, 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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Texans Concerned about Clean Air and Building the new Green Jobs Economy ROLL BEYOND COAL across Texas this Halloween — Fun Events on Saturday, October 31

WHO: Public Officials, Businesses, Sierra Club and their Environmental Partners such as Public Citizen, and Bicycling Communities across Texas

WHAT: Roll Beyond Coal Rallies, Bike Rides, & Hikes for Clean Power, Green Jobs, & Clean Air

WHEN: Saturday, October 31, 2009

WHERE:

ALPINE 10 am, Kokernot Lodge, 1104 Loop Road, http://texas.sierraclub.org/bigbend/index.html

AUSTIN 1:00 Music and Rally on the Plaza at City Hall, Lavaca & W. Cesar Chavez. 2:00 Clean Energy Bike Tour (5 and 9 mile options) and Hikes. 3:00 – 5:00 After Party at Gingerman Pub, 301 Lavaca Street. http://www.texas.sierraclub.org/austin

BEAUMONT 8:00 am in the Colonnade Shopping Center at Dowlen Road & Phelan Blvd. We will offer a 7.3 mile route or you can choose the extended 14.1 mile route. http://texas.sierraclub.org/triangle/index.html

CORPUS CHRISTI Noon – 1:00 PM Registration, 1:00 Festival, 1:30 Bike fun ride begins (observe all traffic signs and signals), 1:35 PM Rollers and Strollers roll, 2:30-4:00 Rally http://www.cleaneconomycoalition.org/rbc

DALLAS Registration: 8:30 am. Bike ride: 10:30 am. White Rock Lake at The Bath House Cultural Center on 521 E. Lawther Drive in Dallas. Prizes to be given for the best Halloween and Clean Air costumes! Free Basic Bike Check-ups on site. http://www.dallassierraclub.org/

WHY: Public officials, Sierra Club activists, their environmental partners, and bicycling communities across Texas are bringing to light the serious problem of the second wave of the Texas Coal Rush.

In Rallies to Roll Beyond Coal and Clean Energy Bike Rides, and Hikes, Texans concerned about clean air and building a new green, clean energy economy are asking the EPA to take bold action by intervening on that freaky, frightening Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

There will be costumed riders and plenty of information about the current Second Wave of the Texas coal rush which is cresting this winter with 11 new coal plants in various stages of the permitting process, permitted, under construction, or coming on line. Texans from diverse walks of life are rallying at Roll Beyond Coal events for Halloween fun with a seriously scary message! There is a glimmer of hope in this tale!

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Environmental Groups welcome EPA’s proposed rejection of key elements of TCEQ’s air permitting plan and call for proper enforcement of Clean Air Act protections in Texas

(Austin)  — Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and the Galveston/Houston Association for Smog Prevent (GHASP) welcomed the EPA proposal today to disapprove key aspects of the Texas clean-air permitting program that “do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements” followed by other states.

Texas environmental community leaders commented on the proposed decision –

Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, Director of the Texas office of Public Citizen –

It’s refreshing to see an agency that actually believes in enforcing our clean air laws.  We’ve gotten too comfortable with allowing substandard permits through TCEQ, and our air quality and our quality of life have suffered the consequences.  We must put the public’s interest above the special interests of the polluters if we are to pass on a better Texas than we found to our children and grandchildren.

Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club –

The Sierra Club welcomes today’s action by EPA to disapprove portions of the State of Texas air pollution control program. Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears for years, but the new Administration at EPA is taking action once again to enforce the nation’s environmental protection laws.  We now need EPA to take swift action to ensure that every permit issued in Texas complies with the Clean Air Act’s health based protections.

Matthew Tejada, Executive Director of GHASP, Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention

This means two things to GHASP and for everyone in the Houston region: first it means that President Obama and Administrator Lisa Jackson have solidly put the EPA back where it is supposed to be – aggressively protecting the human and environmental health of this country.  Second, and possibly most important for us in Houston, it means that the government has finally jammed a crowbar into the most opaque and ineffective air permitting program in the country in order to shed a little bit of light – and hopefully let in a little bit of clean air.

The EPA will post notice for comments in the Federal Registry and the public will have sixty days to comment.

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Yesterday the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an official injunction against BP Products’s Texas City Refinery for “violating state health, safety and environmental protection laws, including the Texas Clean Air Act, the Texas Water Code, and the Texas Health & Safety Code.”  The refinery was cited for 46 separate emissions of unlawful pollutants, a violation of the Clean Air Act.  Among these was the emisssion responsible for the March 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170.

Between 2000 and 2007, the TCEQ filed 15 enforcement orders to get BP to clean up its act.   But it doesn’t look like the authority of the TCEQ was enough to stop the refinery from emitting hundreds of thousands of pounds of unauthorized pollutant emissions, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

According to the Attorney General’s press release,

Under Texas law, BP was required to report unlawful emissions to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and take corrective action to prevent future emissions. However, BP not only failed to report emissions to environmental regulators within the legally mandated deadlines–but also did not take the necessary measures to prevent additional unlawful emissions in a timely manner.

The injunction requires BP to implement all necessary measures to eliminate future unlawful emissions, which includes installing additional air quality monitors to ensure future compliance. The state is also seeking civil penalties, fines and attorneys’ fees.

It’s really good to see the government stepping in to enforce clean air laws.  Kudos to Abbott for stepping in to keep Texans safe and our air clean.

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government_uncle_sam_go_greenThe House has been moving very slowly in an effort to kill a Voter ID bill, but it appears the logjam has been broken. Now we have to pass our key solar and clean air bills before midnight Tuesday, May 26, which is the deadline for the House to pass any bills from the Senate.

We need YOU to pick up the phone and call your representative to say that you support solar energy and clean air.

Click here to find out who represents you, then call their office at the Capitol. Tell them:

I support SB 545, which would give homeowners incentives to put solar on their rooftops and create new green jobs.

I also support SB 541, which would support more large scale solar projects and repeat the success of our wind industry.

I also support SB 16, which would improve air quality through reducing auto emissions, better building codes, more energy efficiency, and plug-in hybrids. **If Texas does not adopt these 2009 IECC building codes, we could miss out on hundreds of millions in federal stimulus funds for weatherization.

Please support these bills in order to create tens of thousands of new green jobs in Texas and ensure a cleaner, cheaper, cooler energy future.

There are dozens of dirty energy lobbyists working to try to kill these bills as we speak. Will you stand up to them? Will you make your voice heard?

Call your Representative now!

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Original post created for the Alliance for a Clean Texas:

Over the past weekend, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) adopted the following resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED, That the Texas Medical Association (TMA) urges our state, local, and federal government leaders and legislators to act promptly and aggressively to reduce the health burden of pollution from vehicular, diesel, air toxics, and NAAQS criteria pollutant emissions.

TMA is to be applauded for adding its authoritative voice to the growing medical consensus that legislative action is necessary to protect the health of Texas citizens.

Right now, Texas medical organizations are joining together and calling for action. Last week, Health Professionals for Clean Air (a member of The Alliance for a Clean Texas) released its Consensus Statement on Reducing the Health Burden of Air Pollution in Texas. The following medical specialty societies have already endorsed the consensus statement:

  • Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Texas Chapter of the American College of Cardiology
  • Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians
  • Texas College of Emergency Physicians
  • Texas College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine
  • Texas Pediatric Society

Additionally, five other leading societies are currently reviewing the consensus statement (including the Texas Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society).

With four weeks left in the session, the Texas medical community has given the 81st Legislature a prescription: pass legislation that will reduce air toxics, vehicular emissions, mercury emissions, and improve overall air pollution “by basing air quality standards principally on human health.” This week is crucial for clean air legislation: SB 16 – Senator Averitt’s omnibus clean air bill – is still in House Environmental Regulation. (There’s a committee meeting this afternoon upon adjourment.) Additionally, the school bus idling bill (HB 4298), the school siting bill (HB 1839), the enhanced air monitor technology bill (HB 4581) and the comprehensive emissions database bill (HB 3582) have all been reported out of committee and should be on the House calendar.

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Happy Monday everybody!  Check out the latest from our friends at Alliance for a Clean Texas.  Original post can be found here.

earthdayhouston1This week, ACT is happy to bring reports from two organizations doing great work on behalf of their local communities. In Houston, the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention (GHASP) is presenting Houston Earth Day – the City of Houston’s official Earth Day celebration – this Saturday, April 11th. This FREE day-long festival focuses on green-living and features hands-on activities for everyone. There will be an Earth Zone (highlighting air, land, water and renewable energy), an Environmental Education Zone, Kids Energy Zone, and Farmers’ Market. Additional information about Houston Earth Day and Mothers for Clean Air’s Earth Day 5k is available here.

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The Hill Country Alliance reports that they support HB 3265 which will be heard in House County Affairs on Monday April 6. This bill represents the culmination of 18 months of collaboration between 15 rural Hill Country counties; it provides this sensitive area with a set of tools to handle growth – particularly the stress placed on water resources.

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Here are some interesting articles I’ve read this week, which I think are well worth reading in full.

recommended-readingTexas is taking a greater interest in global warming by Randy Lee Loftis at the Dallas Morning News

The Fight Plan for Clean Air by Kate Galbraith and Felicity Barringer, New York Times (word on the street that EPA will declare heat-trapping gases dangerous pollutants, keep your fingers crossed)

Solar’s time to shine in Texas? by Bill Dawson at Texas Climate News

The Fresh Prince of Clean Air: Prince Charles says financial crisis is ‘nothing’ compared to climate change, at Grist

Last chance for a slow dance? All the world fiddles as we near global warming’s point of no return by Greg Harman at the San Antonio Current — digg it up

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The Texas Governor announced this week that he supports legislation for a $5,000 rebate for plug-in hybrids. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Perry is an outspoken critic of government environmental regulation, saying that the “increasingly activist EPA['s]” initiatives to stem greenhouse gas output are “absolutely disastrous” for the Texas economy.  The WSJ says this initiative is to sidestep greater regulation from the DC mountaintop…he is throwing the liberals up there a bone so they will get off Texas’ case.

Perry Making a Point

From the governors prepared statement:

Rather than wait for more mandates and punishments for environmental non-attainment, let’s continue encouraging innovation. I support giving Texans in the non-attainment areas of our state a $5,000 incentive towards a purchase of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, using the funds Texans have already paid to reduce emissions, while providing a unique way to store wind energy.

This is an exciting development for us down here in Texas, long known for being a fossil fuel state. Combining this with the $7,500 tax incentive on the docket in DC for a total of $12,500, Texans might have a fighting chance at purchasing a Chevy Volt, expected to retail for around 40 grand.

Perry would probably never refer to himself as an environmentalist in the same vein as most of the environmental movement, but at least he recognizes change is coming. Moral motives aside, any move in the right direction is welcomed. Thanks, Gov.

Check out the WSJ article here.

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