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Posts Tagged ‘green jobs’

Austin Community College is having a free information session on their Women In Solar class, a women-focused solar installation course being offered this spring and summer. Check it out, but register today — its the deadline for Saturday’s session!

Learn more:

“Women in Green Jobs” Solar Training Information Session

The registration deadline for this event is 3/5/2010

Start Date: 3/6/2010 Start Time: 10:00 AM

End Date: 3/6/2010 End Time: 12:00 PM

Event Description

Attend this free 2-hour information session and learn why the jobs of the future will be in “green technology” and why women will play a key role in this future. This session will provide specific information on upcoming women-focused solar installation course sections as well as provide insight into all of the “green” related course offerings that ACC has to offer from a women’s perspective.

Location Information:

Riverside Campus – Riverside Campus (View Map)
1020 Grove Blvd.
Austin, TX 78741
Phone: 512.223.6201

Contact Information:
Name: Women in Green Jobs Hotline
Phone: 512-223-7520
Email: [email protected]

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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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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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Last Thursday Austin Energy General Manager Roger Duncan briefed Austin City Council on the utility’s Resource and Climate Protection Plan.  This plan is the culmination of 18 months of input from the public, the creation of a generation resource task force of various stakeholders to review various energy plans and make recommendations, and support and input from both the Electric Utility Commission and the Resource Management Com­mis­sion — but it still isn’t the end of the line for the plan.  The generation plan will also be the subject of a city-wide town hall meeting February 22nd, and city council is expected to vote on some version of it in March.

The energy plan that Duncan (who will be retiring soon and we wish him the very best) presented  sets Austin on a path to reduce our carbon emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and get a total of 35% of our energy from renewable resources. It will meet council’s renewable energy goals, move Austin Energy towards becoming the leading utility in the nation in terms of clean energy and global warming solutions, and re-affirm the city’s commitment to the Climate Protection Plan, which has the laudable goal to establish a cap and reduction plan for the utility’s carbon dioxide emissions.  It is a flexible, living document that will allow council to evolve and adapt as conditions change. AND it will reduce the capacity factor of our Fayette Coal Plant to 60% and gets the ball rolling on figuring out the best way to shut it down(which you know makes me happy). Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it?

As we’ve come to expect over the years from our award winning utility, Austin Energy is taking an especially responsible and forward-thinking role with this new plan.  I’ve formed this opinion for a few reasons:

  1. They’re adopting aggressive renewable energy and efficiency goals as part of a larger, smart business plan.  Austin doesn’t need a new generation plan because we’re going to be strapped for energy by 2020; Austin Energy could rest on their laurels and do nothing for the next ten years and we’d be fine buying up excess energy on the open market as its power purchase agreements expire and gas plants age.  But if they did that, by the time 2020 rolled around Austin would be way behind the technological curve and very likely be stuck with higher rates as a result.  Austin Energy has picked up on the national trend that the traditional fuels we rely upon, such as coal, are quickly becoming financial liabilities even as solar and wind are becoming more and more cost effective.  This plan will allow the utility to reposition itself  for 2020 going forward so that in ten years we will have made the preparations necessary to take full advantage of the coming clean tech boom rather than be left scrambling and dependent on outdated energy sources.
  2. Austin Energy and the task force that helped formulate this plan were very careful to balance considerations of reliability, affordability, and clean (in terms of the environment and human health).  The city has the responsibility to make sure that everyone who lives here can afford their utility bills.  It doesn’t do any good to make the switch to a new clean economy if we do so on the backs of those that can least afford it.  But that couldn’t be farther from the case with this plan; this isn’t green for some, this is green for all.  Compared to other options, this plan will minimize the impact for those least able to pay their electricity bill, supports in-house economic development and the hiring of local contractors, and ensures that everyone will have a chance to play a role in moving our city and economy forward.  There’s been a lot of focus and attention on the utility’s estimate that the plan will raise rates in 2020 by approximately 22% or $21 a month, but what’s missing from that discussion is that even if Austin Energy doesn’t do anything between now and 2020 rates will go up by 15% or about $14 a month.  So do the math — for an extra $7 a month in ten years, we can build up a clean local economy that minimizes impacts on low-income consumers and creates avenues to new employment opportunities, improves public health, AND puts Austin in a prime position to start lowering rates by taking advantage of cheap renewable energy. OR we can save families $7 a month compared to today on their utility bills but lose out on new jobs and leave every citizen in the city of Austin at the mercy of high fossil fuel costs and coming federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.  Austin Energy is not only looking at what is most affordable now, but what is most affordable in the long term. Coal may be cheap and reliable energy now, but depending on it in the long term will get us into trouble in terms of cheap and affordable in 2020.
  3. Austin Energy is not only reaching for the low fruit of emissions reductions and energy efficiency, they’re building high-tech ladders to get at the really juicy stuff at the top of the tree. Let me explain. There are a number of ways Austin Energy could go about reducing emissions.  The easiest of these would be to buy renewable energy credits, or RECs. RECs and offsets are in essence a mechanism for utilities, businesses, and governmental bodies to pay someone else to clean up and still get the credit for it.  They’re a good and have a positive influence on society at large because they do encourage clean energy investment and development, but not necessarily in a nearby community (in fact almost certainly not).  It might be easier in the short run to pay someone else to be clean up, but then we miss out on all the delicious creamy gravy that comes along with renewable energy development.  If you buy RECs you don’t get new jobs and businesses in your community.  If you buy RECs your own people are still breathing the same amount of pollution.  But Austin Energy is taking the initiative to really get at the heart of the problem by cutting the amount of pollution coming out of the smokestacks we own.  For that, they should be applauded.

This is just my own personal take-away from listening to various people discuss the recommendation plan and hearing Roger Duncan’s presentation to council. You can learn a lot more about the process and final recommended plan by visiting AustinSmartEnergy.com or CleanEnergyforAustin.org. Join us after the jump for some fast facts on the various components of the plan, but for the real nitty gritty check out Duncan’s own powerpoint presentation.

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Tuesday January 26th at 4:30p

Main Plaza (in front of City Hall) — Rally & Press Conference

Two national coalitions, the Energy Action Coalition (EAC) and the Center for Community Change (CCC) join with Southwest Workers Union and local grassroots organizations to call on Mayor Castro to take real steps towards reducing energy consumption and generating good, green jobs for the City. Wearing green hard hats, young leaders of organizations from North Dakota to Florida, Washington to Arizona support the fight against expansion of the South Texas Project, to phase out coal and dirty energy sources, to create a comprehensive free weatherization program for low-income families, to invest in solar energy and for a job creation programs in the green energy sector. (more…)

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San Antonians should be proud today, when Mayor Castro will dedicate the Mission Verde green jobs training center and demonstration lab at the former Cooper Middle School on the west side.

The center will bring together sustainability education and the City’s green jobs ambitions by teaching students weatherization techniques and offering on-the-job training.  The project will “provide jobs that lift up the neighborhood“, offer “a 21st-century education in one of the poorest neighborhoods in San Antonio” and will give a new lease on life to a previously abandoned school building.  The center’s centerpiece is a zero-energy, solar powered house that students at Texas A&M built modularly for the 2007 Solar Decathalon competition.

The Mission Verde Center is an exciting step towards San Antonio’s vision of decentralized, local power and an accessible, inclusive green economy strong enough to lift all boats. As Greg Harman, environmental reporter for the San Antonio Current, put it

Community green-power centers like the Cooper Center, when hitched to a soon-to-be established city program expected to allow all income levels to receive loans for solar power and energy efficiency upgrades — loans which can in turn be paid off through the energy savings realized by the homeowner — have the potential to forever change the way San Antonio is powered.

Projects like this represent, in my opinion, one of the most exciting aspects of the climate movement.  In our switch to a cleaner,greener America, we have the opportunity to simultaneously tackle job losses, social inequality, public health, and environmental degradation. Kudos to the city of San Antonio for taking steps to create an inclusive green economy that would make Dr. Martin Luther King proud.

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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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Op-ed originally published in Sunday’s Amarillo Globe:

Column – Andy Wilson: Perry spews hot air on warming

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry’s recent essay (“EPA ‘science’ doesn’t add up in global warming equation,” Dec. 27, 2009) is full of hot air and not much else.

The governor’s outrage produces more heat than light, revealing his ignorance of science and penchant for quoting dubious and discredited economic studies funded by energy companies.

The real inconvenient truth is that Texas cannot afford to make meaningless political statements any longer, especially when there’s work to be done – carbon regulation is coming whether the governor throws a tantrum or not. We can shout at the wind or harness it into a clean energy future.

Planning for a low-carbon future now will pay dividends in the future as the world comes to Texas for the clean energy we can supply in abundance. But if we choose to pout rather than produce, we risk missing the clean energy train.

Already, Texas wind turbines are providing electricity, not to mention jobs and tax revenue, and we’re blessed with some of the best solar potential of any state. According to data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, West Texas families pay less for their electricity, thanks in large part to all those wind farms. Peer-reviewed economic studies, including one by the Union of Concerned Scientists, show Texas families stand to save $980 annually in energy costs by enacting clean-energy legislation.

The scare-tactics scenarios the governor laid out use phony statistics from studies underwritten by dirty energy lobbyists who are afraid of competition from these low-carbon upstarts. If you dig deeper into these studies, even under their highest cost projections, U.S. economic growth remains robust and millions of new jobs are created, hundreds of thousands of which would be in Texas.

Given our high-tech, manufacturing, and energy leadership experience, Texas should be attracting green energy technologies already. But instead, we’re losing major solar and battery manufacturing to states which are less sunny but more savvy, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Maybe Perry should spend less time posturing and complaining about science he doesn’t understand and more time enacting strong policies to attract clean energy jobs and industry to Texas, the same way Amarillo has in their recent announcement to bring as many as 750 new wind turbine manufacturing jobs to the area.

The truth about the hacked e-mails Perry references that purport to discredit global warming is this: It’s a tempest in a teapot, and every scientist knows it. If we’re looking for a “smoking gun” that disproves the settled science of climate change, we would need glaciers and ice caps to stop melting at record levels worldwide. We would need temperatures and drought throughout Texas to recede, rather than having the last decade be the hottest and driest on record.

Since we only depend on the research of scientists at the University of East Anglia, a town and university so small, I challenge you to find it on a map, for a very small portion of the corpus of scientific knowledge on climate change, we would need much more than a few choice words from scientists behaving badly to contradict that. To discount all climate science based only on these emails would be the same as disqualifying University of Texas from playing in the Rose Bowl because of the criminal misbehavior by one of their bench wide receivers.

But the good news is that whether you believe in global warming or not, all of our tools to solve it are the same tools we need to solve our current crises and create a better future for Texans.

Worried about unemployment? Energy security? The loss of American manufacturing? Clean energy development cuts into all of these problems, and just happens to help save the planet while we’re at it.

Everybody wins.

So at the start of a new decade, let’s be winners, not whiners. Texas should be getting in front of federal legislation and putting in place the policies that ensure that the nation will turn to us for their future renewable energy needs for the 21st century, the same way they have for the past century with oil and gas.

Doing anything less, Gov. Perry, certainly seems … well, un-Texan.

Andy Wilson is the Global Warming Program director for Public Citizen’s Texas Office.

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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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On Wednesday, Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced that the city of Austin will receive $4.8 Million in stimulus funds to train 1,000 workers in energy efficiency and clean energy jobs.  Workers will be trained for jobs at solar plants in Austin, San Antonio and surrounding cities and states, and but the trainings will prepare participants for a variety of green jobs including solar installation.

As Doggett noted,

Green’s the word in Austin, and today greenbacks are on their way to further strengthen our commitment to clean energy. Green jobs have the ability to not only transform the way we do business, but re-power America; this training will provide workers with the nuts and bolts to construct a thriving clean energy economy right here in Central Texas.

This stimulus grant is part of a larger, $500 Million federal initiative to prepare and train workers for green jobs.

Sources: Austin American Statesman, Austin Business Journal

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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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Congratulations to San Angelo, Texas, where a new 150 MW wind farm is up, spinning, and on with commercial operations.  According to North American Wind Power,

The project’s 100 General Electric 1.5 MW turbine generators are expected to generate more than 525,000 MWh of wind energy per year, which will be sold into the ERCOT system. Approximately 200 jobs were created during the nine-month construction period and 10 full-time professionals will be employed at the now-operational facility. Padoma Wind Power, an NRG subsidiary, developed the project, which is capable of powering more than 100,000 Texas homes.

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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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Green Jobs UnicornTexas is a sparkly mythical wonderland full of unicorns.  And by unicorns, I mean green jobs.  And by green jobs, I mean well-paying, long-term jobs ranging from maintenance to operations, project management, and high-tech engineering.

Wortham: Unicorns are alive, well and working the wind out west

Greg Wortham, Special Contributor

Monday, October 05, 2009

Texas Texas Comptroller Susan Combs was quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal as saying the wind power industry in Texas has created only 500 to 800 jobs and that finding a “green” job in Texas would like finding a unicorn.

“I don’t know where the new jobs are going to come from,” Combs said. “They’re not going to come from wind.” Well, apparently the unicorn is alive and well in Texas. I am the mayor of Sweetwater, the wind energy capital of the Americas and America’s energy solutions center. I guess my town would be as good a place as any to find “the mythical beast” that Combs says does not exist.

A detailed study of the economic impacts of wind energy in our single county was released at the Texas Capitol in summer 2008 that details that Nolan County hosts more wind energy jobs than the Lone Star State’s chief accountant says exist in the entire state. Interviews directly with more than 20 local wind energy companies demonstrated that we have well more than 1,000 wind energy jobs just here.

Even with a temporary reduction in 2009 construction (which is already beginning to gear back up), our community alone has more permanent wind energy jobs than the comptroller says exist in all of Texas. More than $4 billion of capital investment has been spent here since 2001, and the county tax base has increased 500 percent due substantially to wind energy capital investment, numbers that are reported to the comptroller.

And we are not an isolated “greenie” subculture. We are a proud Texas energy community, where 20 percent of the work force is in wind energy, 20 percent is in oil and gas, and 10 percent is in nuclear energy (www.ludlums.com). We are also scheduled for the world’s first commercial-scale carbon sequestration coal-fired power plant (www.tenaskatrailblazer.com). (more…)

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This just in from EPA:

LOS ANGELES – U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will announce today in a keynote address at the California Governor’s Global Climate Summit that the Agency has taken a significant step to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Administrator will announce a proposal requiring large industrial facilities that emit at least 25,000 tons of GHGs a year to obtain construction and operating permits covering these emissions. These permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies and energy efficiency measures to minimize GHG emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified.

The full text of the Administrators remarks will be posted at www.epa.gov later this afternoon.

UPDATED: that text is now available here.

“Wow” would be an understatement.  This on the heels of the release of Senator Kerry and Boxer and their climate bill.  Here’s my statement on that subject:

Sept. 30, 2009

Reaction to Boxer-Kerry Climate Change Discussion Draft

Statement of Andy Wilson, Global Warming Program Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office

The Boxer-Kerry draft includes some important measures to address climate change and create new green jobs, but it is simply not sufficient to solve climate change or create the green jobs revolution we need. While an improvement in some ways over Waxman-Markey and its billions in giveaways to polluting special interests, the discussion draft put forth by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) still punts on many of the most contentious issues, such as how and to whom emissions allowances will be allocated or auctioned. Waxman-Markey started off similarly strong and vague but was weakened as it went through the committee hearing process. Sen. Boxer must work to strengthen the bill as she guides it through her Environment and Public Works Committee hearings.

The discussion draft calls for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 2020. This is a slight improvement over the 17 percent called for by Waxman-Markey, but is far short of the goals our best science tells us we need to make. Specifically, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us in order to avoid the worst of global climate catastrophe, we need to cut our pollution levels 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

Japan will cut its emissions 25 percent by 2020; the EU has signaled it may meet or beat that goal. Why would we set ourselves to lag behind the rest of the world? We must win the technology races in manufacturing advanced energy technology so we do not replace importing oil with importing solar cells.

The draft should be applauded for including strong language to protect consumers and protect the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate emissions in the future.

Among the changes we recommend to the draft are alterations to address these problems:

Allowances should be auctioned 100 percent. President Obama’s budget continues to show revenues from a 100 percent auction and EPA analysis of Waxman-Markey found this to be the least regressive method of implementation.

Subsidies for nuclear should be removed. Despite recent findings by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff that the United States will never need to build another traditional power plant, the bill spends considerable space on (Subtitle C, Sec 131) and would allocate significant resources to nuclear power. Nuclear is neither as carbon-free nor as safe as the draft language claims. Neither is it cost-effective. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated half of all federal loan guarantees for nuclear loan guarantees will fail, meaning any extension of these guarantees is a pre-emptive bailout of the nuclear industry leaving the taxpayers on the hook for up to half a trillion dollars.

The draft still relies on more than two billion tons in offsets – actually expanding permitted offsets from the Waxman-Markey language. This has huge potential consequences. It means that despite the intent of the draft, we could conceivably end up having failed to reduce emissions at all – and with major questions about whether alleged offsets were even achieved. While the offset oversight language is considerably better than in Waxman-Markey, it still is troubling that we are relying on offsets rather than actually decreasing our pollution.

The draft does nothing to improve vague language in Waxman-Markey, which could effectively grandfather more than 40 proposed coal-fired power plants, including up to a dozen in Texas alone. These proposed plants would be exempted from new performance standards in the bill, while a plant built just three years from now will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half.

With Kerry-Boxer maintaining EPA’s right to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, this sets the table nicely to try to get a bill passed which will both solve climate change and create the new energy economy we need.  We just need to improve the ground of the special-interest-riddled Congress.  Tip of my hat to Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman for their articles on this earlier this week about the severity of the problem that faces us and the relatively lame responses by our government.  As a palate cleanser, please to enjoy this 15 second video from [adult swim] about what the REAL problem may be:

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Check out our editorial in the Round Rock Leader, in response to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s piece “Cap and Trade is No Good For Texas”:

A rebuttal to Sen. Hutchison’s piece concerning Cap and Trade policies

By ANDY WILSON

Special to the Leader

United States Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison takes a head-in-the-hot-sand approach to climate change that will get Texas burned and drive tens of thousands of new jobs elsewhere (“Cap and Trade is No Good For Texas,” Aug. 27 Leader).

She misses the mark on energy policy, using discredited industry statistics to drum up fear about a Cap and Trade policy that represents just a small portion of the initiatives proposed in the energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in July.

She fails to acknowledge that the bill includes provisions for renewable energy and energy efficiency – the real solutions to climate change.

Hutchison’s solution is no solution at all: more oil, more coal and more nuclear, with absolutely no coherent policy on how to lower energy costs and find alternatives to dwindling resources.

While America is faced with the worst economic crisis in generations, Sen. Hutchison is turning away opportunities to create new jobs while slavishly clinging to the talking points of the oil industry.

Families are hurting from high energy prices.

The answer lies in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which have proven to save Texans money.

Even The Wall Street Journal reports that “Wind Power Makes Electricity Cheaper in Texas,” and families that have received energy efficiency retrofits from their electric utility save money every month.

In the dieting world, low-calorie treats never taste as good as their fatty counterparts, but in the energy efficiency world, both light bulbs burn just as brightly. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

If Sen. Hutchison is as worried about job loss as she professes, she should work to improve the anemic renewable energy and efficiency goals in the bill.

Texas, as the leader in wind power and home to a burgeoning solar industry, would stand to gain 153,000 of new green jobs by passing a strengthened and stream-lined bill.

Texas already has employed more than 9,000 individuals to build our current crop of wind turbines, representing just a drop in the bucket in terms of the green jobs that national clean energy policies could bring to our state.

Big polluters are trying to scare people with exaggerated costs of addressing climate change.

Independent analyses from the EPA and CBO show the actual price to Americans to be less than a postage stamp a day.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that strong action on climate change, including Cap and Trade, would save Texas families an average of $980 a year.

Opponents are concerned that Texas refineries are going to be hurt by this bill, but the House-passed bill provides more than $2 billion in free carbon credits to refiners.

How is about $2 billion in handouts to corporations not enough?

The oil industry is floating a red herring argument about sending competition overseas.

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that gasoline imports will decrease under the climate bill due to slowing demand and fuel economy improvements.

Sen. Hutchison has received more than $2.1 million in campaign contributions from the oil industry during her Senate career, so her remarks may have more to do with giving back to an industry that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has been the largest single source of financing for her Senate campaigns.

If Sen. Hutchison really wants to do what’s right for Texas, she should strengthen the climate bill, rather than shoot it down.

If she is worried about price impacts on Texas families, she should strengthen consumer protections and strip out the billion-dollar in-dustry giveaways.

And if she’s concerned about Texas’ financial well being, she should remember that Texas above all else is an energy state – which means that we must have a future in clean, renewable energy as well.

But just saying “no” to a new energy bill, “no” to new jobs and “no” to new industries is “no good for Texas.”

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Hey San Antonio! There will be a protest against nuclear power tomorrow at lunchtime downtown outside of City Hall.  Join us and the rest of the Energia Mia coalition and make your voice heard!  Details below.

WHAT: Protest against CPS Energy’s pursuit of more nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project. Not only is nuclear power the most expensive form of energy, it’s the most water intensive and it comes with enormous security, safety and health risks.

WHEN: Thursday, September 10th, Noon

WHERE: 114 W. Commerce, Outside of the Municipal Plaza Building, City Hall Complex

WHO: Concerned students, Members of Energia Mia and others.

Energia Mia includes members active in Southwest Workers’ Union, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Project Verde, the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club, Highland Hills and Jefferson Heights Neighborhood Associations, AGUA, the Texas Drought Project, the Green Party, San Antonio Area Progressive Action Coalition, Public Citizen, SEED Coalition, Environment Texas and Clean Water Action.

WHY: Nuclear reactors come with serious health and safety risks. Exposure to radioactivity leads to cancer and genetic damage and after fifty years there is still no solution to storing radioactive waste. San Antonio needs drinking water. Vast quantities of water should not be wasted to cool nuclear reactors. Safer, more affordable energy choices exist today.

Spending billions of dollars for nuclear reactors is throwing money away that should be used for energy efficiency and renewable solar, wind and geothermal power, creating green jobs in San Antonio. Nuclear power would raise electric rates much more than other energy options, at a time when people are already struggling to pay their bills. The nuclear reactors should be halted now.

For More Information, Contact: Alice Canestaro, Energía Mía (713.480.8013) or Amanda Hoss, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (210.228.0201)

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Your intrepid friends at Public Citizen tried to attend the astroturf “Energy Citizens” rally yesterday in Houston.  We’re busy pulling together our bloggings and all the footage we shot, but keep checking back here for updates throughout the day.

We were not allowed in the meeting, as we did not work for an energy company, but we managed to sneak some great footage before being escorted out and being told to leave the premises.

We have:

Footage of the 34 busses used to bring people into the rally from different energy companies.

Normal Citizens who weren”t good enough to be “Energy Citizens”– people who weren’t allowed in the meeting, as this was for energy company employees only!  Interviews include lots of crazy conservative teabaggers who hate cap and trade (I understand why Public Citizen and Sierra Club might not be allowed in– why weren’t even they allowed?), nice ladies who were escorted out of the building because they dared to bring American flags to the rally (why does Big Oil hate America?), and lots of people angry at oil companies because they’re hiding this from the public.

“Energy Company Employees Say the Darndest Things” — watch as your friends in the oil and gas industry display ignorance as to the salient details of the ACES bill and spout misinformation about it, or, the people who do know a lot about the bill talk about how it’s a bad piece of legislation because of corporate giveaways to the coal industry!  Here’s one quick tidbit:

Want more?  Read my full press statement after the jump:

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rickperryEarlier this week, Governor Perry announced that he would, in fact, call back legislators for an extended special session.  What exactly this session will cover (voter ID? please no!) remains unclear, but the Governor has committed to addressing the “sunset safety net” bill that was left on the table.

The Houston Chronicle reports,

The governor had hoped to avoid a special session to keep intact the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance, as well as three others that were not renewed, but calling lawmakers back to the Capitol proved to be the only option.

The other agencies are the Texas Racing Commission, which regulates horse and dog tracks; the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, which represents the public in insurance rate cases; and the State Affordable Housing Corporation, which links low-to-moderate-income people with potential home purchase lenders.

The five agencies are set to go out of existence on Sept. 1, 2010, because the legislation reauthorizing them did not pass.

If the specter of having no department at all for transportation, insurance, or affordable housing is scary enough to call a special session, I wonder what other issues the Governor will decide are important enough to address in a special session.

Certainly of note is the specter of Texas losing its leadership role in creating jobs tied to clean energy.  According to a new study by Pew Charitable Group on the clean energy economy, Texas ranks 2nd in businesses (4,802) and jobs (55,646) tied to the sector.

This is an exciting piece of information, especially considering that the clean energy industry grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy over the last decade.  Furthermore, Pew cited our renewable energy policies as a critical aspect of the state’s wind power explosion.

This information makes it even more painful that we weren’t able to pass similar legislation to jump-start Texas’ solar economy.  Especially when as soon as the session ended with solar still on the table, Tennessee Senators started saying they would be happy to take the solar jobs Texas snubbed.

Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis was actually quoted as saying, “Legislators in Texas have yanked the welcome mat for an industry that could pay huge dividends for their economy.  To any company that had an eye on Texas, we say come on up to Tennessee.”

Salt, meet my wounds.  Not only has Texas missed out on a great economic opportunity, but now we’re going to be one-upped by Tennessee? Unacceptable.

But with a special session upcoming, Texas may have another chance to revisit that solar legislation — which, by the way, passed with bipartisan support.  Everyone was on board for solar, we just ran out of time to get the nuts and bolts right.  Tragic.

Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston recently announced that he would like for the special session to take up lost clean energy legislation.  In a statement earlier this week, he said

Texas became rich from fossil fuels, but we could easily lose our position as an energy leader because of fossilized thinking. We could create far more wealth and jobs from wind and solar energy, but only we aggressively pursue clean energy opportunities. Unfortunately, we missed a golden opportunity this session one the governor should address if he calls a special session.

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