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Posts Tagged ‘green’

Most of us, when watching “the big game” do not really stop to think about the enormous amount of energy it takes to power such an event. This year, the Super Bowl, as well as the parties and events surrounding it, are going to use about 18 megawatts of energy, enough to power about 12,000 homes, according to the San Francisco Gate.

That article also points to efforts that the National Football League has been making efforts over the years to “green” the big game. The league has even gone as far as to hire an environmental communications firm to oversee the process of reducing the footprint of the game. This year they will be using several different innovative solutions to reduce the footprint of the game. A couple of the big efforts are biodiesel and composting. The biodiesel will be used to power the events around the game, and the composting will be for the food waste in the stadium.

Solar Panels on an NFL stadium (http://m.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2012/03/02/Facilities/Eagles.aspx)

Solar panels on an NFL stadium
(Sports Business Daily)

This is not the only step the NFL has taken towards becoming greener. There are at least five NFL stadiums that use solar power in some capacity. The San Francisco 49er’s new stadium will be the first net-zero professional sports arena in the United States. Net zero means that its power generation will offset its consumption over a year.

So, while watching the big game this year, keep in mind the efforts the NFL and its teams are making to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce waste.

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If you live in the Houston area, you may be in the danger zone of a toxic chemical facility, and oil and chemical industry executives are trying to keep it that way. These toxic chemical facilities are vulnerable to accidents or terrorist attacks, even though safer alternatives are available. Now Congress is considering industry-backed legislation (HR 908) that would deny the Department of Homeland Security authority they have requested to require high risk facilities to prevent chemical disasters by using safer, available alternatives.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee could be voting on this within days, and your representative, Congressman Gene Green, is a critical vote.

Call Congressman Green’s office today and ask him to VOTE AGAINST HR 908. (202) 225-9903

If you can eliminate the risk of chemical disaster or the consequences of a terrorist attack, you should, right? Well if Congress passes this legislation, that common sense thinking will be held hostage for up to seven years.

This legislation also contains huge loopholes. It would exempt 500 port facilities including 125 refineries, as well as 2,400 water and waste-water treatment facilities. These facilities put millions of people at risk and will not be covered if this bill is passed.

Disaster prevention should be the heart of any chemical plant security legislation. A comprehensive approach should be taken that closes the current loopholes, requires the highest risk facilities to switch to safer alternatives, and gives workers and communities the ability to hold these facilities accountable.

An independent analysis of comprehensive legislation passed in 2009 showed that the bill would create jobs and provide a stimulus for local governments.

Congress should stop wasting its time and risking our lives with seven more years of delay, and should focus on constructing a comprehensive approach that focuses on preventing chemical disasters in Houston, and around the Country.

Call Congressman Green’s office today and ask him to VOTE AGAINST HR 908. (202) 225-9903

After you call his office, send him an email through our main website.

Not sure if you’re in Congressman Green’s district (district 29)? Check out the map. Still call even if you aren’t in his district. Though voices of his constituents are the most effective, anyone living in Houston should be concerned with this issue and you have every right to let him know your concerns.

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By Kirsten Bokenkamp

During his campaign, President Obama said “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” As individuals, we need to internalize this, and act on it. This is the last blog in the Green-up Your Life! series, a series dedicated to the many ways we, as individuals, can reduce climate change.

Unfortunately, the environmentally-friendly changes to our daily lives is just the first step to securing a livable planet for future generations.  In addition, we must demand that our government adopt laws to protect our planet.  While the science behind climate change is well established, our leaders will not act until we make them.  The importance of government action to combat climate change was made clear in a recent Washington Post op-ed by Mike Tidwell titled To really save the planet, stop going green.  In the op-ed, Tidwell argues that “going green” is tricking many people into actually thinking that there is major change happening, when in reality, only a very small percentage of people buy compact florescent light bulbs and fuel efficient cars, have a compost pile, and eat vegetarian diets, etc.  “Going green”, in effect, is creating a false impression of change, which is actually hindering the real process of change.  If we care, we should adopt a “green” lifestyle and incorporate the above activities into our lives – but doing all of these individual things does not dismiss us from taking political action to demand large-scale change.

What does this mean for us?  It means learning the details about climate change legislation, and calling/writing/visiting our state and federal representatives to demand that they take action.  Not sure what to ask for?  Here are a few things to get you started:

•    A bill that achieves emissions cuts of at least 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95% by 2050 (right now, the Waxman-Markey Bill cuts emissions by only 4% of 1990 levels.  Unfortunately, the Waxman-Markey Bill deceptively uses 2005 levels, and thus the 17% reduction in emissions seems to be near the scientific requirements.  But, as Congress well understands, the rest of the international community and climate scientists use 1990 levels as their base.  Thus, the 17% emissions cut at 2005 levels turns out to be only 4% of 1990 levels, a number far from minimum 25% necessary to save our planet.)
•    Stopping the construction of new coal plants.
•    Increasing funding for renewable energy and creating green jobs

We all have the tools and knowledge necessary to create change on a personal and political level.  The next steps are advocacy, action, and maintenance. We are facing a huge crisis, and taking only small and popular steps are not enough. Obama said it himself – we are the change that we have been waiting for.  So let’s do it!

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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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By Kirsten Bokenkamp

Happy Holidays! Just saying those words is enough to evoke joyful images of families gathered in the kitchen preparing a succulent holiday meal to be enjoyed together, or excited and wide-eyed children opening gifts next to a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. When I close my eyes, I can almost taste the cinnamon-spiced hot apple cider. Yum. Unfortunately, for some of us, the holiday season also means traveling long distances to be with our loved ones; fighting the crowds at busy stores as we endlessly try to find the perfect gifts; and paying higher energy bills resulting from our holiday lights and all of our cooking.

Amidst all the holiday cheer, sometimes it is inconvenient to think about how our activities might contribute to climate change. The purpose of the Holiday Edition of Green-up Your Life! is to give easy ideas about how to have the lowest impact on the earth while still enjoying the holiday season.

Time to Travel

With all the crowds and delays, flying during the holiday season can be really frustrating. And what about those 4 to 8 hour drives? Unfortunately for many of us, flying or driving are often the only options – for now. The future, however, looks bright. President Obama is already in support of investing in the high-speed national rail service, as it would reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment. It would also create many new green-jobs, something that we desperately need to jump-start the economy. What can you do? Click here to tell your Representatives in Congress that you are in favor of appropriating government funds towards the creation of a national high-speed passenger rail system. I have to admit, there is something romantic about taking the train home for the holidays.

The Gift of Giving

Giving gifts makes us feel good; it is a way to let our loved ones know we are thinking about them; and it is a token of appreciation of being part of another person’s life. Too often, though, we get caught up in the act of giving a gift, without thinking about the repercussions. By following some simple guidelines, you can keep your gifts environmentally friendly, and socially responsible.

  • Skip anything that you plug in, or that requires batteries.
  • Buy from local vendors when you can. I can think of many gift ideas, from hats and scarves, to food, to jewelry, to artwork, that you can buy from an artisan in your own community.
  • Think outside the box: Give a gym membership, a haircut, a massage, or tickets to a game or a concert.
  • Combine errands, or better yet, leave the car in a parking spot and walk from store to store.
  • Skip the wrapping paper: Use an old newspaper or a paper bag instead. Same goes for a card: Unless it is a private message, write something right on what ever material you wrap the present in.

Do you need a gift for people who already have everything they could ever want? Buy them something from Oxfam. A gift such as soap, purified water, manure, seeds for a garden, a cooking stove, a bicycle, or a dozen chicks will be delivered to somebody in the world who needs it, and your friend will get a card thanking them for their contribution. This kind of gift can be more thoughtful than yet another sweater, and it is a nice way to to contribute to those in need during the holiday season.

In the kitchen and around the house

One of the best things you can do, even though it defies tradition, is to skip the meat (or at least, if possible, buy it from a local organic rancher). Why is this important? Refer back to earlier blogs in this series – Eat Less Meat, and Go Organic. While I wish more people would do this, I do recognize that not everybody will. So, thankfully there are also other, less drastic, measures we can take in the kitchen. For instance, if you are slow roasting something, there is no need to preheat the oven. Also, each time you open the oven door, the oven temperature decreases by about 25 degrees. If you have an oven light, use that instead. When your oven is on, try to fill it up by baking multiple things at once. As long as there is still room for air to circulate, your food will be just as delicious. A helpful hint for stovetop cooking is to match the size of the pan to the size of the burner. According to California’s Consumer Energy Center, using a smaller pan on a larger burner wastes 40% of the energy!

Other hints around the kitchen include only running your dishwasher when it is completely full, and if it has an energy saver mode – use it! Try to limit the amount of times you open and close the refrigerator. Each time that door opens, the fridge needs to work overtime to keep the temperature at its setting.

Do your wallet & the earth a favor...no need to go overboard!

Holiday lights outlining the frames of homes and around the tree are beautiful, and are such a classic mark of the season. They also raise energy bills and are not all that good for the environment. One thing you can do is replace old lights with LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. They are more expensive, but because they are 90% more efficient than your average light bulb, they can start saving you money within the first year of purchase, quickly making up for the upfront costs. Another thing to do is turn off the lights in the day time when it is hard to see them anyway, and put them on a timer at night, so they automatically turn off once everybody has fallen fast asleep.

Happy New Year!

With many New Year’s resolutions in the air, it is a great time to make a commitment to living a greener life. When you think about it, actions that we take during the holiday season can be taken throughout the year. We have so many things to be thankful for, not least for the earth that sustains us. With that gift, comes the responsibility of doing our part to ensure that our families can celebrate for generations to come.

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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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By Kirsten Bokenkamp

The chance that Congress will pass a US climate change bill before the global summit in Copenhagen is looking increasingly slim, but that does not stop us from individually minimizing our own impact on the earth. Green-up Your Life! is all about reminding us that as individuals, we can, and should, do our part to protect our planet and combat climate change – even when our policy makers are not quite there. Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling are a big part of the things we all can do. Today’s blog is going to focus on the first two (and most important) parts of this well-known mantra: Reduce and Reuse.

In our society, where we covet big houses and new cars, where we are impressed with shiny toys and with the newest fashions, not everybody likes to hear this, but simply reducing what we buy is one of the best things we can do for the planet. In his New York Times blog Dot Earth, Andrew Revkin asks if being a “green consumer” is good enough: after all, even when corporations are selling environmentally sustainable products, they are still selling consumerism, and their primary goal is not to save the planet, but instead to get you to buy more new things.

And, generally, the more we buy – the more we waste. Think about all of the packaging and the transport associated with everything we buy! According to the EPA, between 1960 and 2007 the amount of waste each person creates has almost doubled from 2.7 to 4.6 pounds per day. Reversing this trend is crucial to the future of the earth.

If you have never seen Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff, I highly recommend that you spend 20 minutes watching it to learn more about the processes of production and consumption within our society. By the end of the short, fun, and interactive film, you most likely will have a different view on buying things. Do you love to give gifts? Rethink how you give, and how it impacts the earth. Good alternative ideas include a gift certificate to a massage or yoga classes; tickets to a concert or football game; a batch of fresh baked cookies; a dinner out at an environmentally sustainable restaurant; renting a kayak for a day out on the water; or simply spending some time together, cooking or playing games. A study about happiness during the Christmas season, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Happiness Studies, has shown that:

Lower well-being occurred when spending money and receiving gifts predominated. Engaging in environmentally conscious consumption practices also predicted a happier holiday, as did being older and male. In sum, the materialistic aspects of modern Christmas celebrations may undermine well-being, while family and spiritual activities may help people to feel more satisfied.

tommy_sheep_0

Tommy Sheep

If all this talk about reducing sounds good to you, use the day after Thanksgiving, historically the largest shopping day in the US, to make a point. In 65 countries around the world, millions of people participate in Buy Nothing Day to demonstrate that we don’t have to buy all the newest fashions and the brightest toys just because they are endlessly marketed to us. It is actually pretty empowering to decide to ignore all the marketing schemes. Check out these spoof ads by Adbusters, and imagine how much less we would collectively buy if all ads were as honest as these. (There are more funny ones on their website).nike_1

bennetton_1

True Colors of Bennetton

Buying less does not mean not buying anything at all. Just try to keep your impact low, and reuse items when you can. Have you checked out your neighborhood thrift store or consignment shop? Most have clothes, toys, household items, shoes, and books. Check it out – you may be surprised. There are about 6,000 reuse centers around the US, ranging from specialty stores to Goodwill. Another alternative is to buy lightly used items on Craiglist or ebay. You can’t really go wrong when you are saving money and helping to preserve the earth’s resources.

Even if we cut down on what we buy, of course we will all still buy many things. Reducing and reusing isn’t just about less consumerism and buying used items. It is also about bringing reusable bags to a store, drinking from a reusable coffee cup or water bottle, not using the mini-bottles of shampoo at hotels; reducing the amount of packaging you use by buying food in bulk, and reducing paper by printing on both sides, paying bills online and getting yourself off of unwanted mailing lists. Do you wonder what kind of impact this could have?

• If every Starbucks customer used a reusable coffee thermos, we could save 1,181,600 tons of wood, 2,040,061,237 pounds of carbon dioxide, and 4,441,093,624 gallons of water every year.
• The production of plastic water bottles in the US generates more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, and uses 17 million barrels of oil per year! And that is not even taking into account what happens to all those bottles once they reach the landfill. (In the U.S. more than 30 billion plastic water bottles are discarded each year. Only 15% are recycled; the rest end up in landfills, or as litter – 66 million every day.)
• According to the World Watch Institute, each year Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.) If every shopper took just one less bag each month, this could eliminate the waste of hundreds of millions of bags each year.
• Producing one ton of paper requires 2-3 times its weight in trees. If the entire U.S. catalog industry switched its publications to just 10-percent recycled content paper, the savings in wood alone would be enough to stretch a 1.8-meter-high fence across the United States seven times.

These facts clearly show that we can all make a difference by changing our habits – even just a bit. It is unrealistic to think that we will all stop buying things, but if we reduce what we do buy, buy used items when we can, and try to reduce the negative side effects of consumerism by choosing products with less packaging and bringing our own shopping bags, it is a step in the right direction. We need to start thinking before we make purchases and stop buying things we don’t need, which is a tough thing to do in a society where people living in cities are exposed up to 5000 advertisements a day. It is time to show those companies that in order to protect our planet, we will not give in so easy!

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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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By Kirsten Bokenkamp

According to the Environmental Defense Fund,  driving leads to more than 330 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year in the United States alone.  This amounts to more than 20% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions!  In an effort to cut down on greenhouse gases, the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standards require that passenger cars and light trucks cars get a minimum of 35.5 mpg by 2016.  The environmental impact of these new standards is similar to taking 177 million cars off the road.

While this is a positive change in policy, it does not rid us of our personal duty to decrease our own impact.  This is a tough one, because so many of us depend on our car for basically everything.  I am certain, though, that there are actions that we can all take.  Some of us may be able to walk or bike more, or take advantage of public transportation, while others might choose to buy a more efficient car or drive smarter. And we all can ask our legislators to spend more time and resources on energy efficient city planning and transportation.

Nobody has said that reversing global warming will be convenient or easy, politically or personally.  Sometimes, however, walking, biking, or taking public transportation to work or to run errands is much more enjoyable than driving.  Sure, it usually takes a bit more time, but you are also getting some exercise, enjoying the freedom from road rage, and getting to know your neighborhood better.  You will save loads of money on gas, and perhaps you will find yourself in a better mood by the end of the day.  Walking or biking will not only help save the earth, but will also lower the health care costs associated with obesity. It has been shown that countries with the highest levels of active transportation have the lowest rates of obesity.  Have you ever checked out the website Walk Score?  It is pretty neat – you put in your address, and using a 100 point score it tells you how walkable your neighborhood is, and provides a map showing you how close you are to grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, movie theaters, parks, drug stores, and the like.

Maybe walking or biking is not an option for you, but the bus is.  Public transportation in the US saves about 37 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, and more than 11 million gallons of gas every day! While it may take a bit longer than driving, you have the freedom of reading a book or the paper, or simply sipping on your coffee and looking out the window.  It may sound crazy, but for every gallon of gas that you spare, you keep 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere – who says individuals can’t make a difference?

About half the people in the US don’t have access to public transportation.  If this is you, there are other ways to reduce your impact from driving.  If you are in the market for a new car, put fuel efficiency as a top priority.  A hybrid car can save 16,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and $3,750 per year.  Shop around for the most fuel-efficient car that suits your needs on websites like FuelEconomy or GreenCar.  If you don’t really need a big car, then don’t buy one.  Another huge thing you can do is to keep your tires properly inflated. This saves you about 250 lbs of carbon dioxide and $840 per year per vehicle!  Other tips include: don’t use your car as a storage unit, the more stuff it is carrying around, the harder it needs to work; drive more smoothly, try to limit stopping and starting; shift to a higher gear a little bit earlier; and turn off the car instead of idling.  Of course, car-pooling when you can makes a huge difference as well.

Depending on our living situation, we all have different abilities to lessen our impact on the planet from driving.  One thing, however, that we can all do is urge our leaders to invest more in public transportation and cities and towns that are walker and biker friendly.  It is easy, and will only take a minute of your time. Sign a petition here.  In the meantime, do whatever you can to walk more and drive less.  While you are doing your part, you might be surprised at just how rejuvenating slowing down can be.

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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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The Catholic Diocese of Austin states on its website that Austin’s plan to increase its dependence on renewable energy in providing electricity to the city will have a negative impact on the poor, “We support initiatives to preserving and protecting our environment, but not at the expense of those who can least afford it.”  As written on Rep. Rodriguez’ website, “that’s especially disingenuous considering that the poor are disproportionately affected by the impacts of dirty energy.”

There’s no good reason that switching to a clean energy economy would disproportionately impact low-income communities.  In fact, if done correctly (i.e. lots of energy efficiency and a localized work force to do audits and make those improvements), switching to a clean economy would actually be a boon for low-income folks in terms of lowered electricity use and bills, job opportunities, and lowered pollution levels.  Still not sure what we’re getting at?  Check out this video from Green For All to spell it out:

Church powered by wind turbine

Church powered by wind turbine

In response, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez along with Texas Impact, a local advocacy organization have organized Going Green, a community forum where the issue of Austin’s Energy Plan will be discussed and the public concerns will be addressed. It will be followed by an open discussion with representatives from Austin Energy.

The event will be held on Thursday, the 22nd of this month from 5:00 to 7:30 at the Education Center of Cristo Rey Catholic Church. Food and beverages will be provided for the attendees.

Mark your calendar, tell you friends, and come join us supporting Austin in becoming more green.

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Hey hey, looks like ReEnergize Texas was featured in a recent article on the New York Times’ Green, Inc blog.  Check it out:

College Students Clamor for “Green Fees”

By Kate Galbraith

College students often protest when administrators threaten to raise their fees.

But rising numbers of students seem willing to self-impose a “green” fee, to help the environment and purchase renewable energy. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education posts a list of universities that have such fees, which generally hover around $3 to $5 a semester but have increased to $40 a term in the case of Northland College in Wisconsin.

Portland State University is currently voting on whether to establish this kind of fee.

In some states like Florida and Texas, students at public universities have been foiled in their efforts to impose green fees. That is because any fee increase must be approved by the state legislature. The back-and-forth process can easily take four years, according to Trevor Lovell of ReEnergize Texas, a youth coalition pushing for measures to address climate change — by which time the student body will have (hopefully) turned over.

A bill backed by ReEnergize Texas is working its way through the Texas state legislature that would allow university students to impose green fees more easily.

A similar bill in Florida just failed.

“The economic woes of our country coupled with an increase to tuition for state universities, made the members hesitant to enact any more new fees this session,” said Zachary Keith, who coordinated the green-fee effort in Florida, in an e-mail message.

He vowed to try again in the next legislative session, and noted that referendums at big Florida universities have shown solid support.

Texas is trying to avoid Florida’s legislative fate. Amanda Grosgebauer, who has chaired the environmental issues committee at Texas A&M, wrote a letter to the legislature stating that in March, 76 percent of students at her university had favored increased environmental services. “That is more student support for one issue than in the history of the University,” Ms. Grosgebauer wrote, in a letter provided by ReEnergize Texas.

“In the past our efforts have hit against a wall of political preferences — environmental issues are seen as a leftist, radical or an unreasonable luxury,” Ms. Grosgebauer continued. “We are tired of hearing that excuse.”

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imagesGood mooooooorning Texas!  Just woke up, haven’t even gotten out of my pajamas or had my coffee (okay, I’m running a little late), but I couldn’t wait a moment longer to spread the good news.  We’ve hit the big Times.

Yes, that Times.  The New York Times.

Check out the following post from Kate Galbraith at the New York Times Green, Inc blog.  Look for cameos by our very own David Power, Rep. Mark Strama, and the Austin Solar Plant.

TEXAS AIMS FOR SOLAR DOMINANCE

The Lone Star State leads the country in wind-power. Now Texas aims to ramp up its solar production too.

This week the state senate is considering an avalanche of bills that would boost state incentives for solar power, and the entire legislative session has become known as the “solar session.”

Altogether, according to David Power, the deputy director of Public Citizen Texas, a consumer and environmental advocacy group, there are 69 renewable energy bills before the legislature, and over 50 of them promote solar power – far more than ever before.

“There are senators and representatives that are talking about solar that have never mentioned the word probably in their lives,” he said. “We’ve actually heard the term ‘global warming,’ and two years ago that was called ‘the G word’ – you didn’t talk about it.”

Mark Strama, a state representative who is a leading promoter of renewable energy, has introduced at least five green bills this year (including a measure that would allow local governments to create a property tax financing program for solar, along the lines of several California cities).

“It just seems like everybody recognizes our leadership in wind, and that government policy got us where we are today in wind,” he told me last month.

In solar, he added, “We need to catch up.”

Some businesses, concerned about higher energy prices, urge caution.

“The state should avoid picking economic winners and losers in our economy through subsidizing solar – or any energy source – at the expense of the residential, commercial and industrial consumers who contribute significantly to the Texas economy,” said Luke Bellsynder, the executive director of the Texas Association of Manufacturers, in an e-mail message.

He also said, however, that his group supported incentives and tax abatements for solar, and broadening the state’s energy portfolio.

Earlier this month, the city of Austin, which is aggressively pursuing renewable power, unanimously gave a go-ahead to a private company to build the largest photovoltaic plant in the country, so that the local utility, Austin Energy, can buy the electricity produced.

However, the city met fierce opposition from struggling local technology firms and other groups, who complained about the prospect of higher electric bills.

 

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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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This morning President Obama outlined his energy and environmental policy and how it fit into his broader effort to jump start our flailing economy. It was a like taking a breath of fresh air to hear someone actually addressing the environmental problems we face reasonably. Finally!

sexyobamapic

He focused on the problems we face as an opportunity to secure our interests and security, create jobs, and restore America’s moral standing in the world. Outlining his plan in four pragmatic steps, he stated unequivocally that “it will be the policy of [his] administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs.”

1) The plan aims to create 460,000 jobs that will provide the workforce to double the domestic production capacity of energy. Among the projects he listed were 3000 miles of transmission lines to move this energy and to increase the energy efficiency of government buildings and private residences.

2) It aims to revitalize the American Auto Industry by encouraging energy efficient innovation, hoping the new cars will be produced in the US and meet more stringent emissions standards by model year 2011. He ended by saying that by 2020 all cars would get at least 35 mpg, reducing daily oil consumptions by 2 million barrels a day.

3) Referencing the Bush Era EPA’s rejection of California’s and 13 other state’s waiver requests to increase emissions standards, he said “Washington stood in their way”. California had sued the EPA for inaction…it took them two years to review their application. And they rejected it. He wants the EPA to empower rather than stifle states to make these changes. He said that the EPA will review the California waiver rejection and insinuated that it would be approved.

4) He argued that energy independence was important to secure our interests and safety, as hostile governments maintain power over the US because we depend on them for oil. Dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and unhealthy climate problems are the facts that underpin his plan and it is his intention to use these to guide pragmatic problem solving. He emphasized that facts, not ideology would be used to inform the conversation on these issues. (What a concept!) He said the aim ought to be for America to set the standard and call nations like India and China to greater participation in what needs to be a global effort to clean up our environment.

Mirroring the talking points of Public Citizen, Mr. Obama has taken the first sensible step toward a real remedy for this problem. We are happy to see someone is finally thinking in the Whitehouse. How refreshing…

You can read the president’s full remarks here.

Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment/ to see the Obama/Biden Energy and Environmental Plan.

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