Posts Tagged ‘hearing’

The Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce will convene in a joint hearing with the Senate Committee on Natural Resources at 8:30 a.m. on February 15, 2011, in the Senate Chamber.  The purpose of the hearing is to receive updates on the power outages of February 2nd through 4th and to discuss the status, preparedness, and responsiveness of current operating procedures.  Invited and public testimony to be taken.

The hearing will begin with invited testimony divided up into 4 panels of witnesses.  The panel makeup is as follows:

Panel 1

  • Barry Smitherman, Chairman, Public Utility Commission of Texas
  • Trip Doggett, President and CEO, Electric Reliability Council of Texas
  • Michael Williams, Commissioner, Railroad Commission of Texas
  • Bryan Shaw, Chairman, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Sheri Givens, Public Counsel, Office of Public Utility Counsel

 Panel 2

  • David Campbell, Chief Executive Office, Luminant
  • Ned Ross, Director, Government Affairs, Direct Energy
  • John Ragan, Regional President, NRG

Panel 3

  • Brenda J. Pulis, Senior Vice President of Operations, Oncor
  • Wade Smith, President and Chief Operating Officer, AEP Texas
  • Larry Weis, General Manager, Austin Energy

Panel 4

  • Dick Erskine, President, Atmos Pipeline Company
  • Scott Doyle, Division Vice President, Texas Operations, Centerpoint Energy
  • Steve Turk, Vice President of Operations, Southern Division, Chesapeake Energy

Following the invited testimony, the committees will take testimony from the public.  You may submit written testimony, please submit 24 copies with your name on each copy to the Committee staff at the hearing, and please provide an electronic copy at your earliest opportunity.   If you would like to speak during public testimony, please limit oral remarks to three minutes.  Only those providing oral testimony will be listed as witnesses on the record, but you can still submit written testimony even if you are unable to speak at the hearing.

Live Video will be available on the Senate website

Senate Business and Commerce Committee Members
Committee Clerk:


Kimberly Selinger

Sen. John Carona

Vice Chair: Sen. Chris Harris
Members: Sen. Kevin Eltife
  Sen. Craig Estes
  Sen. Mike Jackson
  Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
  Sen. Leticia Van de Putte
  Sen. Kirk Watson
  Sen. John Whitmire
 Senate Natural Resources Committee Members
Chair: Sen. Troy Fraser
Vice Chair: Sen. Craig Estes
Members: Sen. Bob Deuell
  Sen. Robert Duncan
  Sen. Kevin Eltife
  Sen. Glenn Hegar
  Sen. Juan Hinojosa
  Sen. Mike Jackson
  Sen. Robert Nichols
  Sen. Kel Seliger
  Sen. Carlos Uresti

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The Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a controversial project to construct new power lines in the counties in the area around Hillsboro over the objections of numerous landowners from the area and several local elected officials.

The 3-0 vote came late yesterday afternoon after testimony from people likely to be affected by the $170 million project and a lengthy discussion among the three commissioners.

PUC Chairman Barry Smitherman announced to the room that he knew, “this is going to disappoint a lot of you, but I’m going to follow the ALJ’s (administrative law judge’s) recommendations.”

Most of the testimony revolved around the recommendations of the judges who presided over the detailed hearing on various possible routes for the segment of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, or CREZ, that would extend to several counties, including Hill, Bosque, Navarro, Shackelford and Scurry.

Commissioner Donna Nelson explained that the panel is tasked with balancing a wide range of competing interests to ensure that the state has the power it needs to keep up with ever-growing demand. and went on to note that everybody wants electricity, but nobody wants transmission lines.

The hearing room, along with two overflow rooms, was packed with people who came to Austin from the area where the power lines are planned.  To view the archived video of the hearing, click here.

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The EPA is holding hearings on newly proposed coal ash regulations throughout the country. One of the few places they’ve decided to hold a hearing is Dallas. Coal ash waste facilities have never been properly regulated, despite the fact that coal ash is full of toxic pollutants and carcinogens. This is due primarily to the fact that the coal lobby wants to profit off of their waste by selling it to other industries for use in manufacturing products ranging from concrete to fertilizer.

Texas has 17 coal plants, all of which produce massive amounts of toxic coal ash waste that get stored either in slurry ponds (coal ash mixed with water) or in landfills.

Check out more info and find out how you can encourage the EPA to regulate this waste properly by visiting Sierra Club’s action page.

For some background info on the coal ash waste disaster in Tennessee go here.


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 arePublic Citizen Texas.

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The TCEQ ruled today on the air permit for the proposed Las Brisas pet-coke plant in Corpus Christi. The good news is they didn’t grant the permit (yet), instead they remanded the permit back to the State Office of Administrative Hearings on a number of issues. However, they refused to acknowledge some of the most important aspects and requirements of the process (like a case-by-case analysis of the hazardous air pollutants) and practically ignored the recommendations of the administrative law judges and even their own staff – who have all recommended that this permit be denied.

TCEQ should have sent Las Brisas packing – they should have outright denied this joke of a permit, or at the least made them restart the permitting process from square one. Instead we have the same old story from TCEQ. They have shown once more that their primary interest is to allow industries to pollute irresponsibly and not, as it should be, to protect the people and environment of Texas from unnecessary pollution.

The video below is of the press conference held yesterday, which also talked about revisions to water quality standards – another mistake TCEQ is in the process of making. Visit Sierra Club’s website for more on that. Stay tuned to Texas Vox for more info on the Las Brisas case – the video footage of today’s proceedings will be up by tomorrow and will include responses from the protestants in the case including locals from Corpus Christi.

[vimeo 12988286]


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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pubclearYowza!  Looks like the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) won the stimulus dollars scratch off, big time.  SECO, which usually has a budget of around $2 million, will get an additional $233.8 million of federal money due to the stimulus bill.  That’s quite a sum that will be available to the state for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, green jobs training programs, and building retrofits.

The Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization held a hearing last week to make sure that SECO could handle this influx of funds and spend it wisely.

SECO’s response, in a nutshell, was “No Sweat.”  Which I certainly hope is true.  This is an incredible amount of money, and should be used as efficiently (yuk yuk yuk) as possible.

Floor Pass reports,

The agencies didn’t ask for help making policy changes to draw the dollars down from Washington, and they generally reported they had programs already in place to administer the money.

Robert Wood, the director of local government assistance and economic development, said the State Energy Conservation Office would have no problem spending the $233 million expected to flow through the State Energy Program. While there were some strings attached, the strings would not require SECO to make any changes not already planned pre-stimulus. (more…)

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