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Posts Tagged ‘houston’

The Great Texas Clean-Up Festival is coming to Houston!

The Sierra Club and Texas Environmental Justice are rolling out the Great Texas Clean-Up Festival, from 4-10 at the Discovery Green in Houston, an event expected to kick off a larger campaign to clean up Texas. Public Citizen is a coalition partner and will be there! Check out our booth!

Headlining the event is Dallas native Ray Johnston with the Ray Johnston Band, a groovy, rock soul act with plenty of attitude. Rounding out the event are Los Pistoleros de Texas, bluesman Mrs. Glass, and country western singer songwriter Robert Ellis.

Expect keynote speaker State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston to give a rip-roaring speech, flanked by the impassioned Ana Hernandez, three term representative from district 143 of Houston.

About a dozen Houston-based artists are expected to showcase, including Lizbeth Ortiz, who created this piece, “Nurturing Hands”.

There will be a Kids’ Corner [possibly spelled Kidz Korner, at presstime we weren’t sure] and plenty of political activism.

Check them out at www.cleanuptexasnow.org

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An eye opening story from KHOU earlier this week gave more insight into what’s the matter at TCEQ.  It’s worth your 5 minutes to watch the entire thing but here are the highlights:

Valero installed a pollution scrubber to create lower sulphur fuels in one of their Houston refineries.  The problem? According to TCEQ staff, the scrubbers actually create MORE local pollution, and to add insult to injury, the vast majority of the lower polluting fuel gets sold in California and New Jersey.

But Valero still wants a tax break specially designed for technology that lowers LOCAL pollution for installing this scrubber.  Because the tax cut would be retroactive, this would mean Houston area taxpayers would be on the hook to make up the deficit.  That means either a tax hike or layoffs for teachers, firefighters, and police. (more…)

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This Thursday, March 4 the Center for the Study of Environment and Society, in partnership with the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program and the U.K. Science and Innovation Team, British Consulate-Houston cordially invite you to their upcoming discussion:

The Challenges of Communicating Climate Change

with

Tim Reeder, Regional Climate Change Programme Manager, U.K. Environment Agency

Mark Maslin, Director of the Environment Institute, University College of London

David Vaughan, Science Leader, British Antarctic Survey

Moderated by

André W. Droxler, Director of the Center of the Study of Environment and Society, Rice University

Thursday, March 4, 2010

4:00 pm

Reception to Follow

Kelly International Conference Facility, Baker Institute. Rice University

To attend, please RSVP online, by fax to

713-348-5993 or by email to [email protected] by *Monday, March 1*.

Please feel free to forward this email to any parties interested.

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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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Anybody catch this article last week in the Houston Chronicle? An important issue to think about: how coal plants will not only affect the surrounding air quality, but that of communities down wind. If the White Stallion coal plant is allowed to be built: Houston, we will have an even worse smog problem. Look for Ryan’s quote to close it out!

City’s smog concerns may choke power plant

Pollution near Matagorda could drift to Houston

By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

A proposed coal-fired power plant in mostly rural Matagorda County, 90 miles from the traffic-choked freeways and smokestacks of Houston, has moved to the center of the debate over the big city’s air.

Some federal regulators, Houston lawmakers, and environmentalists say the proposed White Stallion Energy Center would only exacerbate the city’s stubborn smog problem as tougher nationwide limits for the widespread pollutant come into play.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for one, wants Texas regulators to prove that pollution from the coal plant would not make Houston’s smog worse before issuing permits. Critics also want the state to require the power company to consider new technology that might slash emissions of smog-forming pollution.

The push comes amid a review of the proposal by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which will soon recommend whether the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should grant the plant’s air permit.

The plant would be built less than 20 miles from the boundary of the eight-county Houston region that was long in violation of federal limits for smog or ozone. Rules on industrial pollution — in particular, new sources — are tighter inside such areas than outside, even though smog ignores county lines. (more…)

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Public Citizen and Area Legislators Urge State to Deny Air Pollution Permit

HOUSTON – Area legislators joined Public Citizen this week in urging environmental agencies to deny the White Stallion coal plant its air permit because if built, the facility would degrade air quality in Houston.  The emissions from this proposed power plant would exacerbate the problem of smog in the Houston-Galveston-Beaumont region, which already is in violation, or “non-attainment,” of federal ozone standards and may soon have to meet higher standards as the result of a new proposal to strengthen the federal ozone rule

“The proposed White Stallion coal plant would harm the health of the people of Matagorda County, degrade the environment, and stifle economic development and tourism throughout the region,” said Ryan Rittenhouse, coal energy analyst with Public Citizen’s Texas office. “We are pleased to see Texas legislators step up to protect our citizens, the environment and Texas’ economic future.”

White Stallion’s air permit hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings begins today and will last through Feb. 19. That office will make a recommendation to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The air pollution permit is the first step; the project still will need a wastewater permit from the TCEQ and an additional permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

If granted an air permit, White Stallion will increase emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), the principle component of ozone, by more than a third in Matagorda County, where the plant will be located. That translates to more than 4,000 tons per year of NOx that would blow into the Houston area, dramatically increasing ozone levels in the non-attainment region.

“The proposed White Stallion coal plant will be less than 17 miles from the Houston/Galveston non-attainment region. Coal plants such as this one are one of the largest, individual sources of smog-forming pollutants,” said State Rep. Ana E. Hernandez (D-Houston). “Particularly in light of new EPA ozone standards, why should we allow a coal plant to be built on our doorstep? It will only make it that much harder for us to clean up Houston’s air pollution.”

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that the TCEQ has not been adhering to the Clean Air Act in its issuance of new air permits, but the TCEQ has failed to change its permitting process.

For this reason, Texas legislators, including Reps. Hernandez, Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) and Kristi Thibaut (D-Houston), sent appeal letters this week to Dr. Al Armendariz, regional administrator of the EPA, urging the agency to step in and provide much needed guidance and oversight to the TCEQ. Their letters asked that the White Stallion power plant not be given an air permit to begin construction until the EPA ensures that constituents will receive the full public health protections of the federal Clean Air Act.

“I urge TCEQ and the EPA to deny the permit authorizing the White Stallion coal plant to be built in Matagorda County. Texas’ air quality must be improved for the good health of every Texan. The goal of clean air and clean water can be obtained by a commitment to reducing air contaminants,” Farrar said.

Despite the fact that a new coal plant could hinder Houston’s ability to meet federal regulations, the TCEQ refuses to predict or consider air impacts that are outside the non-attainment region. In fact, the TCEQ executive director filed legal briefs arguing that evidence showing White Stallion would contribute to ozone problems in the Houston area is irrelevant to the decision of whether to grant the White Stallion air permit. The TCEQ similarly refuses to consider cumulative impacts when granting an air permit, such as the fact that the 30-year-old Parish coal plant is only 50 miles northeast of the White Stallion site and also within the Houston/Galveston non-attainment region.

White Stallion would also pull 36,000 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River every year. Increased activity from the two barges required to deliver coal every day would contaminate the water with toxic runoff and erode the embankments.

The proposed plant would be located along a 100-year floodplain and would store coal ash waste on site. In the event of extreme weather, that toxic waste could easily wash into public waterways.

“The proposed White Stallion coal plant would dump thousands of tons of toxic pollutants into our air and water every year, when this region is already in non-attainment for clean air,” Thibaut said. “Furthermore, construction of this plant would remove 36,000 acre-feet of water each year from the Colorado River, which serves many drought-stricken areas of our state. As the elected representative for thousands of my constituents who would be affected, and as the mother of a small child, I cannot stand by as our air and water quality are further eroded.”

If the project is granted its air permit, advocates still have a chance to challenge the permit in state court and to reform the TCEQ through the sunset review process.

“The TCEQ is one of a number of state agencies that are about to undergo sunset review at the Texas Legislature. The sunset commission has the power to reform this agency and insist that any permits issued in the future adhere to the Clean Air Act,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “With this process, Texas has the opportunity to ensure that the health of Texans and their environment are protected more than the profits of energy corporations.”

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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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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!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiNk_19tgk]

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

[vimeo 9206598]

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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 week we’re working with Environment Texas and several other activist groups in Austin and Houston to host free activist workshops and training days! 

The training is being run by The Public Interest Network and will feature sessions on:

    * the best techniques for organizing your neighbors to take action, and* the best ways to persuade your local media to cover an issue you care about.

It’s a chance to learn, share ideas and connect with other environmentally active citizens, as well as activists from other causes. 

Our own Ryan Rittenhouse and (Citizen) Sarah McDonald will be on-hand at the Austin workshop, and we hope to see you there! To register for the Austin workshop from Friday, Feb. 5, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., click here! To RSVP for the Houston training on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., click here!

**Personal note: Attending one of these Houston trainings during my senior year at Rice University was one of the ways I got my foot in the activist/media door.  The experience is definitely worth giving up a little TGIF/Saturday morning cartoon time. Hope to see you there, and if you go to Houston please let me know how your training day went!

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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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Check out the video and op-ed below by some of our Clean Air Texas coalition partners about the hearing in Houston tomorrow on the EPA’s new proposed rule to strengthen ozone standards. I’ll be at the hearing tomorrow, along with Ryan Rittenhouse, to represent Public Citizen and interview folks from around the state who’ve come to speak up for clean air.  If you plan on attending the rally, look for us and tell us your stories!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iCUHsJA4as]

It’s Time to Weigh in on Smog Limits

Imagine this conversation between a mother and child:

“Mommy, can we go outside and play?”

“Not today, dear, it’s just not safe.”

Most of us growing up in Texas didn’t wait for our parents to check an air quality report before venturing outside in the summer. But things have changed. Today, we know that rising temperatures bring rising ozone levels and as summer arrives we’re forced to restrict outdoor activities to limit harmful exposure.

Still, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t hide from poor air quality. We’ve got to clean it up.

That’s why we are encouraged that the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new limits on ozone “smog” pollution to protect human health. On Tuesday, the EPA hosts an all-day public hearing at the Houston Hobby Hilton to get your feedback on these proposed stronger standards.

Why should you care about ozone? Ground-level ozone triggers asthma attacks, sends children to the emergency room and can even kill. It’s a serious health threat — especially in states with warmer climates like Texas. When our abundant sunlight and heat “cook” our equally abundant emissions from traffic and refineries, it forms — you guessed it — too much ozone. (more…)

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Right now the EPA is accepting public comments on proposed new ozone standards that will make the air we breathe cleaner and our communities healthier, but they are facing fierce opposition from the coal industry and its allies. The Houston EPA hearing on new ozone standards is one of only three across the country (the other two are in Virginia and California), so this is a big deal!

Can you join us for an important EPA public hearing on hazardous ozone standards in Houston on February 2nd?

The final decision by the EPA will have an impact on our air quality for decades, but they need to hear from you.

Who: The EPA and you, your friends, family and neighbors.  There will be carpools from around the state.

What: EPA public hearing on proposed revision of the ozone standard which would improve the air quality in Texas

Where: Hilton Houston Hobby Airport, Moody Ballroom, 8181 Airport Boulevard, Houston, TX 77061 (map)

When: Tuesday, February 2, from 9:30am – 7:30pm (or later if there are still people waiting to testify!)
– 10:45am: Morning press conference/rally
– 6:30pm: Evening rally with speakers

RSVP!

Texans deserve standards that follow the law and abide by the Clean Air Act.  There are twelve new coal plants proposed in Texas, and we already have 17 coal plants up and running (some of the dirtiest in the country).  We deserve better.

Thanks for all that you do!

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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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The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes you a happy MLK Day as it brings you this week’s blog highlights.

Off the Kuff takes a look at some demographic trends in the Houston area.

Something STINKS about TCEQ’s recent Fort Worth air study. Considering that the Barnett Shale has a staggering asthma rate of 25% compared to 7.1% statewide, TXsharon thinks it’s time for an intervention in Texas. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme, along with every other progressive, knows why Democrats are having a hard time. Even the Tea Party activists know that our country should not be run by corporate lobbyists.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson discusses the importance of the election this year, 2010 races loom large for 2011 legislative redistricting.

Mary Peters loves her some private toll roads which is understandable since her income depends on stupid people at TXDOT selling off our roads. McBlogger, understandably, has a problem with the fact that taxpayers have to get screwed for Mary and her masters to make money.

A few of PDiddie’s friends around the state are taking a crack at public office this year. See who they are at Brains and Eggs.

Bay Area Houston notices What they didnt talk about at the Republican debates.

Neil at Texas Liberal updated his Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List for 2010. This list is the best such resource on the web.

MUD? FWSD? WTF? Developer welfare comes back into the light in Denton County, at the Texas Cloverleaf.

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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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Today Texas environmentalists, legislators, and medical practitioners wait with bated breath for an announcement from the EPA about a new air quality standard for ozone pollution.  The proposed rule would strengthen the Bush administration’s ozone standard, which did not meet scientific scrutiny or standards to protect public health. Now that scientists have demonstrated that ozone is harmful at lower quantities than previously thought, the EPA will announce a revision to their ozone rule so that the threshold of ozone concentration where cities enter “non-attainment,” or violating the rule, is lower.

Three major metropolitan areas in Texas are already in non-attainment of the less-protective standard: Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston/Galveston, and Beaumont/Port Arthur.  As a result of the new rule and lower threshold, several other areas could now be in risk of non-attainment: Austin, Tyler/Longview, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Waco.  Reaching non-attainment status has some serious consequences for cities, such as losing federal highway funds.

In August of this year the new rule will go into effect, after which time the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the EPA.  The SIP plan will more or less be a road-map to stay within the new standards and drastically reduce ozone pollution.  The SIP is really where the good news comes into play, because to stay in line with higher standards Texas will need new pollution controls, clean energy alternatives and transportation choices.

Oh, Santa, you shouldn’t have!  This is a much better gift than the coal we got in our stocking in the form of the Oak Grove Coal plant going on-line just days before the new year!

But there’s also a chance that this new ozone standard could ALSO give us a new opportunity to stop the coal rush.  Pollution from coal plants is one of the largest single sources of ozone, so a really awesome super-smart SIP plan could potentially give us the chance to review existing clunkers and gum up the works for new plants. Oh I hope I hope I hope!

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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 Texas Progressive Alliance is still somewhat amazed to be living in the year we make contact, and we hope we’re all still going strong when Odyssey Three rolls around.

Texas has most drilling, worst regulation. Texas made national news this week in the ProPublica investigative report and they used pictures provided by TXsharon @ Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

WhosPlayin reports that the local city council is once again considering the question of whether to participate in 287(g) and force its vendors to use E-Verify to check for work eligibility.

BossKitty at TruthHugger found a poignant editorial on Al Jazeera: Weary Soldiers At Risk, They Know This – Why do foreign correspondents have more in depth observations than America’s own Corporate media who follows the money and toes the line for sponsors political perks that promise ’scoops’.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks all kids should be given free, nutritious school meals. Just do it.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson discusses another worthless GOP plan for transportation in Texas, Kay’s transportation plan is a clunker.

The Texas Cloverleaf questions whether or not a Houston City Councilman-elect knows the difference between a campaign website and city resources.

Off the Kuff called out some political gamesmanship over the murder rate in Harris County.

Last week Teddy reviewed the best of the Left of College Station, and looks at the year ahead at Left of College Station. This week Left of College Station will begin coverage of the 2010 campaign season in the Brazos Valley, and report on human trafficking in Houston.

Candidate filings, including Gordon Quan for Harris County Judge and a list of the statewides, appears in PDiddie’s post at Brains and Eggs.

Bay Area Houston hopes the next decade will be better than the last.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog covered Gordon Quan’s campaign kickoff including full video of Quan’s speech.

LibbyShaw puts together the latest throw downs exposing GOP hypocrisy and lies. Check it out : Rachel Maddow Busts Republicans for Cowardice, Hypocrisy and Lies.

At McBlogger, Mayor McSleaze noted with some interest that Marc Katz filed for Lt. Governor. Some, but not much. More important to him was a really nasty prairie dog attack.

Neil at Texas Liberal selected his wife as person of the decade and named his blog—Texas Liberal— as blog of the decade.

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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 November/December edition of Public Citizen News, a bi-monthly newsletter distributed to Public Citizen members, featured this article on our statewide “Roll Beyond Coal” Tour.  Since not all of you out there get the newsletter, I thought I’d share:

‘Roll Beyond Coal’ Tours Texas

By Geena Wardaki

It’s not often that you lug a 20-foot-tall inflatable “coal plant” around Texas to protest dirty coal-fueled power plants.

But that’s exactly what Public Citizen and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club did in September.

The “coal plant” served as a powerful image that drove home the message to “clean up dirty power plants now,” which the groups delivered to Texas residents during the “Roll Beyond Coal” tour.

The groups visited Texas communities where proposed coal plants would be built and met with local grassroots and citizen organizations.

The two-week tour, which was part of Public Citizen’s Coal Block campaign, stopped in Waco, Dallas, Abilene, College Station, Corpus Christi, Bay City, Houston and Austin. Texas residents turned out in crowds of varying sizes to show their support and protest with the tour at each stop.

“The biggest cities actually had the smallest response,” said Ryan Rittenhouse, Coal Block campaign director for Public Citizen’s Texas office. “The largest turnouts were from grassroots movements where the issue is more local, smaller towns where proposed coal plants would be built and whose residents would be directly affected.”

Area demonstrators included members of T.P.O.W.E.R. (Texans Protecting Our Water Environment and Resources) from Waco, the No Coal Coalition from Bay City, the Multi-County Coalition from Sweetwater and the Clean Economy Coalition from Corpus Christi.

“Roll Beyond Coal” had two main objectives: one, to show support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent finding that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) rules for granting permits to new coal plants do not comply with the federal Clean Air Act; and two, to push the EPA to stop  the TCEQ from granting any permits for or allowing the operation of any new coal-powered plants and from issuing any new air pollution permits. TCEQ currently issues “flex permits,” which allow coal plants to sometimes exceed emissions as long as they don’t go over their total emission caps for the year. Eleven coal plants are proposed or under construction in Texas, more than any other state in the country.

The “Roll Beyond Coal” tour also educated people about federal climate change legislation making its way through Congress (H.R. 2454). Concern exists that new climate change legislation will grandfather proposed or newly built plants, allowing the plants to avoid the proposed emissions standards. (Senate climate change legislation also would enable new plants to be evade emission control standards for a decade.)

Public Citizen told residents to call and write Texas Sens. John Cornyn (R) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), and urge them to vote against the grandfathering of new coal plants in the climate change legislation. (Visit www.coalblock.org to see how you can e-mail these senators, too.)

“The ‘Roll Beyond Coal’ tour was an important and entertaining way to reach out to Texas residents and get them engaged and involved in blocking dirty coal power plants,” Rittenhouse said.

“Now, people need to let their lawmakers know that coal plants should not get special treatment in any climate change legislation.”

Geena Wardaki is a Public Citizen communications intern.

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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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TXsharon @ Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS helps you follow the money to see why Governor Perry and others want Texans to keep breathing toxic air.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is proud to give a Hat Tip to Houston – Annise Parker inherits a City of Progress.

The Stonewall Democrats of Denton County denounce Rep. Michael Burgess for his recent actions against openly gay Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings, at the Texas Cloverleaf.

This week on Left of College Station Teddy covers the dispute in Waco between the McLennan County Republican Party and the Hispanic Republican Club of McLennan County over whether or not the Republican Party needs to reach out to minority voters. Also on Left of College Station this week, the tradition of homophobia continues at Texas A&M and the Coalition for Life invites anti-choice and anti-woman Jeb Bush to speak at their annual fundraiser. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

While Houstonians took great pride in the election of Annise Parker as mayor, it was discouraging to see — despite his company’s multi-million dollar contracts with the city and his apparent misunderstanding of their value — that Stephen Costello was elected to city council over a good Democrat, Karen Derr.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme hopes Silvestre Reyes gets primaried for his vote against a women’s right to choose. Beto O’Rourke may be just the one to do it.

Off the Kuff gave a rundown of the Houston runoffs.

Over at BlueBloggin, guest writer Len Hart of the The Existentialist Cowboy, has been connecting some dots with the CIA Efforts to Control World Distribution of ‘Illicit’ Drugs. If the US/CIA hoped to control this lucrative trade, the Taliban had to go. I wonder how many CIA ‘black ops’ have been financed ‘off the books’ (as was Iran/Contra) with the proceeds of its various drug.

Neil at Texas Liberal does not understand why the Burger King on Houston’s Harrisburg Blvd. needs to be open on Christmas Day. Neil is certain that staff at Burger King wants to be off on Christmas and that an Xmas Whopper is a depressing thought. The picture in the post features a rare snowfall in Houston.

WhosPlayin finds that once again Lewisville ISD is trying to shut out citizen involvement. This time, they’re trying to supersede state law and charge more for public information requests.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on a discussion about where the Democrats in Texas stand heading into 2010, Pragamatic party building.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog has a guide to the historic Houston runoffs.

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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 Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone had a happy Election Day last week, and is already looking forward to the next one. Here are this week’s highlights.

TXsharon continues to report from a backyard in the Barnett Shale. Despite all the local and national press on drilling related toxins, carcinogens and neurotoxins in our air, Aruba Petroleum Refuses a Simple Step to Improve Barnett Shale Air and thereby recklessly and willfully endangers public health and safety. Read it on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

refinish69 announces his endorsement for the Democratic nominee for Texas governor at Doing My Part For The Left. The progressive choice has to be Hank Gilbert with his policy issues and especially his strong stance on GLBT issues. Hank Gilbert for Texas Governor was the only choice refinish69 could make.

Justin at Asian American Action Fund Blog has a thorough take on the results of election day in Houston.

The Texas Cloverleaf provides an election night roundup of some of DFW’s races you never heard of, and some national ones you have.

If you dislike Rep. Dennis Kucinich as much as Mayor McSleaze, there’s probably something right with you.

quizas of South Texas Chisme notes that Galveston medical facilities are among those not notifying about rules for the poor, while CouldBeTrue notes South Texas Democrats join Republicans in shafting poor women. Shame on them.

BossKitty at TruthHugger Let me ‘dis’ the local Austin TV news media who gets around to breaking the Health Care Reform Bill news TWO and a half hours later. Hooray for the House Austin just lives in a bubble.

Over at BlueBloggin, nytexan takes a long look at another disgusting practice of our medical insurance industry. We Have One Twisted Health System, Living Organ Donors Beware. The organ donor’s family is never charged for donating. The family is charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Surprise for organ donors: unexpected medical bills. Austin man who gave kidney to co-worker is one of many who have faced health complications, billing problems.

Bay Area Houston says Hispanics, the largest voting block in Texas, are not voting.

WhosPlayin learned of an illegal meeting of Lewisville ISD trustees this past Thursday and Friday, and has video of trustees mentioning this blogger when discussing whether to implement video recording of trustee meetings.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at an interesting story about Judge Sharon Keller of Court of Criminal Appeals that was eclipsed by the tragedy at Fort Hood.

Off the Kuff has six questions for the runoffs in Houston.

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman toes the ethical line with her active promotion of an assistant for her job, and the local media thinks that’s just fine. Get the details in PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw has news for Cornyn and Sessions about the Republican Resurgence. As she notes:

I wouldn’t gloat too much, boys. Your job in Washington just got a lot harder. Meanwhile, back here at home, in case you boys forgot that Houston is the largest city in Texas, three progressive Democrats and one Republican ran for mayor. The Republican dude and the old white guy with boatloads of bucks lost. The run-off race is between a gay woman and an African American male.

See the rest here: I have news for John Cornyn and Pete Sessions

WCNews at Eye On Williamson reports on the local toll authority’s latest shenanigans, CTRMA to jack up tolls on 183-A, add automatic annual increases.

Neil at Texas Liberal bought Thanksgiving cards drawn by a young person with cancer who is being treated at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The design Neil bought is both bleak and hopeful.

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