Posts Tagged ‘smitty’

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant -by Wikipedia

In an article by the New York Times that focuses on Vermont‘s concerns about losing space to waste from generators in other states, Matthew Wald writes:

Waste disposal is so difficult, says the company, Waste Control Services, that power plants and other generating sources have reduced their volumes sharply. And Vermont and Texas together produce so little that, the company adds, it would have to charge huge amounts per cubic foot and per unit of radioactivity to get its investment back.

Yet, the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition’s research shows the Waste Control Specialists site is currently licensed for 2.3 million cubic feet of water and 3.89 million curies. Texas’ existing four reactors and Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor would require 6 million cubic feet of capacity.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, the director of the Texas office of Public Citizen tells the New York Times that he believes, “They’re trying to get it done before the new governor takes office.”

To read the New York Times article, click here.

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After Week in Review‘s SXSW hiatus, our weekly blog update is back in action, keeping you posted on Public Citizen’s energy advocacy work. (more…)

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“Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today?” — Vladimir, Waiting for Godot

The Public Citizen Texas Week in Review (more…)

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Welcome to the debut of the Public Citizen Texas Week in Review. Every day our advocacy staff works to organize citizens and politicians in order to realize our progressive vision of a healthy environment, a sustainable economy, and a government of, by, and for the people.

This advocacy requires patience and discipline, resilience and fortitude, as our energy initiatives develop and progress across the weeks and months. You, our online readers, see this work culminate in blog posts, newspaper articles, press releases, protests, law suits, and policy proposals. What you don’t see is the day-to-day operations as our advocates set priorities, develop concrete goals, implement strategies, form coalitions, read, compile, and compose reports, and collaborate with other progressive energy activists. (more…)

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The full documentary Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars about the fight against the TXU coal rush in Texas is now online and Hulu. Watch it here. Or, if you’re not sold yet, check out this preview:

[vimeo 2397935]

Fighting Goliath was produced by the Sundance Preserve and narrated by Robert Redford.  It features our very own Director Tom “Smitty” Smith and covers a years-long battle against coal that is still ongoing today.  As Redford has said about the film,

The heart of this film is really about issues of health, future generations and the value of our own land and resources. The film was made to support the story of the Texas coalition and their struggle against a giant power company. It is our way of giving other states and communities a model for what can happen when people take personal responsibility and get results. We want to let people know that they don’t have to give up hope.

Though 8 of the 11 TXU plants were canceled, the remaining 3 have been built and have begun operations – and they are dirtier than the 8 canceled plants combined. What’s more, there are 12 more coal plants either in the permitting process or being built in Texas – more new plant proposals than any other state in the country. Visit CoalBlock.org and StopTheCoalPlant.org for more information.

The film will also be shown on PBS during the months of January and February throughout Texas. Not all locations and times are solidified yet, but so far we have:

January 8, in College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen

January 9, in Houston

January 10, in Killeen

January 11, in Lubbock

January 21 at 8:30pm in Austin, Amarillo, Corpus Christi

Thursday, January 21 at 9:30pm and repeats Sunday January 24th at 1:30 pm for Waco

*Sometime* in January or February Midland/Odessa:

February 18 at 9pm in San Antonio


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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thomas-smithToday the Heinz Foundation announced that it has honored Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen Texas’ Director of 24 years, with the 15th annual Heinz Award.  Smitty was one of ten recipients of this major award, which this year honors individuals that “have helped bring about a cleaner, greener and more sustainable planet.”

Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation, had the following to say about Smitty:

When we hear “Texas,” we don’t think renewable energy. We think oil—refineries and wells. But thanks to Heinz Award recipient Thomas Smith, the Lone Star state is leading the way in both energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. Mr. Smith looked out at what most people would have seen as a wall of improbability, he saw a way to change the state through hard work, community and inexhaustible determination and the country and the planet will benefit greatly from his efforts.

Smitty himself had the following to say about this achievement:

Award for Efforts to Combat Global Warming Shows That Citizen Organizing Can Pay Off

Global warming is a much more serious problem now than anyone ever thought it could be. Our best science tells us we have very little time to reduce the dangerous greenhouse gasses causing an impending climactic disaster.

I am honored to be among the individuals receiving this award because of their work on global warming and environmental issues. As our efforts in Texas have shown, citizen organizing can result in policies that create green jobs and new industries which make a profound difference in reducing greenhouse gasses, even in states where political leadership is in a state of denial.

Our efforts will continue to focus on addressing global warming by encouraging solar power and energy efficiency, which will even further strengthen the Texas economy, create new jobs and economic opportunities, and reduce electric costs. Our experience has shown that renewable energy deployment and efficiency place a hedge around volatile, rising fossil fuel energy costs, protecting families’ pocketbooks and their quality of life for future generations.

Press hits:

Texas director of Public Citizen receives $100,000 award, Dallas Morning News

Local environmentalist honored with hefty prize money, Austin American Statesman

Texas consumer leader among Heinz Award winners, Associated Press

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NOTE: David really wrote this and while Citizen Sarah might have put him up to it, she didn’t tell him what to say — just to write about his experience. The moral of the story is: interning at Public Citizen is awesome. Apply today (or tomorrow, if you already have plans for today). But soon!

I began my Public Citizen internship in May of this year and it has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable work experiences of my life. I finally feel like I’m really fighting the good fight and doing something that matters, not just selling my labor to the highest bidder. The staff here are wonderful. They share a knowledge and passion about the issues they work with that I have only occasionally seen any place else. They also all come from diverse backgrounds and each have their own sense of humor and areas of amazing knowledge and know-how. There is no drama or conflict in the Public Citizen Texas office: we work hard and we have fun doing it.

I have gotten to work extensively with Tom “Smitty” Smith who is one of the most influential and well respected environmental lobbyists in the state. Smitty is a relentless, uncompromising fighter for the causes of clean energy and better policy and it has been amazing honor to work with him. He is willing and able to boldly stand-up to anyone, but much of his success comes from his ability to clearly articulate his positions and bring others over to his side. As a young aspiring political reformer, I have made connections working at Public Citizen Texas that will benefit me for years to come. I have met several major players in Texas politics and the clean energy as well as the environmental movement. I am also a lot more knowledgeable about Texas politics and a host of energy and environmentally related issues as a result of my stay here than I ever imagined becoming.

Working here gave me the opportunity to do research that was actually used in policy debates. I have also helped contribute to media and outreach efforts, and have had multiple opportunities to appear before important players in Texas energy issues like the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission and the board of CPS energy. Other interns at Public Citizen Texas have made presentations to legislators and many of them have gone on to have careers in government reform.


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The Energy Collective, an online blogging group, hosted a webinar Wednesday about developing a roadmap for large-scale installation of renewable energy sources.  The online seminar’s expert participants described Texas as a world leader in wind energy, yet at the same time focused on the U.S. as lagging behind many countries in wide scale renewable installation.

“The audience is primarily American and you may not want to hear this, but you guys are lagging behind,” said Tom Raftery, a sustainable industry analyst for Redmonk and Energy Collective blogger who is Irish, but recently moved to Spain.

“All the markets are very different . . .Ireland is at about 7 percent (of renewable power sources), Spain is at 10 percent.  The U.S. is at about 1 percent.  The U.S. needs to (increase renewables), and do it fast,” Raftery said.

One attendee asked webinar participant Scott Sklar, who is president of the Stella Group and a chair of the Sustainable Energy Coalition’s steering committee, whether Sklar supported selection of an American “Energy Czar”.

“Yes,” replied Sklar.  “Because most of what the Department (of Energy) does are wonderful things but in the end have nothing to do with our energy policy.  Renewables don’t get due attention outside of photo opportunities because they are such a small part of the agency’s agenda.  It needs to be a cabinet post.”

Sklar said that converging interests demand fast development in the energy sector. He said that presidential candidate John McCain cited renewable development as a necessity for improving national security; Barack Obama cited it as a source of job creation, and environmentalists cite the need for the planet’s health.

“The U.S., by not having resolved our energy policy and letting our policy be driven by energy price has really harmed our own standing within these technologies,” Sklar said.

He added that the U.S. is now importing wind and solar (more…)

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