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Posts Tagged ‘TCEQ’

Far from the madding crowd

It’s well after 10pm and the crowd at the Sunset Advisory Commission hearing has dwindled, including the commisioners.  Of the 12 commissioners, I’m only seeing five still on the dias and as the camera periodically pans the audience, one can see that it has thinned considerably since this morning. 

Here at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Jimmy LaFavre is winding down his final set, and so am I.  Look for updates from folks who were at the hearing (and could actually hear the testimony) tomorrow. 

The Commission will announce their decisions on January 11, 2011, the first day of the Texas 82nd legislature.  We will see then what they do with all the input they have received from agency staff, industry, ordinary citizens and the environmental community.

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Here I am at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar people watching Christmas shoppers (for those readers not  from Austin, the Armadillo Bazaar is an annual artist Christmas venue which has been happening in our fair city for 30+ years and runs every day the two weeks before Christmas – yes they are here until 11pm on Christmas eve for those last minute shoppers).  I’m talking to people  about workplace giving and Texas environmental organizations while Jimmy LaFavre is performing about 300 feet away from me. 

At the same time. I’m streaming the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission hearing, which is finally getting around to TCEQ.   I can’t hear anything that is being said (what with that Jimmy Lafavre concert going on in the background), but I keep seeing folks, who showed up at 8:30 this morning ready to testify, finally getting to say their piece.  Many of them have a 3 to 8 hour drive home ahead of them.  All I can say is “Bless their hearts”, they are, in fact, the stuff of which Texas is made and I admire them greatly.

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If you want to watch the hearing on streaming video, click here.  The hearing is being held at the Texas Capitol, hearing room E1.036 (scroll down to Video Broadcast #8).

The Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT) is working with numerous concerned citizens who have come in from all over the state – Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Victoria, Abilene, El Paso and other smaller communities – to testify on improvements they think need to be made at the Railroad Commission and the TCEQ. 

Thank you to these everyday citizens who have taken time out of their lives to ask the state to do a better job of protecting all Texans from pollution.

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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 Sunset Advisory Commission has put TCEQ on the agenda for December 15th, following the Department of Transportation and the Railroad Commission. What this means is that public testimony on TCEQ should begin sometime after lunch.

We hope some of you can make it to the December 15th hearing.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly with your questions! Feel free to email us at texasfeedback (at) citizen.org.

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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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Texans living around the Victoria region attended a town hall in September to express their concerns about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on a number of different issues, including the proposed White Stallion coal plant in Bay City. On the panel were Sunset Commission Chairman Sen. Glenn Hegar, former TCEQ commissioner Larry Soward, the regional administrator of TCEQ for that area, and a lawyer with Blackburn & Carter who often take on environmental cases.

This town hall was one of a series of events held to provide the people of Texas a way in which to voice their concerns to TCEQ. The official Sunset Commission hearing on TCEQ is scheduled for December 15th in Austin. For more video footage of these town halls check our archives and stay tuned to TexasVOX. For more information on the ongoing Sunset review of TCEQ check out Alliance for a Clean Texas.

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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 arePublic Citizen Texas.

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The list of TCEQ Sunset town halls continues to grow with the addition of a town halls in Nacogdoches the week after Thanksgiving.  The Nacogdoches town hall will take place Tuesday, November 30th from from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Parks and Recreation Center.

All are invited to attend these town halls to learn about the current TCEQ Sunset review, and to voice their recommendations for changes that will improve TCEQ. State representatives and senators from the Nacogdoches region have been invited to attend; these town halls provide an excellent opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TCEQ’s impact in their community.

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In a three part story, KHOU-TV reports on a four-month investigation into radioactive contaminants in the Houston area drinking water. Revelations that came to light shows hundreds of water providers around the Gulf Coast region are providing their customers with drinking water that contains radioactive contaminants that raise health risks, according to state lab results and public health scientists. The data, from thousands of state laboratory tests from water providers across Texas, provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), ranged from 2004 to the present.

Watch part one of this investigative report.
Radiation in Houston’s Tap Water

The radiation was first discovered as a part of required testing, under federal regulations, of all drinking water provided by community water systems in America. (more…)

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Austin town hall meeting on the TCEQ Sunset review – Wednesday, November 17th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Bass Lecture Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on University of Texas campus. (This auditorium is located in the basement level of Sid Richardson Hall.)

All are invited to attend these town halls to learn about the current TCEQ Sunset review, and to voice their recommendations for changes that will improve TCEQ. State representatives and senators from the Austin region have been invited to attend; these town halls provide an excellent opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TCEQ’s impact in their community.

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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 list of TCEQ Sunset town halls continues to grow with the addition of town halls in Abilene, Austin and Lubbock the week before Thanksgiving.  The Abilene town hall will take place Thursday, November 18th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Unity Church of Christianity.

All are invited to attend these town halls to learn about the current TCEQ Sunset review, and to voice their recommendations for changes that will improve TCEQ. State representatives and senators from the Abilene region have been invited to attend; these town halls provide an excellent opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TCEQ’s impact in their community.

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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 list of TCEQ Sunset town halls continues to grow with the addition of town halls in Austin and Lubbock the week before Thanksgiving.  The Lubbock town hall will take place Friday, November 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Texas Tech School of Law.

All are invited to attend these town halls to learn about the current TCEQ Sunset review, and to voice their recommendations for changes that will improve TCEQ. State representatives and senators from the Lubbock region have been invited to attend; these town halls provide an excellent opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TCEQ’s impact in their community.

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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 list of TCEQ Sunset town halls continues to grow with the addition of town halls in Austin and Lubbock the week before Thanksgiving.  The Austin town hall will take place Wednesday, November 17th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Bass Lecture Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on University of Texas campus. (This auditorium is located in the basement level of Sid Richardson Hall.)

All are invited to attend these town halls to learn about the current TCEQ Sunset review, and to voice their recommendations for changes that will improve TCEQ. State representatives and senators from the Austin region have been invited to attend; these town halls provide an excellent opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TCEQ’s impact in their community.

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The No Coal Coalition brings their mascot, Pancho the Donkey, to the TCEQ hearing, but he is turned away. Photo by Susan Dancer

On Thursday, the TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) held a public meeting for the White Stallion Energy Center at the Bay City Civic Center to hear feedback on the plant’s application for a wastewater permit. (more…)

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With states scrambling to align their own rules with U.S. EPA‘s new regulations, which are set to take effect on Jan. 2, 2011 and require regulators to start issuing Clean Air Act permits next year for large stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissionsTexas is now the lone holdout, according to an analysis  by the  National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA). Click here to see a copy of the analysis. (more…)

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This morning at a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) hearing, Las Brisas Energy Center attempted to try to move their permitting process along by asking the commissioners to intervene in the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) process, but the SOAH Admininistrative Law Judges (ALJs) informed the TCEQ that changes to their process would not be prudent.

Vimeo

Both Commissioner Garcia and Chairman Shaw are shown here asking the administrative law judges who presided over the contested case hearing for the proposed Las Brisas coal (pet-coke) plant to speed the process along. The main reason for this is likely that the EPA’s new CO2 rules take effect on January 2nd of next year – and they don’t want to have to make the coal plant owners meet these new standards. Once again it is clear that the sole interest of these Governor-appointed commissioners is the financial interests of the applicants (coal plant owners, etc.) and not the health and well being of the people of Texas and their environment.

To watch the entire TCEQ video of the hearing (second item on the agenda), click here.

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Tomorrow  at 9:30 a.m. the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will have a hearing at their headquarters off Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane in north Austin regarding a status-update on the air permit application for the controversial Las Brisas coke-fired coal plant proposed for Corpus Christi.  Commissioners sent the application back for further review last summer.

This update on the planned Las Brisas Energy Center will be held in advance of Monday’s hearing by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The commission sent the application back to SOAH on June 30 to determine if the plant would be in compliance with federal clean air laws.

Las Brisas has asked the TCEQ to take unprecedented and extraordinary steps to issue an air pollution permit before the end of the year, in order to avoid greenhouse gas regulations that become effective early next year and tomorrow’s status update and Monday’s SOAH hearing should be watched carefully

When commissioners remanded the application in June, they cited problems involving technical readings of federal clean air laws, including whether petroleum coke should be in the same category as coal for the purpose of evaluating its impact on air quality.

Both the ALJ and the TCEQ staff had agreed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not specifically ruled on that question, but noted that the federal agency is expected to do so by next year.

The TCEQ’s decision to remand the application was based on more narrow concerns, including whether there would be an increase in particulate matter from offsite sources above levels expected under its most recent modeling.

The commission also instructed Las Brisas to be able to demonstrate that it could load the ashes from the burned petroleum coke into trucks for offsite disposal without contributing to additional emissions.

We’ll keep you updated on what is happening with this proposed plant as events unfold.

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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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