Posts Tagged ‘United States’

A new technology – solar roadways – has emerged that has the potential for powering the entire United States 3 times over for each year it is in service, along with reducing 75% of greenhouse gases the US produces. With over 31,000 sq miles of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and bike paths connecting the US, converting the surface areas into solar roadways is the ambitious and creative solution that creators Julie and Scott Brunsaw have proposed to solve the energy problems we face today and ahead of us.

solar roadways

Julie and Scott Brunsaw, creators of the Solar Roadways

Scott Brunsaw is an electrical engineer based in Idaho with his wife and solar roadway partner, Julie. Scott thought of this idea when he was younger and dreamed of a world that was futuristic and sustainable. First hand experience working in an oil company grew his drive to build a practical solar road.  Now, he and his wife have made the technology a reality.

The solar roadway panel itself is in a hexagonal shape that is designed to last a minimum of 20 years. It is covered in a snow and ice resistant, durable glass that is capable of supporting 250,000 lbs of weight and is equipped with programmable LED lights to easily light up the road. A parking lot-size prototype has been built with funding from the Federal Highway Administration and through a public funding initiative that has raised close to $150,000,000 through Indigogo.com.

solar roadwaysInside each of the solar panels are hi-tech microprocessing chips covered in a tempered glass that is capable of heating the panels to a few degrees above freezing to keep snow and ice off of the roads, making them safer and eliminating the need for snow plows. The microprocessing chips can also detect weight and can be programmed to illuminate the LED lights in the panels to show road lines, animals crossing, hazards on the road and more. The panels themselves are made up of mostly recycled material and are attached to a cable corridor that lines up alongside the road which is where the power lines and fiber optics are stored. More about the specs and benefits of solar roadways can be found watching this entertaining video.

solar roadwaysWhy this is so important to the US and the world can be seen in multiple statistics of our current energy situation. In 2011, the United States’ energy sources for electricity were made up of 91% non renewable resources such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear, with only 9% made up of renewable resources. With energy production contributing to 79% of greenhouse gas emissions, the US is in dire need of a new energy source to not only lower its contribution to global pollution, but also to act as an example to developing countries who are building their infrastructure. If an idea like solar roads were to be adopted by the most powerful country in the world, it would have a tremendously positive effect on the globe including cutting a significant amount of transportation emissions, creating new jobs to build the new infrastructure, help reduce dependence on foreign oil, and provide access to a  large renewable energy resource.

The positive potential for this project is very high, but it comes with great costs including an investment of up to $56 trillion to cover 29,000 sq miles of US roadways, electrical grid updates that allow for a greater electricity capacity, along with much more research and testing that needs to be done. Although the upfront costs are significant, solar roadways would pay for themselves as well as generate excess revenue. With more support and research, solar roadways could turn into the next big thing that could solve the energy crisis for the US.



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The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has taken a step that any self-respecting supporter of renewable energy should do – ditched the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  This relationship looked a lot like the fabled one between the scorpion and tortoise.

Despite members such as the SEIA and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), ALEC has decided to make a nationwide push to roll back renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) that have been enacted in many states.  The RPS sets a percentage of electricity consumed that must be derived from renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar.  The Texas RPS, passed in 1999, has helped propel the state into its role and a wind industry leader.  At one point last month, the ERCOT electric grid (which encompasses most of Texas) was getting 26% of its power from wind turbines.

congratulationsIt pleases me to see good organizations such as SEIA leaving the backward notions of ALEC behind and I hope that other well-meaning organizations, businesses and elected officials will take a hard look at the facts and do the same.  ALEC has perverted the legislative process to suit its needs.  Model bills are developed behind closed doors to fit certain member industry desires and are then pushed for adoption in as many states as possible.  Of course, as SEIA has likely discovered, not all members are equal and its the big boys that get to make the rules of the game.

Numerous polls and studies show widespread support for renewable energy, but nothing speaks so loud as money.  Only when the coffers at ALEC dry up will they stop pushing this kind of backward legislation.

It remains to be seen whether ALEC’s effort to repeal the RPS will gain any traction in Texas.  Here’s to hoping that saner heads prevail and send ALEC packing.

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Foreign Pipeline Owners Find a Way to Get Around Federal Permit Process

TransCanada is attempting to outsmart the State Department and bypass federal blocks by using two existing pipelines of poison after the State Department and President Obama delayed approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit amidst concerns about bias, conflicts of interest, and environmental issues,  If implemented the pipeline of poison will pose serious threats to Texas water resources that supply 12 million in East Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston metropolises, and our climate.  The groups are urging Texans to contact their local and state officials and ask them to stop the pipelines of poison.

“TransCanada is attempting to mislead the public and circumvent the regulatory mandates of Presidential approval, environmental review and public participation,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.  “They are now proposing to connect their Gulf Coast Segment (from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur and Houston, TX) into the end of their existing Keystone 1 pipeline.  Make that foreign tar sands corporations – 1: the United States – 0.”

“We also believe that Enbridge also plans to do the same by connecting their proposed Wrangler pipeline that runs from Cushing, OK to Houston TX to their existing Spearhead pipeline system that runs from Canada to Cushing, OK. It would be a serious mistake to allow these pipelines to carry toxic tar sands across Texas land,” continued Smith.

Threats to Texas Water Sources

These two pipelines of poison – TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Segment and Enbridge’s Wrangler – would pose serious threats to Texas water resources, including aquifers, drinking and agricultural water resources for up to 12 million Texans in Dallas, Houston and East Texas.

Tar Sands Pipeline Affected Texas WaterwaysTransCanada’s pipeline would cross the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, the Trinity Aquifer and the Gulf Coast Aquifer.  It would traverse 16 large rivers several of which are listed as sensitive and protected, and cross over more than 130 designated floodplain areas in Texas.  These rivers and drainages feed 21 lakes and municipal reservoirs, including Pat Mayse Lake, Lake Tyler and Lake Cypress Springs.

“TransCanada’s Keystone 1 pipeline has already leaked 14 times in its first year,” said Chris Wilson, a chemical engineering consultant for opponents of the pipeline.  “How can we trust them to build it better and not endanger the waterways in Texas?”

In 2011, one of Enbridge’s pipelines leaked over 1 million gallons of tar sands into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.  Clean-up efforts have cost over $700 million, it’s still not cleaned-up and people and animals are sick and communities are poisoned.

“Sadly, this is what happens when there are no federal pipeline safety regulations and effective cleanup procedure for toxic tar sands spills,” continued Ms. Wilson.  “Tar sands are not like crude oil which floats on water, they are heavier and they sink, making cleanup much more difficult if not impossible.  Congress should protect the public and put an immediate halt on all tar sands pipelines until studies are completed, safety regulations are enacted and effective spill remediation procedures are put in place.”

Other Threats to Texas

“Despite the fact that TransCanada and Enbridge imply that they might not have to undergo environmental review our analysis has identified several major environmental hazards and key red flags to the project that are cause for concern and require addressing,” said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.  “These include:

  • Toxic spills that would threaten drinking and agricultural water resources for up to 12 million Texans in Dallas, Houston and East Texas;
  • Exposure to benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAH’S) and heavy metals;
  • Increases in toxic refinery emissions, greenhouse gases, climate change and associated Environmental Justice issues in the end of market refinery communities in Texas;
  • Increases in refinery wastewater toxicity, toxic solid waste volume and spent catalyst toxicity ;
  • Lack of federal safety pipeline standards and spill remediation standards for tar sands pipelines;
  • Drought and wildfire in Texas;
  • Lack of Emergency Response Plans for volunteer fire departments to address pipeline fires; and
  • Eminent domain abuses, threats and bullying of TX landowners.”

Threats to the Health of Texans

The crude oil that would flow through the pipeline is known as diluted bitumen, or dilbit.  Federal safety officials don’t know precisely which chemicals TransCanada mixes with bitumen to create dilbit, including the levels of benzene used in the diluents. And even industry groups can’t say exactly how corrosive dilbit is.

“The U.S. EPA raised serious health risks over benzene in the diluents in a June 2011 letter to the U.S. State Department based on ambient air data at the Kalamazoo river spill”, stated Dr. Neil Carman, Clean Air Program Director of the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.  “In a tar sands pipeline spill Benzene easily volatilizes into the air at ambient temperatures allowing inhalation exposure to occur, its toxicity results in immediate health effects in the low parts per billion range.  Benzene also poses a water contamination risk at low concentrations.”

“These characteristics make benzene the most dangerous chemical to human health in a tar sands pipeline spill because it is a known human carcinogenic agent,” Carman emphasized.  “Short-term benzene exposures may cause a variety of health effects, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, narcosis, reduction in blood pressure, and central nervous system depression as reported in Michigan from the Kalamazoo tar sands spill in July 2010 where high levels (15,000 parts per billion) were measured in the air.”

Finally, Carman noted that, “Tar sands bitumen contains 11X more sulfur and nickel, 5X more lead, and higher levels of other toxic substances (arsenic, chromium, vanadium, boron, and zinc) compared to conventional crude oil.”  Carman concluded, “The higher toxicity of tar sands bitumen will result in increased toxic emissions in refinery communities already overburdened with too much air pollution where environmental justice issues have been ignored by the state and the oil firms.”

Threats to Air Quality and Climate Change

NASA’s James Hansen, a leading climate scientist who rang the first alarm bells nearly 30 years ago, has called the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline “game over” for the climate.

According to a recent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment, tar sands emissions are approximately twice those of conventional oil, making tar sands well-to-tank emissions approximately 82% higher than conventional oil.

“Tar sands oil is far dirtier than conventional crude oil,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office.  “This will significantly increase emissions from Houston and Beaumont refineries, which will further put the region beyond the ability to meet federal air quality standards.”

“The DFW area won’t fare much better as pumps are situated at 20- to 100-mile-intervals along the length of the pipeline to “push” the tar sands crude,” continued Smith. “Pipeline pumps may be powered by burning diesel or natural gas, or by using electricity (which may come from burning natural gas or coal at power plants that feed the area).  This will add to the emissions blowing into the DFW area.”

What Can Be Done If Foreign Corporations Circumvent U.S. Regulatory Process

Texans should contact their elected officials regarding their concerns about TransCanada’s Gulf Coast and Enbridge’s Wrangler proposed tar sands pipelines and they should ask their elected officials to join together to protect Texans from the dangers of toxic tar sands pipeline spills and impacts to end-of-market refinery communities.  The Texas Legislature needs to study tar sands, hold interim hearing about tar sands and work together with their constituents to assure that Texans water, air, land and health are not harmed by toxic tar sands.


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NRC Japan Task Force Report CoverThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Japan Task Force has proposed improvements in areas ranging from loss of power to earthquakes, flooding, spent fuel pools, venting and preparedness, and said a “patchwork of regulatory requirements” developed “piece-by-piece over the decades” should be replaced with a “logical, systematic and coherent regulatory framework” to further bolster reactor safety in the United States.

The report has been given to the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who are responsible for making decisions regarding the Task Force’s recommendations.

While declaring that “a sequence of events like the Fukushima accident is unlikely to occur in the United States” and that plants can be operated safely, the Task Force also recognized that “an accident involving core damage and uncontrolled release of radioactivity to the environment, even one without significant health consequences, is inherently unacceptable and proposed a comprehensive set of 12 recommendations to increase safety and redefine what level of protection of public health is regarded as adequate. It also recommended additional study of some issues.

The recommendations looked at ensuring protection, enhancing accident mitigation, strengthening emergency preparedness and improving the efficiency of NRC programs.

The report noted that the current NRC approach to regulation includes requirements for protection and responses for events that the facilities were originally designed to stand up to, such as earthquakes of the largest magnitude, or the highest flood level, or the strongest hurricane that had been experienced in the area at the time the permit was approved.  These are referred to as “design-basis” events.  There are also modest requirements for some “beyond-design-basis” events as well as voluntary initiatives by individual plant operators to address severe accident issues that are part of the NRC’s current framework for protection against what happened at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or Fukushima.  But as noted by the task force, the current approach is piecemeal.

The report recommends a more coherent regulatory framework that balances defense-in-depth (layered security mechanisms that increase security of the system as a whole) and risk considerations that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Requiring plants to reevaluate and upgrade as necessary their seismic and flooding protections and reconfirm every 10 years;
  • Strengthening Station Black Out (SBO) systems so that plants could cope with offsite or onsite power outages for a minimum of 8 hours; establishing equipment, procedures and training to keep the core and spent fuel pool cool at least 72 hours; and developing plans for offsite resources to be delivered to the site to support uninterrupted core and pool cooling;
  • Requiring that emergency plans address prolonged station blackouts and events involving multiple reactors;
  • Requiring additional instrumentation and seismically protected systems to provide additional cooling water to spent fuel pools if necessary;
  • Reviewing vent designs and identifying, as part of the longer term review, insights about hydrogen control and mitigation inside containment or in other buildings.

We now wait to see if and how the NRC will incorporate these recommendations into their licensing and regulatory authority over the U.S.’s nuclear fleet.  It is doubtful that this will slow the rush to relicense that is occurring around the country as plants near the end of their planned life.

Click here to read the full 79-page report.

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Check out this two-minute film from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch about the job-killing NAFTA-style Korea trade deal.


Or, if film isn’t your thing, read the script below. It is replete with links to images and underlying documents. And, if this makes you mad, do something about it. Click here to go to our action page.


It is heartbreaking, but true: After campaigning against more job-killing NAFTA-style trade agreement, President Obama has adopted Bush’s Korea trade deal.

It is opposed by labor, consumer, environmental and family farm organizations. The Chamber of Commerce and multinational corporations love it.

NAFTA with Korea is projected to cost 159,000 more American jobs and increase our trade deficit. Losers under this deal: the jobs of the future; solar and wind energy; mass transit equipment and more.

NAFTA with Korea is celebrated by the Wall Street firms who wrecked our economy. No doubt, it limits financial regulation.

NAFTA with Korea is opposed by many in Korea because of its financial deregulation and because it would allow up to 65% Chinese parts to go into “Korean” exports to the US–killing Korean jobs.

The Korea deal has the outrageous NAFTA-style provisions that empower multinational corporations to skirt our court systems and directly attack our state and federal laws before World Bank and UN tribunals to demand compensation from us taxpayers for any policies they say undermine their future expected profits. Under trade deals, this system has been used to attack toxics bans, forestry and mining laws, land use and zoning rules — even domestic court rulings.

NAFTA with Korea could also undermine our national security. The sanctions we have to keep the North Korea dictatorship from obtaining hard currency to build up its weapons systems would be undermined. A loophole in the deal would deliver billions to the North Korean regime. It allows goods assembled in South Korea but comprised of parts from the notorious Kaesong North Korea sweatshop zone to obtain special access to our market.

We can stop NAFTA with Korea by ensuring a majority in Congress vote against it. Opposition to more NAFTAs is one of the few issues that unite Americans across the political spectrum. You can make the difference visit www.citizen.org/korea to learn how you can take action to stop the Korea Trade Deal.

 Follow Lori Wallach on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PCGTW

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The tragic events unfolding in Japan demand a re-examination of U.S. nuclear policy.  While stocks in nuclear plummet and nuclear industry lobbyists scramble on Capitol Hill to shore up support for massive federal subsidies to kick-start the stagnate industry, concerns regarding the existing aging fleet are surfacing and should be heeded.  Click here to read more about specific concerns about some of the aging US nuclear fleet.

Amazingly, despite emerging concerns about existing and proposed reactors, the Obama administration has said it will not back off its plans to further prop up the nuclear industry through increased taxpayer-backed loan guarantees and the inclusion of nuclear power technology in the administration’s clean energy standard. The administration has included $36 billion in loan guarantees in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2012. Instead, it should immediately halt subsidies and instead focus on developing solar and wind power.  Take Action on Nuclear Subsidies

The administration  must take off the blinders, look hard at what is going on in Japan and realize that yes, a catastrophe can happen here.

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A new online film, the “Story of Electronics”, will be released on Tues, November 9. This is the newest in the series of the excellent, user-friendly Story of Stuff web-films about excessive consumerism and waste.

The Story of Electronics  tells the story of how electronics are really “designed for the dump” and not made to last or made for recycling. View the trailer at: www.storyofelectronics.org

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Cross-posted from our mother blog at CitizenVox. We don’t normally cross-post much because we’d prefer you to read their blog just as much as ours, but if you’re not, please add them to your rss feed now!

Of the $176.1 million spent by outside groups using large, often undisclosed contributions to influence the current elections, just 10 groups are responsible for the bulk of the spending, according to a new analysis released today by Public Citizen.

What’s more, 59.9 percent of the money comes from undisclosed sources. Of those contributions that have been disclosed, nearly two-thirds has come from just 0.12 percent of the contributors. The analysis of data from Public Citizen’s Stealth PACs database shows that:

  • Those groups have spent $176.1 million. Of that, $114.6 million, or 65 percent, was spent by only 10 groups.
  • From the 10 groups, money spent on behalf of Republicans has outpaced money spent on behalf of Democrats $79.4 million to $28.5 million.
  • Five groups have spent money on more than 35 races each. Eleven groups have spent money on more than 20 races each.
  • Eighty groups have not disclosed any information about the sources of their money. These groups have spent $105.4 million of the $176.1 million total. Only $70.7 million of the spending – just 40.1 percent – has come from disclosed sources.
  • Thirty groups have entered the fray for the first time in 2010 in the past two weeks.

“Outside group funding is shaking the foundations of our electoral democracy, but the situation is far worse than it seems at first blush,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “A tiny number of organizations, relying on a tiny number of corporate and fat cat contributors, are spending most of the money on the vicious attack ads dominating the airwaves. The vast majority of donors remain hidden behind a veil of secrecy, in many cases of doubtful legality. The biggest surge in funding will come in the next week. And this election cycle’s spending is merely a prelude to something far worse in 2012. The trigger for all this was the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United; the key to repairing our democracy is a constitutional amendment to undo the decision.”

The analysis includes charts identifying the groups spending the most to influence this year’s elections, the groups engaged in the most contests, the races that have been the subject of the most outside spending and the contests focused on by the independent groups that have sprung up in the past two weeks.

The Stealth PACs site allows users to search the expenditures and limited contribution data of independent groups that are intervening in this year’s elections using contributions of more than $5,000 or undisclosed contributions.

The site also enumerates the outside groups’ expenditures on each race, discloses the vendors and other recipients of expenditures of $1,000 or more, and provides links to the FEC filings on expenditure data.


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, the US House Administration Committee voted the Fair Elections Now Act out of committee.  San Antonio Representative Charlie Gonzalez cast a decisive vote in favor of the bill, putting a bill that would give optional public financing to all Congressional candidates for further than it has ever gone before.

Tell Charlie Gonzalez how you feel– thank him for his vote and leadership by calling his office at (202) 225-3236 (DC) or (210) 472-6195 (San Antonio).

Unfortunately, in the Senate, Republicans continued to filibuster the DISCLOSE Act.  They did this a few months ago, too. At the time Public Citizen’s Craig Holman had this to say about it, and we think it’s still apt.


Texas Senators Cornyn and Hutchison voted in favor of corporate special interests who want to hide how they’re pulling the strings in Washington, and I think you should tell them so.

And because no punchbowl for Fair Elections would be complete without some corporate tool laying a dookie in it, enter Texas Rep. Joe Barton, who you may remember apologized to BP, feeling the oil-spilling giant had been mistreated by Congress.  Well, he’s still apologizing to corporations, now saying that his committee should hold hearings on Fair Elections Now, which he’s already made up his mind on (hint:  he ain’t fer it.) This is nothing more than a massive delay tactic, just like the time he made a rule that all amendments to Waxman-Markey be read aloud in committee, so the committee hired a speed-reader.

In any case, we still have a lot to be happy about.  There is some possibility we could get a full vote on Fair Elections Now before the end of the year in the House– if your member of Congress hasn’t publicly stated they will support it, they need to hear from you!  And if they have stated their support, call them anyway and thank them for standing up to special interests.

By the by, I’ll be at the National Coffee Party Convention in Louisville the next few days, where I’ll be presenting on a couple of panels about these very issues.  If you want to participate virtually, you can!  From Coffee Party’s email:

The big news today is that we are LIVE STREAMING the convention from Louisville starting at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow (Friday). Convention participants, both in person and via webcast can interact via Twitter (#CoffeeParty), Facebook, on our convention website, main website and on our newly created Ustream channel.

CLICK HERE for today’s press release about added speaker John Avlon, and HERE for Monday’s release about Lt. Dan Choi and Fair Elections Now.

We are especially excited about livestreaming the Mock Constitutional Convention on Saturday from 10:30am-4:30pm co-chaired by Lawrence Lessig and Mark McKinnon.

To read about the speakers, CLICK HERE. To review the schedule of events, CLICK HERE. To read about the break-out sessions, CLICK HERE.

You can still REGISTER online. You can also register in person at the registration desk when you arrive at the Galt House.

We are currently raising funds for the following purposes: $5,000 for Audio/Visual expenses, including production and live-streaming costs that are allowing us to document as many workshops and panel discussions as we can, which will become on-line educational tools available to the public.

It would be tremendously helpful if you could donate for this. $5, $10, $20, any amount would help.


The convention and the web cast will wrap up Sunday night with a viewing party of MTV Networks’ television world premiere of “9500 Liberty.” This is the film that Eric Byler and I co-directed that documents how the extremists dominated the debate over immigration in Prince William County, VA in 2007 & 2008 and how the silent majority organized and restored balance to the government. On Sunday, the film will be broadcast to 100 milion homes across America.

This video explains how the lessons of 9500 Liberty inspired the creation of the Coffee Party. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8sQUYarTig

See you in Louisville, or, we’ll see you online! And, thank you so much for being part of the Coffee Party community.

Good night, good luck, and see you around the coffee pot.


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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It has been about half a year since the battles started between the EPA and TCEQ over the Texas’s flexible air-permitting program. Unfortunately, the Governor has taken advantage of this issue to use to attack the Federal Government in his bid for the Governor post. Many have us have forgotten that the EPA started questioning the state’s permitting program during the Bush administration, long before Obama took office, but since this is an election year, Perry will do anything within his reach to cling on that chair.

The EPA finds the 16 year permitting program incompliant with the Clean Air Act. The program makes it difficult to monitor the pollution and reduce emission from Texas facilities because, rather than having to disclose pollution for each individual smokestack at a facility, they aggregate them all together. The Governor and the Attorney general have already sued the EPA protesting the latter’s “overstepping its authority.”  The TCEQ says the program is just fine and gives permits to Texas at a cheaper cost.

But we and most other environmental groups, find flex permits severely lacking.  All we (and the feds) are asking for is some basic transparency.  If flex permits do work, simply tell us what your emissions are, and let’s have a debate about the efficacy of the program.  Buit we can’t do that while industry and TCEQ hide the data from the public.

After the many twists and turns this battle has taken, the EPA has set in place a new rule to start a voluntary Audit Program under which refineries and other facilities in Texas can hire a third party auditor. If businesses fail to meet the standards after being audited, the EPA promises not to penalize them but to work with them to acquire a federal air permit.

TX facilities should find this program reasonable.  According to the EPA’s website, “The Audit Program is available for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Participants who sign up in the first 45 days can take advantage of a reduced penalty incentive for potential violations.”

The TCEQ has protested the new rule, “he state of Texas vigorously defends its flexible permits program and expects to prevail in court. Flexible permits are legal and effective,” said  Terry Clawson, the Spokesman for the TCEQ.

Well, if that’s so– show us the data. They won’t, because they know that it won’t stand up to scrutiny.

Finally, Texas facilities will follow the Clean Air Act, just like facilities in every other state.

Meanwhile, tax dollars Texans pay are being wasted on a state agency that refuses to do its job of protecting the state’s environment, and are being wasted by our governor and attorney general on meaningless lawsuits.  The EPA is not out to get Texas and just like Al Armedariz said, “Our objective is to get good permits.”

That’s our goal, too. TCEQ is undergoing Sunset Review by the Texas Legislature. Let’s hope we get an agency that follows the law.


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 Law Center - Has the offices of the ...

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In a message from the State Bar President Terry Tottenham to members of the Bar, he reminds attorney’s in this State that there are  important changes being considered to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (TDRPC) and that the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors is conducting a series of public education hearings on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Board of the State Bar has created an online clearinghouse of information regarding the proposed rule changes at www.texasbar.com/ethics. The site includes:

  • the revised proposed amendments and interpretive comments (click here for PDF)
  • a redlined version of the proposed changes (click here for PDF)
  • an overview of the process and summary of significant changes written by the Court’s rules attorney (click here for PDF)

The site will be updated with audio recordings of the public education hearings and other relevant information. Lawyers and members of the public are encouraged to post comments.

Changes to the disciplinary rules will affect all Texas lawyers and their clients . Many organizations, including Public Citizen, as well as individuals have weighed in on the proposed amendments. We  believe that the public has not been adequately informed of opportunities to comment and that the proposed amendments run counter to the public interest. Click here for an open letter from our director, Tom “Smitty” Smith. Click here for the comments Public Citizen submitted to the Texas Supreme Court regarding the proposed amendments. Click here for links to other comments the State Bar has received.

The State Bar Board of Directors will discuss the proposed TDRPC amendments and any recommendations or comments during the board’s quarterly meeting in Clear Lake on Oct. 1, 2010.

If you have questions about the proposed amendments or the State Bar’s public-education process, or if you wish to submit written comments, please contact Ray Cantu at (512) 427-1506 or [email protected].


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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