Week in Review

Busy, busy, busy. Public Citizen staff have been making the rounds this week, traveling all over Texas in order to educate, empower, and organize citizens. From Beaumont to Dallas. From tar sands to the Public Utility Commission, we are working to protect the economic and environmental well-being of all Texans.

The Week in Review:

Public Citizen is co-hosting a screening of the film Casino Jack tonight at 7 0’clock at the Regal Arbor Cinema at Great Hills. Visit the Austin Coffee Party’s Facebook page for more information.


Ryan Rittenhouse and Mona Avalos finished their tar sands tour yesterday in Tyler. The U.S. Department of State hosted four public meetings this week across Texas to discuss the proposed expansion of TransCanada’s oil pipeline from Canada all the way to the Gulf Coast. Ryan spoke at the meetings in order to educate citizens and government officials on the liabilities and dangers of the tar sands pipeline, which could bring 900,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil into Texas every day. Look for Ryan and Mona to update everyone next week on how the meetings went.

Matt Johnson attended the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee Interim Charge on state municipal utilities’ generation plans–Smitty testified at this interim session. Matt also met with Austin Energy’s C.O.O. Cheryl Mele about the Competitive Matters Resolution.

Along with Matt, Andy Wilson worked with Austin Energy on the Competitive Matters Resolution. Open government advocates believe that the resolution would be a barrier to making AE’s information accessible to the public. Public Citizen is encouraging people through the Facebook group Austin has a dirty secret to leave comments on AE’s page.

Andy continued organizing our efforts to oversee the Sunset Advisory Commission’s review of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). He participated in an organizing call hosted by Sierra Club to discuss how citizens from all over Texas can get involved in the review process to reform the TCEQ.

Andy sent out an action alert to San Antonio residents to write and call their Congressmen and -women supporting the federal DISCLOSE Act. The DISCLOSE Act will help alleviate some of the damage done by the Citizens United decision. On Thursday with the support of San Antonio Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, the campaign disclosure bill passed the House Administration Committee and will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.

Tom Smitty Smith had meetings in Dallas with local leaders on air quality in the city. He went to Bay City where he met with citizens fighting the proposed White Stallion coal plant. He also submitted comments to the Public Utility Commission regarding consumer protection rules relating to a proposed rule that would not allow customers on a deferred payment plan to switch to a lower cost electric rate and a rule on the designation of critical care customers.  (See the blog earlier during the week on these two consumer unfriendly proposed PUC rules)

David Power meet with ratepayers and elected officials in Houston, along with Smitty and other local advocates, last Saturday on electric rates and smart meters at the C.R.E.W meeting sponsored by Rep. Turner. He continues to work on organizing for the upcoming PUC and ERCOT sunset hearings. After preparing testimony for the  South Texas Nuclear Project proposed expansion, he attended the Bond Buyer’s Financing Sustainable Energy and Efficiency Conference in Houston to help obtain financing for solar programs for all Texans.

Intern Patrick Reck is heading on vacation to California. He’ll be back for the summer to keep fighting the good fight.


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.