Archive for August, 2009
Posted in Global Warming, tagged annise parker, ashby high rise, bay area houston, brains and eggs, chet edwards, denton county, EPA, eye on williamson, gene locke, Global Warming, governor perry, health care reform, joe lieberman, left of college station, mcblogger, medicare, obama, pete olson, peter brown, south texas chisme, ted kennedy, texas cloverleaf, texas liberal, texas progressive alliance, texaskaos on August 31, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
It’s the week before Labor Day, and the Texas Progressive Alliance is hard at work bringing you the best of the Texas blogosphere. Here are this week’s highlights.
The Texas Cloverleaf wonders why only one person showed up to a budget meeting where taxes are being increased in Denton County. No tea bags left?
Neil at Texas Liberal offered the fullest extension of the back of his hand to opponent’s of Houston’s Ashby High Rise.
TXsharon wonders what Governor Perry is thinking to appoint a global warming denier as the highest environmental official in Texas at a time when polling shows Americans support Obama on reducing greenhouse emissions and when the EPA has just confirmed water contaminated with hydraulic fracture fluid. Maybe the question should be: Does Perry think?
Lightseeker over at TexasKaos insists that we not hold health care reform hostage to solving the Abortion Wars. See this and more in his posting, Abortion Wars, Health care and Private Enterprise.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts about The good news health care reform would bring to TX-31 and Williamson County.
Setting a date for the eventual US Senate special election is all about the MoFo, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
Teddy at Left of College Station covers the Chet Edwards town hall on health reform live from the Brazos Center, and then shares his thoughts on the town hall, and why a vocal minority is against health care reform. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines: remembering Senator Ted Kennedy.
I got an email from my brother thanking me for the Zoolander references in yesterday’s blog post about the “Faces of Coal” Astroturfing. His only complaint is that there wasn’t more Mugatu.
Well, after reading Bjørn Lomborg’s nonsense in today’s WSJ, I can honestly say:
I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!
Lomborg may classify me as an alarmist, but when I listen to him it makes my head want to explode because he wants to have it both ways. He says climate change is not a pressing crisis, but one that can be solved through middling, weak policies and technology research. But then he says solving climate change will be beneficial and cheap. Not to be crude, but WTF?
This is the most backwards thinking since Exxon was named Forbes’ “Green company fo the Year” (BTW, Forbes says Exxon is “green” because of its support of natural gas! Again–WTF?!?)
Lomborg claims that climate change will not be serious and damaging– it might even be beneficial! His argument? Loss of agricultural productivity, etc, in one area will be offset by gains in another. Just tell us that while we in Texas are suffering under the worst drought and hottest temperatures ever– our loss is North Dakota’s gain? I’m sure Texas will be glad that our farming and cattle operations will move to Oklahoma and Nebraska– and we can just bake in the sun with no water.
But then he advocates radical geoengineering policies like cloud-seeding to have clouds’ albedo effect shelter the earth from more direct sunlight. (Too bad Lomborg, not a scientist, hasn’t kept up with the scientific debate, or else he would’ve read that increased water vapor and clouds would actually speed up global warming) He then claims that doing this to “Solve” global warming could save $20 TRILLION dollars.
So,let me make sure i understand this correctly:
Argument 1: Climate Change won’t be Costly
Argument 2: Solving warming will save $20 Trillion Dollars.
Any disconnect here? On what alternate plane of existence does $20 Trillion Dollars not amount to a @#$%load of money? (And here I was under the delusion that Lomborg was an economist)
Lomborg completely ignores the real solutions here: energy efficiency and renewables. According to McKinsey and Company, we can cut our greenhouse gas emissions 35-40% as a country at a net cost savings using technology already in hand. Already in Texas, we see the effect that having wind as part of our electrical generation reduces costs, as evidenced by lower electrical rates in the West ERCOT zone where the wind is, over areas relying more on oil, gas, coal, and nuclear.
Lomborg has not only missed the boat– he’s not even anywhere near the shore. Solving climate change will bring Texas millions of new green jobs and spur a technology revolution that will change how we live in the same way the Internet and computer revolution has– and all of those changes are for the better. But you don’t have to take my word for it: read a transcript of a debate between Lomborg and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Colombia University from Fareed Zakaria GPS a few months back. Also read here someone who spend their time cataloging the ways that Lomborg misrepresents the facts in his writings.
Posted in Nuclear, tagged atomic safety and licensing board, department of agriculture, energy security, environmental report, Global Warming, Karen Hadden, livestock, matagorda county, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Public Citizen, radioactive waste, robert v. eye, safety, san antonio water system, saws, SEED Coalition, south texas association for responsible energy, South Texas Project, susan dancer, toxic discharge, tritium on August 28, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Citizen opposition to two proposed nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project continues with another success. On August 27th the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) Panel found that the nuclear applicant, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC), had failed to adequately analyze issues raised by concerned citizens in their Petition to Intervene in the proposed expansion at STP.
“This is a major victory for those living in the South Texas Project region and throughout Texas,” said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the SEED Coalition. “The decision recognizes that the South Texas Project reactor application is still inadequate, two years after it was submitted. We now have a case against the reactors that will move forward.”
SEED Coalition, Public Citizen and the Bay City based South Texas Association for Responsible Energy (STARE) are Intervenors in the case. Attorney Robert V. Eye went before the ASLB Panel in June and argued the admissibility of 28 contentions challenging the license application for two additional reactors, Units 3 and 4, at the South Texas Project. The ASLB Panel has ruled on 19 of the 28 contentions submitted and found that one of the contentions deserved further inquiry, giving Intervenors a case against the reactors. It is not known when a decision will be made on the remaining contentions.
“South Texas Project’s reactor application is seriously flawed.” said Mr. Eye. “They failed to analyze how a severe radiological accident or a major fire or explosion at any of the four units would impact the other remaining units at the site. This is a major omission and the issue should have been considered by STP.” The contention reads:
Contention 21 – Impacts from severe radiological accident scenarios on the operation of other units at the STP site have not been considered in the Environmental Report.
“A radiological accident at one unit could cause impacts and disruptions in operations at the other units,” said one of the Intervenors, Bill Wagner, a former STP Operations Supervisor. “How would operations at undamaged units continue in the event that the entire site becomes seriously contaminated? STP needs to address this.”
Water Issues Are Yet to be Decided
The ASLB panel delayed a decision on all nine of the Intervenors’ contentions that deal with water issues. The issues yet to be ruled on include: the build-up of radioactive particulate in STP’s Main Cooling Reservoir (MCR), increasing levels of groundwater tritium, the vulnerability of the MCR to flooding, insufficient limits on toxic discharges, reliance on dilution to achieve discharge standards, unregulated wastewater discharge, unevaluated reduction in groundwater supply for adjacent landowners, unevaluated reduction in surface water flow, and inadequate supplies of fresh water due to global warming impacts.
“Nuclear plants consume enormous amounts of water and are vulnerable to shutdown during drought and reduced river flows. The two proposed reactors would use over 23,000 gallons of water every minute.This is a real one-two punch. Not only would STP’s operations reduce water supplies for cities like Austin or San Antonio, but the plant might not even be able to operate if the Lower Colorado River has severely reduced flows from drought,” said Hadden. “These problems don’t exist for wind, solar and geothermal sources to generate electricity.”
“The current water shortages in our area are hitting us hard,” said Susan Dancer, a local wildlife rehabilitator and Chair of South Texas Association for Responsible Energy. “Livestock suffer since hay and other feedstuffs are in incredibly short supply and there is no grass left. We have personally spent over $5000 this summer having hay trucked in from other areas on semis and have gone deep into debt trying to keep the livestock fed and healthy. Everyone here is in the same situation, so selling off stock is not an option. Prices are at all-time lows due to the large number of producers who are dumping stock at the markets already.”
“Texas is in a Stage 4 drought and has been declared a disaster area. The Texas Department of Agriculture says there are no programs available to assist us,” said Dancer. “Granting more water to industry, especially nuclear reactors that consume vast quantities of water, is not an option. This drought and others to come may be even worse.”
When it comes to water, San Antonio and Central Texas citizens are feeling the pain as well. On Monday, the San Antonio Water System filed suit for breach of contract against the Lower Colorado River Authority for $1.23 billion. The suit claims that the water-sharing project was killed by the river authority to make sure there would be enough water for power plant deals in Matagorda County. At the same time CPS Energy, the San Antonio municipal utility, seeks to be a partner in the proposed nuclear reactors for Matagorda County. Will San Antonio have to decide which matters most, electricity from nuclear reactors or water for drinking?
Large Fires and Explosions that Cause Loss of Coolant and Meltdown
On August 14th, the Intervenors filed seven more contentions regarding STP’s failure to comply with a new NRC fire safety rule which says each licensee must “develop and implement guidance and strategies intended to maintain or restore core cooling, containment, and spent fuel pool cooling capabilities under the circumstances associated with loss of large areas of the plant due to explosions or fire.” The NRC now requires nuclear plants to deal with explosions and fires that would occur from the impact of a large commercial airliner. STP claims that their submittal brings them in accordance with the new NRC rule. Intervenors and their expert argue the opposite in the contentions. However, the Intervenors’ contentions that argue STP has failed to meet the fire and explosion regulatory requirements, STP’s submittal, and related documents are considered classified by the NRC and are not available to the public.
The NRC has also recently adopted regulations that require all applicants for new reactor licenses, including STP, to complete “a design-specific assessment of the effects of the impact of a large, commercial aircraft.” After 9/11 the NRC did its own assessments of aircraft impacts using state-of-the-art techniques and “realistic predictions of accident progression and radiological consequences.” “This regulation recognizes that nuclear plants are vulnerable to air attacks with potentially catastrophic effects,” said Hadden. “Nuclear plants could become weapons if targeted by those who would do us harm.”
The full order can be viewed online at www.NukeFreeTexas.org.
Posted in Efficiency, Energy, tagged #nn09, bill white, building codes, cap and trade, consumer advocacy, Efficiency, Energy, fuel efficiency, Global Warming, houston mayor, low-income consumers, netroots nation, Nuclear, renewable energy, science, senate on August 27, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
While at Netroots Nation a few weeks back, I had the opportunity to listen in on a panel discussing climate change, Texas’ energy future, and energy security featuring Houston Mayor Bill White (you might have also heard he is running for US Senate).
Mayor White gave very measured, political answers. Throughout the panel, never did the words “Cap and Trade” leave his lips, but he did remain skeptical of anyone who claimed to have it all figured out and that their answer would be easy and painless. He also showed legitimate concerns about the impacts of renewable energy mandates done wrong on low-income consumers. As a representative from a consumer advocacy organization, it is refreshing to hear White’s commitment to protecting our most vulnerable even as we chart a new energy future.
Mayor White’s stated goals are to become more energy independent for basic security reasons and to be in control of our energy future. To do so, he maintains that we must reduce our pollution based on sound science, and do so in a way which does not burden low-income households. He proposes three main mechanisms to meet these goals:
- Cut the amount of fuel we use in vehicle travel without impinging on people’s ability to travel freely– specifically by increasing our efficiency per mile traveled.
- Cut the amount of energy consumed in buildings. Why drive up the cost of business by paying for electricity?
- Decrease the amount of power we get from coal and substitute that power with cleaner sources
Despite some skepticism, Mayor White certainly showed that our energy future could have our cake and eat it too, namely through increased efficiency in building codes, fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, and use of cost-effective renewables. See the edited video here:
Public Citizen does not and would never endorse candidates. Even if we could, it’s hard to get an exact read on Mayor White and how he would act as the next Senator from Texas on the issue of federal climate policy — so even so we could offer little endorsement other than a candid analysis of his words and his record.
When asked off-camera about how he would vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), the climate bill which passed in the House in June and due up for debate in the Senate over the next 2-3 months, he remained committed to energy efficiency but overall rather vague. White showed skepticism as to large long term goals rather than smaller but gradually increasing cuts in emissions. His version of the bill, he said, would have strong building code mandates, a renewable energy efficiency standard (which is it, Bill?) with a price cap on renewables to protect consumers, and change dispatch priorities to wean the nation off of coal fired power. He did not, however, indicate whether or not he would support implementing a federal cap on carbon dioxide emissions or the cap and trade mechanism.
This is a question likely to come up in the next few months when ACES comes to a Senate vote, and hopefully Mayor White will have a clearer answer prepared when that time comes. But if the final answer is no on ACES, would he have some specific policy solutions about how to improve the bill, or would he just cast the same “no way, never” vote that we’ll likely get from John Cornyn or Kay Bailey Hutchison?
That being said, it is refreshing to hear a candidate speak so fluently about energy policy. Mayor White’s record on energy as Deputy Secretary of Energy stands on its own, as does his impressive work on making Houston a national leader on energy efficiency. We may still be uncertain as to where he stands on ACES, but we certainly know his feelings on energy efficiency both in word and deed – which is nothing to sneeze at.
Posted in Coal, tagged american coalition for clean coal electricity, astroturf, clean coal, Coal, coal ash, coal ash slurry spill, coal ash spill, coal ash waste, coal industry, coal mines, coal mining, coal plant, Faces of Coal, mountain top removal on August 27, 2009 | 4 Comments »
Rule #1 for being an organization even pretending to be a grassroots movement: Actually have some grassroots supporters. Even manufactured outrage groups ginned up by Freedomworks or the Tea Bag people or United Health Care actually have people who believe and will regurgitate their corporate PR spin. But, presumably because the coal industry couldn’t find and photograph any actual human beings who supported their agenda, they have had to resort to buying and using internet stock photos.
“The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal).” the latest “grassroots” organization to join the public conversation on behalf of the coal industry, appears to be a project of the K-Street public relations firm, the Adfero Group, one of industry’s most accommodating voices in Washington, D.C.
The FACES website, which includes no contact information, is registered to Adfero.
We’ve touched on the fact that the new coal industry front group “FACES” has yet to come forward with a list of their members. Well, thanks to a few new media> gumshoes, including our own Jamie Goodman and our friends at DeSmogBlog, we’ve learned that not only is FACES hosted by a K-Street firm called Adfero, but all of the “FACES” of coal are actually just istockphotos. They couldn’t even get real photos of their supporters.
You can see the actual photos and screencaps by going to the Front Porch Blog.
If Big Coal wanted to hire models to be the faces of coal, we could’ve saved them the trouble and recommended these photos:
And let’s remember that it is not that far of a drive to get out to coal country even from Washington DC, where both West Virginia and Pennsylvania coal-centric communities are less than a 3 hour drive. It just must really be that hard for fat cat K Street lobbyists to take time out of their busy schedules wining and dining at $2300 / plate fundraisers and take a camera out to coal country to see the actual faces of coal.
Here’s an example of what they might actually find if they did:
Real voices from coal country know that coal is killing us. It kills their local economies and destroys precious landscapes and water supplies and kills workers because greedy mine owners care more about profits than human lives, such as in the case of the Crandall Canyon disaster in Utah last year. It pollutes our air and contaminates our water when we burn it, so much so that a USGS study this week found that every fish they tested in the US had mercury contamination. And even after it’s burned, the coal ash waste is a problem. From when they dig it up out of the ground to when they try to store the ash, coal is dirty, cradle to grave. And grave here is meant in the literal sense.
Don’t be fooled by expensive-cocktail-drinking, $1000-shoe-wearing lobbyists in Washington and their stock photos. The real faces of coal are against it, and we should be moving away from it as quickly as possible.
Posted in Campaign Finance, tagged Bill Richardson, Blagojevich, Campaign Finance, corruption, Fair Elections, Fair Elections Now Act, money, politics, public financing, Roland Burris, scandal on August 27, 2009 | 9 Comments »
UPDATE: Bill Richardson was cleared of any wrongdoing in this fund raising scandal and we wanted to briefly comment on it and also resurrect this post, which to this day remains one of our most read blogs ever.
As I commented in response to some of your reader’s comments below, the point was never to drag Gov. Richardson through the mud. Indeed, considering his eventual vindication, it re-emphasizes the point that if we had a system of public financing, no politician would ever face erroneous charges such as this.
Money muddies the water, both for the good public servant and the bad politician , and anyone we force to raise private campaign cash we are asking them to prostitute their opinions on the altar of political expediency. And we get the system we deserve because of it.
Original Post: Jan 5, 2009
I’ve heard it said that churches are supposed to make bad men good and good men better. Our campaign finance system seems to do the opposite: make good men bad and bad men worse (ie, Governors Richardson and Blagojevich, respectively). As far back as Socrates, outside observers have noticed the corruptive influence of money on public policy. Our public servants worshiping at the altar of campaign donations is sure path to hell for most of us. But the fact that we force them to do so by not providing a public financing system begs the question: Are we getting what we deserve?
As Richardson withdraws his name for consideration of being Commerce Secretary, more and more details are coming out about his ethical problems. Did he take campaign donations that changed his votes? Possibly, or at least there’s enough of an ethical cloud there that no one can know for sure.
And that’s the problem with how we finance our campaigns. No one can ever be truly sure that their Legislators, Representatives, Senators, Mayors, Governors, or Presidents are taking a position because of the merits of the proposals themselves, or because someone with deep pockets convinced them that’s how they should vote. The same can be said of incoming Senatorial appointee Roland Burris. It’s surely not his fault that Blagojevich is a slimeball, but the public just can’t be certain that he was appointed based on his merits alone and not because Blagojevich had some ulterior motive.
The only way to remove all doubt is by supporting public financing. We can only hope during this next Congress that we see some real leadership on this issue so that We the People can know that we are, indeed, still the ones in charge of our government and not the other way around.
Posted in Nuclear, tagged clean technology forum, CPS Energy, facebook, julian castro, kstx, lanny sinkin, michael kotara, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Public Citizen, public radio, San Antonio, san antonio town hall, solar san antonio, South Texas Project, STP, terry gildea, Texas, texas public radio, Tom "Smitty" Smith, Twitter on August 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
UPDATE: The streaming audio from last night’s event was, unfortunately, very hard to listen to — but folks who weren’t willing to wade through the feedback can watch our video of the town hall in its entirety, which we should be able to post in the next couple days
Tonight KSTX will host a Town Hall on Energy in San Antonio to provide the forum we’ve all been waiting for — an honest and open debate of whether or not SA should invest in two new nuclear reactors and the safe, clean alternatives that SA can choose to meet its future energy needs.
The Clean Technology Forum will provide an opportunity for a similar opportunity for this discussion — but at $50 a pop, only the most well-heeled San Antonians will be able to attend. KSTX’s Town Hall, by contrast, will be free and open to the public. Folks who would like to attend in person should plan on being at the McAllister Auditorium at San Antonio College (SAC) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm — but if you can’t make it, never fear. KSTX will be streaming the conversation live from their website www.tpr.org, as well as carrying the town hall on the radio at 89.1 FM. You can also submit your question on Facebook or Twitter — three cheers for interactivity!
Should be a good show — maybe even a bit of a sparring match, judging by the panelists. In one corner we’ve got: Michael Kotara, Executive Vice President for Energy Development, CPS Energy and Mayor Julián Castro, who supports the nuclear option even though he would rather San Antonio own 20% rather than 40% of the new reactors. In the other, Lanny Sinkin, Executive Director, Solar San Antonio and co-founder of Citizens Against Nuclear Power and Public Citizen’s own Tom “Smitty” Smith, whitehat extraordinaire and lifelong agitator of the nuclear bad guys (because, as Smitty likes to repeat “you’ve got to agitate to get the dirt out“).
Texas Vox will be on hand to videotape the town hall, and you can follow our tweets live from @publiccitizentx. Be sure to look for a follow up blog post and video in the next couple days!
Our regular readers already know how we feel about the issue at Public Citizen: San Antonio citizens can’t afford the huge 50% rate hikes that would result from involvement in the proposed nukes at South Texas Project. The billions that San Antonio would sink into the nuclear money pit should instead be spent in San Antonio, creating local jobs in energy efficiency, retrofitting homes and businesses, and developing clean renewable energy technologies including solar, wind and geothermal power.
Hope you can make it out to the event, listen in, or follow up on our post and videos tomorrow! Look for event details and panelist bios after the jump.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, american clean energy and security act, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, astroturf, Carbon Dioxide, climate change, Congress, endangerment finding, EPA, funny, Global Warming, Massachusetts v EPA, Public Citizen, public citizen texas, scopes monkey trial, SEED Coalition, SNL, unfrozen caveman lawyer, US Chamber of Commerce, video, waxman-markey on August 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
The US Chamber of Commerce wants to put the science of global warming on trial. Not only that, they themselves claim they want this trial to be similar to the Scopes Monkey Trial where a Tennessee teacher was put on trial for teaching evolution, made even more famous by the play and film “Inherit the Wind.”
Because the only way to respond to this is through mockery and derision (surely they can’t actually be serious?), we present to you:
INHERIT THE HOT AIR!!! (a comedy in 3 acts)
We apologize for the numerous Saturday Night Live circa 1989 references (especially the somewhat obscure “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer“) and the blatant callbacks to Inherit the Wind, and also ask people to please NOT place plastic bags on their heads and inhale deeply. No Andys were harmed in the filming of this video and I was able to breathe freely at all times. I promise.
On a serious note, what the Chamber is trying to do is to overturn and stall a process which is well underway. In 2007, the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v EPA stated that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is linked to climate change, and the EPA should regulate it under the Clean Air Act. In compliance with this ruling, (and only after delays by the Bush Administration which kept this action from occurring), the EPA earlier this year presented an initial endangerment finding, the first step in allowing them to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They then opened the finding for public comment, which could be sent in by writing, and also held public meetings in Arlington, VA and Seattle, WA to gather public input.
According to documents posted at the Wonk Room, the US Chamber’s main argument is that previous public comment periods have somehow “Tainted” the process and that only an elaborate show trial, orchestrated by them and by putting their junk scientists on the stand, can eliminate the “taint.” (And you know, “Tainted Endangerment Finding” was one of my favorite 80′s songs.)
So, according to the Chamber, public comment is bad, but the opinion of big business and their sham scientists can remove the stain from input by the witless masses.
All of this seems far too much like the plot of a Coen Brothers (or Marx Brothers) movie. These are serious times which require serious thought and reflection, not comical misdirection. But like the Fool in King Lear, only through comedy can we confront the tragedy that surrounds us and point out the serious misdeeds taking place. And this sham by the Chamber of Commerce is even more destructive, because as long as we keep endlessly debating “Is It Happening?” we will never get around to “How Do We Solve It?”
In the words of Stan Lee, “Nuff Said.”
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged bay area houston, bosskitty, brains and eggs, eye on williamson, frac act, mcblogger, off the kuff, pdiddie, pete olson, texas kaos, texas liberal, texas progressive alliance, the texas cloverleaf, three wise men, truthhugger, txsharon on August 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
School is starting, and the Texas Progressive Alliance is prepared as always to ace the test. Here is this week’s roundup of blog highlights.
From TXsharon: Woo Hoo! EPA testing has now confirmed wells are contaminated “with various substances connected with gas drilling”–proof that hydraulic fracturing contaminates our drinking water. Even Motley Fool supports the FRAC Act and says industry is “crying wolf.”
Should Texans care about NJ? The Texas Cloverleaf examines why the GOP thinks we should.
For a long time it has been universally agreed upon that people should engage in end-of-life planning, at least until right-wing pundits made end-of-life planning an easy but incidental target of their battle against health care reform. Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes aim at these critics, and the very real harm they do to people with their dishonest and partisan attacks.
Over at TexasKaos, jaxpagan gets us the scoop on Ted Poe’s Town Hall meeting in a funeral parlor. Snark , with a wicked point!
At McBlogger, Harry Balczak takes a few moments to tell us what he thinks about Whole Foods and it’s ‘health care for all’ hating CEO.
Neil at Texas Liberal is back from a two-week vacation that took him to Chicago, Kenosha, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. This itinerary is consistent with a post Neil made earlier this summer encouraging folks to visit the industrial midwest. With vacation over, it’s time now to think of school and swine flu. It sure would help if more working people had paid sick days to help manage getting sick themselves and having kids sick at home.
Some of the very worst of Texas was on full display last week, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documented the atrocities.
A new line of intrigue in the Energy Citizen astroturf events: turns out that, on top of being funded by the American Petroleum Institute and stocked with (at the Houston event, exclusively) energy company employees, the majority of them are also being organized by oil-industry lobbyists.
Here’s more evidence that the “Energy Citizens” rallies against climate legislation are anything but grassroots uprisings. We already knew that the American Petroleum Institute was behind the whole idea. Now it turns out that even the local organizers of individual rallies are oil-industry lobbyists.
Grist obtained a copy of API’s list of coordinators for the 21 planned rallies, and 15 of them are registered lobbyists, mostly for API or its state-level affiliates.
There have already been three “Energy Citizens” rallies—in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday; in Roswell, N.M., on Thursday; and in Lima, Ohio, on Friday. Others are planned for cities around the U.S. during the rest of the August congressional recess.
Posted in Nuclear, tagged alternative energy, atomic safety and licen, atomic safety and licensing board, bob eye, comanche peak, Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, Karen Hadden, Luminant, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, SEED Coalition, solar, Texas Representative Lon Burnam, true cost of nukes, wind on August 22, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Citizen opposition to more nuclear reactors at Comanche Peak continues. On August 6th the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) Panel found that Luminant had failed to adequately analyze issues brought by concerned citizens in their Petition to Intervene in the proposed expansion at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.
“This is a major victory for those living near Comanche Peak and throughout Texas,” says Karen Hadden, Executive Director of Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. “The ASLB Panel has recognized in their decision that Luminant has not sufficiently analyzed alternatives to nuclear power as the law requires.”
The Comanche Peak Interveners (formerly referred to as Petitioners) include SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, Ft. Worth-based True Cost of Nukes and Texas Representative Lon Burnam, District 90, Ft. Worth. On June 10th-11th, the Interveners’ attorney, Robert V. Eye, went before the designated ASLB Panel and argued the admissibility of the 19 contentions filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 6th challenging the adequacy of Luminant’s application to construct and operate Comanche Peak Units 3 and 4. Four months later, the ASLB Panel found that two of the contentions deserved further inquiry and delayed a decision on the Interveners’ contention dealing with the Luminant’s lack of plans to deal with catastrophic fires and/or explosions.
“The Environmental Report in Luminant’s application is seriously flawed,” says Mr. Eye. “The collocation of Comanche Peak Units 1 and 2 and the proposed Units 3 and 4 is never considered in light of various accident and radiological release scenarios. A radiological accident at one unit could cause collateral impacts and disruptions in operations at the other units, and Luminant should have considered this.”
The contentions admitted for further adjudication in the August 6th ASLB decision are as follows:
Contention 13. Impacts from a severe radiological accident at any one unit on operation of other units at the Comanche Peak site have not been, and should be, considered in the Environmental Report.
Contention 18. The Comanche Peak Environmental Report is inadequate because it fails to include consideration of alternatives to the proposed Comanche Peak Units 3 and 4, consisting of combinations of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, with technological advances in storage methods and supplemental use of natural gas, to create baseload power.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged astroturf, cap and trade, citizen, climate change bill, costs, Energy Citizen, energy legislation, gas prices, greensboro, jobs, Jon Cornyn, kay bailey hutchinson, labor, north carolina, north carolina conservation network, Public Citizen, Senator Cornyn, Senator Hutchinson, taxes, Texas on August 21, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Kudos to the North Carolina Conservation Network for rallying the troops for a real grassroots protest outside of today’s Energy Citizen company picnic in Greensboro. Fifty protesters turned out to show their support for clean energy and green jobs development, NCCN reports:
Local folks gathered on the sidewalks surrounding the coliseum to make sure that voices in support of federal action on energy were heard. While a drum corps provided the entertainment, the citizen-activists held signs and banners calling on Senator Kay Hagan (North Carolina) to support efforts in the US Senate to pass strong clean energy and climate legislation this year.
State Representative Pricey Harrison (from Greensboro) was there as well as representatives from clean energy businesses, labor and faith communities. State Representative Harrison along with U.S. Representative Howard Coble attempted to enter the event. While Representative Coble was allowed entry, Representative Harrison (who represents the district in which the event was held) was denied access. Also allowed into the event were activists from FreedomWorks, a right-wing group that has ties to big business and the oil industry.
Rep. Coble was invited inside because he voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act, but Rep. Harrison (who voted for it) was denied entry. How completely ridiculous. At least the “Energy Citizens” American Petroleum Institute has wised up enough to let their supporters from FreedomWorks inside — looks like they learned their lesson from the Houston rally, where anti-cap and trade activists were rudely turned from the door for trying to bring in American flags.
Posted in Campaign Finance, Energy, Global Warming, tagged astroturf, cap and trade, citizen, climate change bill, costs, Energy Citizen, energy legislation, gas prices, jobs, Jon Cornyn, kay bailey hutchinson, labor, Public Citizen, Senator Cornyn, Senator Hutchinson, taxes, Texas on August 20, 2009 | 1 Comment »
Even though we were denied access, our intrepid Citizen Sarah was able to blend in with a crowd walking in and starting talking to energy company employees about climate change legislation. You know, Energy Company Employees Can Say the Darndest Things:
- Global Warming Deniers!
- People Who Have NO IDEA What is actually in the American Clean Energy & Security Act!
- Misrepresentations about the bill–and our energy policy and energy sector– all spouted back like they got the memo of Big Oil’s talking points!
- And…. a guy from a natural gas company who really understands what made the climate bill bad: too much special interest influence and lobbying! (irony, much? But he does have a point….)