The Public Citizen Texas Week in Review (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘reenergize texas’
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Andrew Sauls, Andrews County waste dump, austin generation plan, clean energy for austin, coal plant, david power, energy advocacy, environment texas, environmental defense fund, EPA hearing, ICLEI, Melissa Sanchez, mona avalos, ozone attainment standards, P.A.C.E., PACE, patrick reck, property assessed clean energy, reenergize texas, ryan rittenhouse, sarah mcdonald, Sierra Club, smitty, Tar Sands, think green, think green fund, Tom "Smitty" Smith, trevor lovell, univision dallas, week in review on March 12, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Global Warming, tagged 2009 texas legislative session, 81st legislative session, aggies, campaigns, colleges, environmental service fees, facebook, florida, green fee, hb 3353, house bill 3353, reenergize texas, rice university, texas a&m, video, vimeo on March 1, 2010 | 1 Comment »
Posted by Trevor Lovell
Having passed House Bill 3353 (known as the “green fee bill,” it was one of the few green bills passed this session and made into law) in the 2009 Texas Legislative Session, the student leaders that comprise the ReEnergize Texas coalition knew they had much work ahead of them. The legislation gave campuses administrators legislative approval to implement “environmental service fees” of up to $5 per semester if the student body voted for such a fee on that campus. But campaigns on individual campuses still had to be waged.
And so it is that ReEnergize Texas finds itself running or assisting green fee campaigns at 7 Texas colleges. And of all the green fund campaigns we’re involved with this semester, Texas A&M’s has proven the most challenging so far. The group has amassed over 1,600 members on its Facebook group and has the blessing of administrators, but still faces a serious challenge organized by a group know as Texas Aggie Conservatives (might be more relevant to visit the Facebook page).
In response to the sometimes vitriolic and often misleading criticisms leveled at the Aggie Green Fund, pro-green-fund group members put together this video to explain why the fund is needed and how it will benefit the campus:
So make sure you visit their Facebook group and leave them a friendly comment. These students are keeping it positive and moving forward with their vision against an outspoken minority that is willfully misleading the student body about both its motives and the impacts of the green fund. They deserve a great deal of gratitude for defending sustainability on the front-lines.
In a related story, students at Rice University recently passed their own green fee of $9 per year without the help of the statewide coalition (in fact, we only heard about it a couple days before the vote). It was a huge and early victory for the green fund movement and serves as an inspiration to the 7 Texas campuses still pursuing a fee, and to the campaigns taking root in Florida this year.
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.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Clean Water Action, connor hanrahan, cooperative, CPS Energy, david foster, georgetown, georgetown city council, georgetown utility services, mayor, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, pec, pedernales electric coop, Public Citizen, reenergize texas, Renewables, san antonio city council, seak, southwestern universitys, students, students for environmental activism and knowledge, Texas on November 11, 2009 | 6 Comments »
Original post can be found at the ReEnergize Texas Blog
On Tuesday, students from Southwestern University’s Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK) had intended to speak before the Georgetown City Council regarding the 20 year energy plan for their city. They had registered an agenda item with the City Secretary’s Office, asked all the right questions about who could speak and for howlong, and everyone was in City Council chambers ahead of the meeting forms in hand and polite, thoughtful, well-reasoned remarks committed to memory.
SEAK’s charismatic President, Connor Hanrahan, went to the mic and spoke politely about hoping to form a positive “working relationship” with the city as they discussed aspects of the energy plan and in particular a provision to purchase 30% of their electricity from nuclear power plants.
“We are not here to protest nuclear,” he said, “but want to discuss new information that affects this plan.”
And then the Mayor dropped a bomb. Citing a “misunderstanding” about City Council procedures, he informed Connor and the group of students and allies he’d brought with him that they would not be allowed to speak at the meeting that evening. To his credit, Mayor Garver did make an effort at conciliation by offering Connor the opportunity to nominate 2 members of his party to speak for 3 minutes apiece, but the notion was quickly rebuked by Councilwoman Pat Berryman, a known proponent of nuclear power.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Think Pedernales Electric Coop and CPS Energy. These two major electric utilities in Texas have been recently embroiled in controversy over failure to provide information, give the public access to speak, and making bad, even corrupt decisions from positions of power. As a result, reform candidates have been elected to the PEC Board of Directors and two of its former members face multiple felony indictments. At CPS, two executives have been placed on leave while its board investigates why the utility failed to disclose new cost estimates to the public and the San Antonio City Council.
Why would Georgetown’s Mayor and City Council tell local students they had no right to speak about the energy future of their own city? Because the rules said so? Can a member of the City Council not make a motion to suspend the rules? In fact they can, but no member of the City Council had the courage or good sense to make that motion and give their constituents the opportunity to weigh in on an issue of city governance. (more…)
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Austin, austin has a dirty secret, Coal, fayette coal plant, Public Citizen, reenergize texas, sierra student coalition, student government, Texas, University of Texas on October 8, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Today students from across the city of Austin came together in support of Austin moving forward in the direction of clean, renewable energy. University Democrats from the University of Texas, Campus Democrats from St. Edward’s University, the ReEnergize Texas Coalition, the University of Texas Campus Environmental Center and student Sierra Club members, among others, held a press conference to announce their support for a clean energy future for Austin.
Students also announced an exciting new development: The Student Government of the University of Texas has officially endorsed the call by environmental groups and citizens from across the city to divest from the Fayette Coal Plant and invest more in renewable energy sources.
Students spoke to points featured in Austin Energy’s PACE proposals and proposals submitted by a coalition of partners including the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Environment Texas, and Power Smack.
Students also discuss how divesting from the Fayette Coal Plant benefits students and the community at large.
Featured speakers included Brittany Dawn McAllister, Austin Student Outreach Director for the Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter, Andy Jones, Vice-President of University Democrats and President of Texas College Democrats, and Jimmy Talarico, UT Student Government University-Wide Representative and Legislative Policy Committee Vice-Chair.
Want more? Check out this video from the press conference, and don’t forget to join the Facebook group “Austin has a dirty secret”.
And an interview from ReEnergize Texas’ own Jacob Bintliff:
Tomorrow from 8am till noon, Public Citizen and ReEnergize Texas will be at the Rosewood Zaragoza Community Center in East Austin handing out free compact fluorescent focos and registering community residents for free energy efficiency upgrades. ¡Gratis! Free low flush toilets, insulation and windows and doors to keep your hogar cool in the summer and calientito in the winter. Si habla español no se preocupe, Public Citizen estará ahí para ayudarle llenar las formas necesarias. All of these efforts will result in you owning a low flush toilet que conservara agua y su dinero. Also, a house with good insulation will save you money on your facturas de electricidad.
Public Citizen and ReEnergize Texas want y’all to know that there are programs out there right now. Que usted puede ser la diferencia in whether or not we conserve our resources and survive the current economic environment. So come on down bright and early mañana en la mañana and let us help you sign up for these amazing programs.
Hey hey, looks like ReEnergize Texas was featured in a recent article on the New York Times’ Green, Inc blog. Check it out:
By Kate Galbraith
College students often protest when administrators threaten to raise their fees.
But rising numbers of students seem willing to self-impose a “green” fee, to help the environment and purchase renewable energy. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education posts a list of universities that have such fees, which generally hover around $3 to $5 a semester but have increased to $40 a term in the case of Northland College in Wisconsin.
Portland State University is currently voting on whether to establish this kind of fee.
In some states like Florida and Texas, students at public universities have been foiled in their efforts to impose green fees. That is because any fee increase must be approved by the state legislature. The back-and-forth process can easily take four years, according to Trevor Lovell of ReEnergize Texas, a youth coalition pushing for measures to address climate change — by which time the student body will have (hopefully) turned over.
A bill backed by ReEnergize Texas is working its way through the Texas state legislature that would allow university students to impose green fees more easily.
A similar bill in Florida just failed.
“The economic woes of our country coupled with an increase to tuition for state universities, made the members hesitant to enact any more new fees this session,” said Zachary Keith, who coordinated the green-fee effort in Florida, in an e-mail message.
He vowed to try again in the next legislative session, and noted that referendums at big Florida universities have shown solid support.
Texas is trying to avoid Florida’s legislative fate. Amanda Grosgebauer, who has chaired the environmental issues committee at Texas A&M, wrote a letter to the legislature stating that in March, 76 percent of students at her university had favored increased environmental services. “That is more student support for one issue than in the history of the University,” Ms. Grosgebauer wrote, in a letter provided by ReEnergize Texas.
“In the past our efforts have hit against a wall of political preferences — environmental issues are seen as a leftist, radical or an unreasonable luxury,” Ms. Grosgebauer continued. “We are tired of hearing that excuse.”
Posted in Global Warming, Nuclear, Renewables, tagged 2010 senate race, bill white, carbon policy, clean coal, climate change, democrat, energy storage, florence shapiro, houston mayor, interview, john sharp, kay bailey hutchinson, michael williams, nuclear energy, reenergize texas, renewable energy, republican, texas governor, texas railroad commissioner, trevor lovell on May 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Looks like our friends over at ReEnergize Texas have scored a couple interviews with two 2010 Senate race hopefuls, Democratic Mayor of Houston Bill White and Republican Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams.
Trevor Lovell, Statewide Director for ReEnergize Texas, reports:
We are not joining the throng of cable news reporters more concerned with the 2010 election than with fixing the country in the meantime. But we did score big with two interviews that could help shape the midterm US Senate race here in Texas.
The US Senate race in Texas has a slightly funny story. Longtime US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is expected to step down and throw her hat in the ring to become the next Texas Governor. The spot she may vacate (but has not yet vacated) is already being contested by a number of potential candidates, the most notable being John Sharp and Bill White on the Democratic side, and Michael Williams and Florence Shapiro on the Republican side.
Check ‘em out:
Read on for Lovell’s analysis of the interviews! (more…)
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Austin, college station, committee on higher education, earth day, el paso, green fee bill, reenergize texas, San Antonio, shapleigh, texas a&m, texas tech university, trevor lovell, university of texas el paso, zaffirini on April 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Original post found at the ReEnergize Texas blog, courtesy of Trevor Lovell:
At a hearing of the Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education today SB 2182, known as the green fee bill, “was reported favorably to the Calendars Committee by unanimous vote, clearing another hurdle on its way to becoming law.
Only two weeks ago the bill was looking badly wounded after staff working for Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Zaffirini (D-Laredo) noted “philosphical concerns” with the bill’s statewide approach to approving environmental service fees, prompting bill author Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) to pull the bill from a scheduled hearing. In response and virtually overnight, ReEnergize Texas mobilized an Earth Week campaign, generating constituent phone calls from El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, and elsewhere throughout the state.
Walking into the Senate Higher Education Committee office on Earth Day, ReEnergize Texas Director Trevor Lovell was greeted by staff holding ironic smiles and saying “Our phones have been ringing off the hook… you wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would you?”
Adrienne Jones, seen here talking to US Congressman Lloyd Doggett, sent a letter supportin SB 2182
Aggie Adrienne Jones (seen here talking to US Rep. Lloyd Doggett) sent a letter supporting SB 2182.
By the following Monday SB 2182 had been set for a Wednesday hearing. Students from UT Pan America, South Texas College, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and UT Austin wrote letters to the members of the committee, asking them to support the bill. (more…)
Posted in Global Warming, tagged charlie gonzalez, Curblog, Greg Harman, king william's fair, Public Citizen, reenergize texas, San Antonio, san antonio current, SEED Coalition on April 27, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Our ambush of U.S. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez at the King William’s Fair in San Antonio this weekend was both a blast and a great success.
If you couldn’t make it out, never fear — Greg Harman at the San Antonio Current did, and just posted a great blog post with full coverage from the parade. Be sure to check out the video, featuring our very own Sarah McDonald, ReEnergize Texas’ Patrick Meaney, and cameos from a whole host of Public Citizen, ReEnergize Texas, and SEED Coalition staff and volunteers.
More good news from the Curblog is that Charlie Gonzalez is still listening to both sides of the auction-or-free-allowances debate, Bloomberg article to the contrary.
Ginette Magaña, a spokesperson for Rep. Gonzalez, said her boss had not committed to either side on the matter of carbon credits.
Not only that, but no letter exists as reported in the Bloomberg article, she insisted.
“There is no letter,” Magaña said. “He’s still looking at the bill and trying to find the best decision. I don’t have anything other than that right now … Charlie had never signed on to that letter … There is no letter.”
Things are certainly looking up. Check out this diary from Trevor Lovell of ReEnergize Texas fame for another perspective on the parade:
Sorry Charlie, Giveaways Aren’t Green
“This feels like one of the good old campaigns,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, Executive Director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, Saturday afternoon in reference to activists swarming Congressman Charlie Gonzalez’s carriage in the King William Parade that morning in San Antonio.
Smitty may have been showing his age a bit (he’s directed Public Citizen’s Texas office for the last 25 years, and become a local legend and then some in the process), but the sentiments were positive among organizers young and old alike.
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez is the key swing vote on a subcommittee considering the Waxman-Markey bill. A conservative Democrat, Gonzalez has joined a misguided throng calling for CO2 credits to be given away, a solution deemed unacceptable by environmentalists and economists who point out that such a system would create unfair profits for polluters and cripple any attempt at CO2 real reductions.
Learning late Thursday that Congressman Gonzalez would be in the King William Parade, a Fiesta celebration for the well-to-do and well-connected King William neighborhood of San Antonio, activists at Public Citizen, SEED Coalition, and my group, the ReEnergize Texas student coalition, got together and planned a full scale outreach and publicity action to let the Congressman know that giveaways are unacceptable. (more…)
Posted in Coal, Global Warming, tagged american coalition for clean coal electricity, Austin, burnt orange report, coal power, doug lewin, leticia van de putte, Nuclear Power, reenergize texas, senator ellis, tara rios ybarra, texas state capitol, Tom "Smitty" Smith on March 30, 2009 | 1 Comment »
We’re already getting push-back from coal industry on account of the ReEnergize Texas Rally at the capitol Monday morning. When the coal industry’s “clean coal” PR machine is running scared and feels the need to release official press releases… you’re doin’ it right.
Original post found at Burnt Orange Report:
This weekend 170+ students from more than 25 colleges and five high schools descended on Austin for the ReEnergize Texas Summit to demand bold clean energy solutions.
The students held a rally at the Texas Capitol Monday morning and followed up with more than 50 visits to their legislators. Students rallied behind calls to end dependence on coal and nuclear power and to create new green jobs with investments in wind, solar and energy efficiency.
While the event went largely unnoticed by the media, the coal industry was apparently watching. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity issued a statement following the event:
“The Re-energize Texas Summit rallies behind laudable goals including the continued development of renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency measures; however the group’s support of legislation to place a moratorium on new coal plants in Texas is misguided, economically unfeasible and environmentally unnecessary,” said Joe Lucas, Senior Vice President of Communications at ACCCE.
The ACCCE statement appears to come in response to the students’ support of legislation placing a temporary moratorium on coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and sequestration (SB 126, sponsored by state Sen. Rodney Ellis and its companion bill HB 4384, sponsored by Rep. Allen Vaught).
According to the National Wildlife Federation’s Praween Dayananda:
“Halting the construction of proposed coal plants will help curb climate change and protect local communities from dangerous health impacts. Texas has incredible potential to produce renewable energy, clean up its skies, and become a leader in the new energy economy.”
Speakers at the rally that scared the coal industry were Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Representative Tara Rios Ybarra, Doug Lewin from Senator Ellis’ office and Public Citizen’s own Director Tom “Smitty” Smith.
For more information about the summit, visit www.reenergizetexas.org.
Check out more photos from the rally and more from the ReEnergize Texas Flickr photo pool.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Clean Energy, climate change, climate justice, coal moratorium, Coal Plants, distributed solar, Energy Efficiency, grassroots politics, rally and lobby day, reenergize texas, student climate change movement, texas capitol, Texas Legislature on March 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Sponsored by ReEnergize Texas, the event will feature speeches by leaders in the student climate change movement, as well as a diverse group of Texas Representatives and Senators.
When: Monday, March 30th
Lobby Appointments: 10:30am-2:30pm
Where: Texas Capitol (north of 11th and Congress)
Register at ReEnergizeTexas.org
Hundreds of youth from all over Texas will converge at a rally and a lobby day at the State Capitol for clean energy and climate justice! We will lobby for:
* Increasing distributed solar to 2,000MW of generation
* Stopping all new coal-fired power plants
* Creating programs that help disadvantaged youth stay on track to complete high school while improving energy efficiency in low-income homes
This promises to be a powerful moment in Texas grassroots politics. Join us 9:30am-10:30am for great speakers from the movement and the State Legislature including Senator Rodney Ellis, Representative Tara Rios Ybarra, and Public Citizen Director Tom “Smitty” Smith.
Lobby Day training will happen on Sunday, March 29th, 3:45pm-6:00pm. This training is crucial for those who want to play speaking roles during lobby visits. We will have materials, Q&A, and role play exercises.
The Texas Legislature only meets every 2 years. If we want a clean and just energy future for Texas, we have to go to the Capitol and make our voices heard. Join us!
Posted in Global Warming, tagged Austin, Austin Energy, climate change, congressman lloyd doggett, dr. robert bullard, dumping in dixie, environmental justice, Huston-Tillotson University, mark kapner, pam ragon, reenergize texas, ReEnergize Texas Summit, renewable energy, state legislature, texas republicans for environmental protection on March 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Over the past three years, our country has experienced a paradigm shift. All across the nation, diverse voices are beginning to rise to the climate challenge, and they are all calling for action. At this moment our generation has the opportunity to offer a bold new vision of our energy future.
On March 28-30 2009, at Huston-Tillotson University, one of the oldest Historically Black Universities in the state, will host the second-ever ReEnergize Texas Summit. Young people from across the state of Texas will converge in Austin for the largest youth climate conference ever held in Texas.
In the first two days of the summit hundreds of young people will be engaged by speakers, workshops, and panels addressing the many aspects of climate change. They will meet in regional groups to network for future actions, and they will hear political leaders discuss their positions on climate change. On Monday, March 30th, these young people will march from Huston-Tillotson in East Austin across Interstate 35, a long-recognized racial barrier in the city of Austin, and will walk to the Capitol Building where they will lobby the State Legislature for climate change legislation.
Keynote speakers include:
The summit is a primarily youth-focused event, but people from all walks of life are welcome — especially to the Lobby Day Monday! For more information on ReEnergize Texas, the conference agenda, and to register, visit http://www.reenergizetexas.org/
Posted in Coal, Global Warming, tagged Bonanza, Carbon Dioxide, clean air act, Clean Water Action, co2, coal plant, environment texas, EPA, epa vs mass, Global Warming, greenhouse gasses, Karen Hadden, luke metzger, nrg limestone, permit application, Public Citizen, reenergize texas, SEED Coalition, soah, state office of administrative hearings, TCEQ, texas climate emergency campaign, Tom "Smitty" Smith on February 24, 2009 | 1 Comment »
Last Friday two administrative law judges refused to hear testimony on the impact of carbon dioxide emissions during the permitting process for the NRG Limestone coal-fired power plant. The contested case hearing for NRG’s air quality permit application will be going on all week long, but testimony on the proposed plant’s contribution to global warming will not be allowed. The judges decided that the TCEQ has adopted clear policies that they would not consider testimony on the issue, even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 (EPA vs Massachusetts) that the EPA had the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. If built, the plant will emit 7.4 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
NRG has acknowledged that climate change is a serious environmental issue, and has agreed to offset a portion of its greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed new plant. Yet, lawyers for the company maneuvered to strike all references to CO2 or climate change from the week-long hearing.
In protest, local environmentalists gathered for an 8:30 a.m. protest Monday Feb 22 outside the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Groups supporting the protest included: Public Citizen, SEED Coalition, Environment Texas, Clean Water Action, Re- Energize Texas, and the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign.
Some of the protest’s participants made the following comments in a press release: (more…)