Energy companies are increasingly suing South Texas landowners as they work to build pipelines to accommodate surging oil and gas production.
The question isn’t whether a company can route a pipeline across a property owner’s land. Pipeline companies, under Texas law, wield the power of eminent domain and can use it to acquire an easement even if the property owner opposes it. But landowners can negotiate for compensation and when those talks break down, companies can file suit. Actually, all the companies have to do is make and offer and if the landowner doesn’t accept, then they can file suit (really hardly a negotiation, more like a shakedown).
In 2011, pipeline companies have filed at least 184 lawsuits against landowners in four South Texas counties, but concerns about pipelines snaking across your property whether you want them to or not should be of concern to more than South Texans. Folks in the DFW area have already expressed concern over the probability of increase pipelines in their region with the every expanding fracking industry. And many property owners along a proposed tar sands pipeline from Canada to Houston have already experienced heavy-handed treatment from the pipeline company, even though many of the needed permits are not yet in place.
So while fracking or tar sands mining may not be happening in your backyard, it doesn’t mean that these activities won’t affect you directly.
If you want to read more about the proposed tar sands pipeline and the proposed pipeline routes, click here.
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Global Support for Nuclear Power Drops
A new Ipsos/Reuters poll released on June 22nd reveal that global support for nuclear power has plummetted in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. A survey of over 19,000 people in 24 countries showed that three quarters of people now think nuclear power will soon be obsolete. Only three countries still show support for nuclear power: the U.S., India and Poland.
Recent investigative reporting shows that the relative safety of nuclear power in the U.S. is tenuous, despite what some politicians have claimed. A big problem is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been working with the nuclear power industry to keep our country’s reactors operating within safety standards, but they’ve been doing it by either weakening those standards, or not enforcing them at all. A year-long investigation by the Associated Press (AP) revealed that the NRC has extended licenses for dozens of aging U.S. nuclear plants despite their having multiple problems, like rusted pipes, broken seals, failed cables and leaking valves. When such problems are found, the NRC will weaken the standards to help the plants meet them instead of ordering them to be repaired to meet current standards. The nuclear industry argues that the standards they are violating are “unnecessarily conservative,” so the NRC simply loosens the standards.
Just last year, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to nuclear reactor vessels — for the second time. Through public record requests to the NRC, the AP obtained photographs of badly rusted valves, holes eaten into the tops of reactor vessels, severe rust in pipes carrying essential water supplies, peeling walls, actively leaking water pipes and other problems found among the nation’s fleet of aging nuclear reactors.
Fukushima has been a wake up call about the dangers of nuclear power, and some countries are heeding the information. But it seems the U.S. is lagging behind when it comes to this issue. Light-to-absent coverage of TEPCO’s struggles to bring Fukushima under control, legislators who insist on acting favorably towards the nuclear power industry despite the deteriorated state of our current reactor fleet and an ineffective Nuclear Regulatory Commission have all contributed to a bad combination of a dangerous situation and a complacent American public on this issue.
This combination of lax regulations and questionable maintenance at US nuclear facilities is especially concerning with the flooding that two Nebraska nuclear plants are now facing from the swollen Missiouri River.
Here in Texas, the first hearing to determine what issues would be addressed in the Sustaninable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition’s intervention in the re-licensing application of the South Texas Nuclear plant in Matagorda County happened Monday. There are indications that the NRC is being more mindful that they appear more concerned with safety issues in the relicensing process, but we will see whether this is window dressing or if the agency is going to apply some lessons learned from Fukushima to our country’s relicensing process as this application moves forward.
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Posted in Global Warming, tagged Air permit, air pollution, ana hernandez, asthma, bay city, Coal, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, harris county, houston, houston chronicle, jessica farrar, kristi thibaut, matagorda county, ozone, Public Citizen, ryan rittenhouse, smog, south texas, state office of administrative hearings, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, white stallion on February 22, 2010 |
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Anybody catch this article last week in the Houston Chronicle? An important issue to think about: how coal plants will not only affect the surrounding air quality, but that of communities down wind. If the White Stallion coal plant is allowed to be built: Houston, we will have an even worse smog problem. Look for Ryan’s quote to close it out!
City’s smog concerns may choke power plant
Pollution near Matagorda could drift to Houston
By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE
A proposed coal-fired power plant in mostly rural Matagorda County, 90 miles from the traffic-choked freeways and smokestacks of Houston, has moved to the center of the debate over the big city’s air.
Some federal regulators, Houston lawmakers, and environmentalists say the proposed White Stallion Energy Center would only exacerbate the city’s stubborn smog problem as tougher nationwide limits for the widespread pollutant come into play.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for one, wants Texas regulators to prove that pollution from the coal plant would not make Houston’s smog worse before issuing permits. Critics also want the state to require the power company to consider new technology that might slash emissions of smog-forming pollution.
The push comes amid a review of the proposal by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which will soon recommend whether the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should grant the plant’s air permit.
The plant would be built less than 20 miles from the boundary of the eight-county Houston region that was long in violation of federal limits for smog or ozone. Rules on industrial pollution — in particular, new sources — are tighter inside such areas than outside, even though smog ignores county lines. (more…)
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Barnett shale, bay area houston, buffalo bayou, cameron todd willingham, college station, couldbetrue, drilling reform, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, eye on williamson, governor perry, homelessness, houston, human rights, kay bailey hutchison, kbh, libby shaw, mean rachel, off the kuff, Public Citizen, refinish69, south texas, south texas chisme, texas cloverleaf, texas liberal, texas progressive alliance, texas vox, tort reform, trans-texas corridor, transportation, ttc, white oak bayou on October 19, 2009 |
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The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the start of early voting for the 2009 elections with its always on time weekly blog roundup.
Human tragedies are mounting in the Barnett Shale as study after study shows high levels of toxins in the air. The only ones who can’t seem to find anything wrong are the regulators. TXsharon asks, “Will the EPA intervene in Texas?” at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.
Why did the US forcibly detain a Mexican human rights advocate? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know.
Bay Area Houston says Tort Reformers in Texas suck.
The Texas Cloverleaf presents the Kay Coward Bailey Hutchison plan for health care mediocrity.
Off the Kuff takes a look at Cameron Todd Willingham’s supposed confession, and finds the evidence for it lacking.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson states that no matter what you hear Transportation schemes are continuing, despite “death” of the TTC. EOW also had a guest post this week on the PEC, Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC): Who’s Electing Your Board Representative?.
“Other big names” may enter the Republican primary for governor if Perry and Hutchison can’t get their acts together, according to a right-wing talker in D-FW and passed along by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.
WhosPlayin posted an update on gas drilling in Lewisville, and also breaks the story that a local group is looking to ban smoking in public places in Lewisville.
refinish69 reopens Doing My Part For The Left with the latest installment of his series Homesless in Austin-An Insider’s View Part 7.
Mean Rachel got to see President Obama speak in College Station on Friday.
We have known for a long time that Governor Perry is a bottom feeder, but letting an innocent man die and then refusing to get at the truth about his execution? Well, I would not want that on my conscience. Let Libby Shaw bring you up to speed in his posting, All the Good Hair on the Planet Won’t Make the Cover Up Go Away.
Neil at Texas Liberal ran a picture he took this week of the confluence on White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston. This spot, important in the founding of Houston, is still a place of connection. If connection could be found in the hot and Hell-like Houston of 175 years ago, we can find connection even in tough circumstances.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged bryan, ciro rodriguez, climate bill, climate change, college station, david dewhurst, debra medina, democrats, fire, gas drilling, gop, governor perry, john carter, kay bailey hutchison, kbh, lewisville, michael vick, nra, racism, republicans, sarah palin, south texas, Texas, texas progressive alliance, toxic materials, unemployment insurance, waxman-markey on August 6, 2009 |
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Here we are in August, and like every other week it’s time for another Texas Progressive Alliance blog roundup.
TXsharon needs your help to Expose This Dirty Video.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme calls out KBH and the GOP for using racism and the NRA to get out the vote in 2010. Having a competent, experienced Latina judge? Not important.
Off the Kuff reminds us that Governor Perry’s consistently wrong decisions regarding unemployment insurance will cost the state two billion dollars, maybe more.
McBlogger takes a look at a lawsuit against TRS and discovers losses, possible corruption and a nightmarish problem for the Republicans in 2010.
John Coby says you better think before you trust a republican with your family’s health care.
Mean Rachel decides that Democratic gubernatorial candidate is still too Bush League for her tastes.
Our governor is living the life of the rich and famous. It does so on our dime and on the “dimes” of his fat cat contributors. Libby Shaw gives us the ulgy details over at TexasKaos, Our Kept Governor to the Unemployed: Eat Cake.
Why did Ciro Rodriguez vote against the Waxman-Markey climate change bill and then suddenly flee the House? And why is he taking grip-and-grin meetings with David Dewhurst? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would really like to know.
Vince at Capitol Annex tells why he believes that the smart money is on Texas Governor Rick Perry picking Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to replace U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if she resigns before the end of the year.
Neil at Texas Liberal posted a video he made that will take only 39 seconds your life to watch. Also, Neil made a post marking the third anniversary of Texas Liberal. Texas Liberal has run 1500 page views a day so far this year and had racked-up over 725,000 views since it began. Thank you blog reading public!!
WhosPlayin notes that the City of Lewisville is cancelling its Cinco de Mayo celebration for 2010 due to budgetary concerns.
Dembones at Eye On Williamson points out Rep. John Carter’s latest nuttiness, Franking Commission draws the line on Rep. Carter.
Mike Thomas at Rhetoric & Rhythm reviews Debra Medina’s campaign video and deems her the Sarah Palin of South Texas.
Teddy of Left of College Station was forced to evacuate his home in Bryan due to a warehouse fire that was burning toxic materials, but was able to return to his home the next day. Before the evacuation Teddy was able to write about Michael Vick’s return to the NFL, and whether or not he deserves a second chance. Left of College Station also covers the local and progressive events in the Bryan-College Station this month.
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