Texas Clean Air Matters

Military Experts in Texas Call for Plan of Action on Climate Change

By: Marita Mirzatuny and Kate Zerrenner

National Guard responding to flood emergencies.  Source:  flickr/DVIDSHUB

National Guard responding to flood emergencies.
Source: flickr/DVIDSHUB

When the U.S. military calls climate change a “threat multiplier” and “a serious threat to national security,” it makes anyone stand up and pay attention. From direct land impacts and food and water shortages, to the displacement of millions of people, climate change is not taken lightly by our armed forces.

Earlier this week, two military experts, Lt. Gen. Ken Eickmann (USAF, Ret.) and British Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti (Royal Navy, Ret.), testified at a Texas House International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Hearing and later at an event hosted by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the British Consulate-General University at University of Texas' LBJ School. As a senior research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute and Former UK Foreign Secretary Special Representative for Climate Change, Eickmann and Morisetti, respectively, bring a level of trust and confidence to this issue, disarming the politics, if just for a moment, and replacing it with pragmatic duty.

Eickmann and Morisetti’s message was loud and clear: We need to diversify our energy options and shift more toward a clean energy economy. The potential for Texas is boundless. Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan, Climate Change, Legislation, Smart Grid| Tagged | Leave a comment

What the Water Sector Could Learn from the Electric Side

Source: Flickr/Hammer365

Source: Flickr/Hammer365

Each year, the nation wastes an estimated two trillion gallons, or about 14 to 18 percent, of its treated water through leaks alone. That’s a lot of water – enough to fill over three million Olympic-size swimming pools.

We know smart water meters are a critical component to better understanding our water use, but smart meters are only one part of the equation. What we really need is a smart water system.

A more intelligent system could not only help water providers and people better understand their use and how to adjust their behavior accordingly, but it could make the entire treatment and delivery of water more efficient. Plus, system-wide data could make daily water use and associated cost accessible – not an end-of-the-month billing surprise – enabling residents to make more informed decisions and utilities to waste less water.

Energy and water are connected, but they may need different solutions

The energy sector has learned a lot about the smart grid, and put a great deal of its research into practice. And, compared to the water sector, the electricity sector is pretty far along with its smart meter roll-out and understanding of all the information points across the system. For instance, in Texas, more than 3.5 million smart water meters have been installed, compared with approximately 17 million electric smart meters. But, while much of the smart electric grid findings are valuable in relation to the water sector, there are clear differences.  Read More »

Posted in Energy-Water Nexus, Pecan Street, Smart Grid, Utilities| Tagged | Leave a comment

Efficiency is what Texas Can (and Should) Do Best

SPEERI have been involved in Texas’ energy sector for a long time, particularly from an environmental perspective.

I was there when the state’s metropolitan centers and their robust industrial sectors were challenged to reduce ozone-forming pollution. I was there when Texas deregulated its energy market to increase competition, improve choices for residents and businesses, and lower electricity prices. And now, I’m here to witness the state’s transition to a clean energy economy – one that harnesses more West Texas wind energy, rooftop solar, and natural gas (with the right controls in place) than any other time in history.

The one thing that ties all of these events together is efficiency – something Texas has led in the past.

Energy efficiency is Texas’ most cost-effective way to reduce energy use and carbon pollution from power plants. It also creates other benefits to the power grid, like improving reliability and lowering costs for infrastructure maintenance. Plus, saving energy saves water, which is critical in a state like Texas under the pressure of a multi-year drought. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency| Tagged , | Leave a comment

Think Texas Energy Is all about Oil? Think Again.

Source: Flickr/David Ingram

Source: Flickr/David Ingram

Technology is making clean energy competitive with coal for the first time in history, and that’s a game changer.

In 1999, we pushed to get the first renewable energy mandate passed in the country – in Texas of all places. There were all sorts of concerns at the time that wind could not be integrated into the system, or that it would be too expensive. Time has proven otherwise.

Yes, Texas has plenty of oil and gas, but we also have a lot of sun and wind. Those early investments in renewables paid off and today, the Lone Star State is the top wind energy-producing state in the nation.

As such, I believe we're helping to drive investments in wind across the United States.

Texas is on the cutting edge of technology – and proud of it… Read More »

Posted in Natural gas, Oil, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind| Comments closed

Air Alliance Houston Delivers 2014 “State of the Air”

This post was written by Adrian Shelley, Air Alliance Houston Executive Director.

State of the Air keynote speaker Dr. Bob Bullard on environmental justice and air pollution.

State of the Air keynote speaker Dr. Bob Bullard on environmental justice and air pollution.

Earlier this month, Air Alliance Houston held its annual “State of the Air” luncheon. This event is an opportunity for our friends, allies, and supporters—including EDF—to learn about our work and for other groups to highlight how they are also working to improve Houston air quality.

The first guest speaker at this year’s State of the Air was Better Houston’s Peter Brown, known in some circles as Pedestrian Pete. Mr. Brown serves on a committee developing Houston’s first ever General Plan. Although to many “Houston planning” is  an oxymoron, the General Plan provides an opportunity for Houston to intelligently manage the City’s explosive growth, which will see an additional one million people move to Houston in the next twenty years. Air Alliance Houston is participating in the planning process, encouraging the city to adopt strategies that promote increased use of mass transit, walkability, and a reduction in the impact of diesel trucks on residential areas. (If you live in Houston, you too can provide input by clicking here.)

The real highlight of the event came with a presentation by our keynote speaker Dr. Robert Bullard, the Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard—also the newest board member of Air Alliance Houston—delivered a powerful presentation titled “Environmental Justice Challenges in the 21st Century: The Right to Breathe vs the Right to Pollute.” Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Environmental Justice, Houston| Tagged | Comments closed

In Memory of Hillary Corgey

By: Marcelo Norsworthy and the EDF Family

Kaiba White of Public Citizen contributed to this post.

HillaryHillary Corgey, a strong clean air advocate with our friends at Public Citizen, worked hard to become the person she wanted to be. She was smart, wanted to make a difference, and set out to make herself a policy expert. Hillary passed away earlier this month at the tender age of 27. She will be sorely missed by her friends, family, and colleagues.

Hillary earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from the University of Houston in 2010. During college, she worked at the Houston SPCA, volunteered for Armando Walle’s campaign, and then served as an intern in his Houston office. She then went on to earn a Master of Arts degree, also in Political Science and Government, from Texas State University in San Marcos in 2012.

Hillary started as an intern in Public Citizen’s Texas office in the summer of 2012 and quickly proved to be an asset to the team. Her personal experience growing up with asthma and struggling to breathe the polluted Houston air made the work personal to her. She gradually became more confident in her work, speaking publicly and working with coalition partners, in addition to doing research. Research was where she excelled most -she was able to dig up more interesting and useful facts in a shorter time than anyone else in the office. Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized| Comments closed
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