Author Archives: EDF Staff

Why the Surprise Supreme Court Decision won't Thwart the Clean Power Plan

Coal power plant fumesSince regular readers of this blog are familiar with the Clean Power Plan – America's first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants – we wanted to let you know of a legal setback. It's very important the plan moves forward, but fortunately Texas is moving toward a clean energy economy either way.

-The EDF Texas Clean Air Matters team 

 

By: Keith Gaby, Communications Director, Climate & Air Program

In a surprise procedural decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court put the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan on pause while a lower court reviews it.

The Court did not weigh in on the merits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan, and didn’t explain its reasoning, so we don’t know the legal basis for this unusual decision.

But we do know that the court has repeatedly upheld the EPA’s authority – in fact, its responsibility – to limit climate pollution under the Clean Air Act.

So we remain confident that the Clean Power Plan rests on a solid legal foundation, as states, power companies, legal experts and air pollution control officials nationwide have already recognized.

This is why states should stay on course and continue to invest in cleaner energy sources. The bigger trend toward clean energy is clear.

Clinging to the past is bad policy

A lower court, the D.C. Court of Appeals, will continue its review of the Clean Power Plan, with a hearing scheduled for June 2.

Because of the Supreme Court’s action yesterday, the EPA can’t require states to move forward with their planning until the issue is settled. But the reality is that many states and power companies will continue to plan for the clean energy future they all know is coming.

In fact, it would be irresponsible to delay the transition away from dirty fossil fuels with the expectation that the Supreme Court will reverse its consistent endorsement of the EPA’s duty to limit emissions. Meanwhile, the need for the EPA to exercise its recognized authority to protect our nation from dangerous climate change becomes ever more clear.

Delay is not what citizens expect from their leaders. And companies that cling to 19th-century fuels and 20th-century business plans aren’t doing their stockholders any good.

Yesterday’s ruling was a setback because this is the time we need to accelerate the transformation to clean energy, rather than create uncertainty.

It’s telling, therefore, that several states – including Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota and California – have already said they will stay the course.

The Clean Power Plan, which helped inspire China’s recent actions on climate change and the 190-nation climate agreement in Paris, should move forward because it has the facts, law and science on its side.

This post originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.

Posted in Clean Power Plan, Renewable Energy| Leave a comment

2015: A Landmark Year for Texas Clean Energy Momentum

From energy efficiency progress to cities embracing renewables, we've already noted how Texas had a big year when it comes to clean energy. And regular readers of this blog will know how excited we are about the potential of the Clean Power Plan – America's first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants – to propel the Lone Star State to the forefront of the clean energy economy. But the progress we saw in 2015 didn't happen overnight, so we've created the below infographic to help explain Texas' momentum over the years.

Happy New Year!

-The EDF Texas Clean Air Matters team 

Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan| Comments are closed

TSU Mickey Leland Scholars Join HBCU Student Delegation Attending UN Climate Summit in Paris

drrobertbullard

Texas Southern University Students Jenice Young, Joy Semien and Steven Washington Attended COP21 in Paris

The Texas Clean Air Matters team is thrilled to share that the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Climate Change Consortium sent 50 student leaders from around the United States to the U.N. COP21 climate summit in Paris, three of whom are Texas Southern University students awarded with the Mickey Leland Scholarship. These students represent future environmentalists, who could have a large impact on the future of Texas in terms of solving the climate crisis. This delegation of students was able to witness the construction of the agreement and had a chance to see countries reach a historic agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing global temperatures. You can read more about them in this guest post by Dr. Robert Bullard, one of the foremost experts on environmental justice in the world.

EDF is excited these students had such an amazing opportunity and to witness first hand climate diplomacy in action. Read More »

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Justice| Read 1 Response

“Sustainable Ports” in Texas – an Oxymoron?

By: Christina Wolfe, manager, air quality, port and freight facilities, and Kate Zerrenner, manager, energy-water initiatives

800px-Houston_Ship_Channel_Barbours_Cut wikipedia

An oxymoron is “a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings,” according to Merriam-Webster (a commonly given example is “jumbo shrimp”). Ports – with an immense amount of traffic and heavy cargo coming and going – have recently been equated with power plants in terms of air pollution. Some might suggest that the concept of a ‘sustainable port’ is impossible.

It’s not, actually.

Earlier this year, the first “zero-emissions terminal in the world” opened at a port in the Netherlands using equipment that releases no pollutants from a tailpipe and on-site wind energy for power demands. And closer to home, large ports in the U.S. have taken promising steps, like the Port of Seattle’s aggressive energy efficiency initiatives.

Texas ports have some work to do, both to keep up with strong economic growth (like the record year the Port of Houston is projecting) and because Texas already leads the country in climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. But the good news is there is a way they could very quickly up their game: the use of renewable energy. And in the midst of historic climate talks in Paris, there is no better time for Texas ports to consider commonsense investments that safeguard both public health and the global climate.

Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Energy-Water Nexus, Ports, Renewable Energy, Transportation| Comments are closed

The Greener Side of Freight Transportation

Port Freeport Operations Manager, Jesse Hibbetts, provides a tour of Berth 7 at the Velasco Terminal.

Port Freeport Operations Manager, Jesse Hibbetts, provides a tour of Berth 7 at the Velasco Terminal.

This post first appeared on the EDF Climate Corps Blog.

This summer I had the opportunity to work with Port Freeport, a deep-water seaport in Freeport, Texas, on developing a new supply chain strategy from scratch. Currently, empty containers are trucked from Houston to Freeport for loading. Then, the filled containers are driven back to Houston completing the round-trip cycle. This long-haul covers 162.2 miles. Port Freeport’s new approach, which would reduce truck trips, emissions and costs, would issue a permit for overweight vehicles to move goods from industry to Port property. Once on site, these containers would be loaded onto a barge and shuttled to Houston. This process is more commonly referred to as short sea shipping or container-on-barge. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Ports, Uncategorized| Tagged , | Comments are closed

These 3 States Have a Head Start on the Clean Power Plan. You'd Never Guess Who They Are.

tonapahsolar_287x235 solar reserveAs readers of this blog will know, Texas is well-positioned to meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan.

This post from our colleague Keith Gaby, one of our experts in politics and climate, provides some national perspective on the clean air standards. We wanted to share it with Texas Clean Air Matters because it shines light on how our state is defying expectations, as well how we stack up to other states.

— The EDF Texas Clean Air Matters Team

By: Keith Gaby, Communications Director, Climate & Air Program

Everyone in Colorado skis, all Oklahomans can rope a calf, and native New Jerseyans like me all talk like Pauly D did on Jersey Shore. Right?

You may also stereotype when it comes to clean energy: Progressive states such as California are pumping out clean, renewable energy while others insist on clinging to old, dirty power plants. Well, it’s more complicated than that.

California, which has a market-based system for cutting carbon pollution, does lead the country. But a number of states nationwide, including notably Nevada, Texas and North Carolina, are also making great progress on clean energy – which may surprise some.

Their success is evidence that the supposed divide on clean power may be more about politics than economics and opportunities on the ground.

And that bodes well for the federal Clean Power Plan’s goal of reducing emissions from America’s power plants. Because if Texas is well-positioned to comply, why couldn’t other states do the same? Read More »

Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan| Comments are closed
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    Confluence of SJR, Old, and Middle rivers

    Advocating for healthier air and cleaner energy in Texas through public education and policy influence.

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