Author Archives: Jim Marston

What the Texas Public Policy Foundation Doesn’t Want You to Know about the Clean Power Plan

monkey-557586_640 pixabayEvery time I open the Austin American-Statesman and see a negative op-ed on America’s first nationwide limits on power plant carbon pollution – the Clean Power Plan – I think, “Oh boy. Some new industry water-carrier opposing commonsense efforts to improve public health.”

Then I get to the end of the babble and surprise! It’s not anyone new. It’s our old pals at Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) regurgitating the same tired nonsense.

TPPF claims it is trying to protect people’s wallets – which is true if by ‘people,’ you mean its members. Just take a look at its donor list, which includes out-of-state interests like the Koch Brothers and Big Tobacco, as well as major coal players like The American Coalition for Clean Coal and Texas coal-burning electric generators.

Now, to be sure, TPPF is not the only group telling lies and fearmongering about the clean air standards. But at least here in Texas, it seems to be leading the pack of spreading misinformation. They don’t want Texans to realize the pollution standards are good for our health, water supply, and economy. Here are a few other things they’d prefer you didn’t know about the Clean Power Plan: Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Clean Power Plan, TPPF| Comments are closed

Texas’ Attorney General, Governor Could Learn from Fellow Republicans on Clean Power Plan

texas capitol with flagsIf you are a regular reader of our blog, you already know that the Clean Power Plan – the first-ever nationwide limits on carbon pollution from power plants – represents a giant victory for Texans’ air and health. Even better, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan holds the promise of creating clean energy jobs while saving water. This should be music to Texas’ ears since we are rich with clean energy potential and have long suffered from drought.

Yet, recently our Attorney General, Ken Paxton, proudly ignored all of these factors and declared Texas is filing a lawsuit against the commonsense standards. Shortly after, Governor Greg Abbott said he fully supports Paxton. From the way they phrase it, you’d think the Feds were threatening their very right to breathe (which is ironic considering they are actually trying to protect it).

In contrast, we have Christine Todd Whitman, former Republican governor of New Jersey and former head of the EPA under George W. Bush. With such a conservative record, you may assume Whitman is in the same camp as Paxton and Gov. Abbott – but you’d be wrong.

Instead, Whitman undertook a rational evaluation of the plan and, as a result, is coming out in support. Let’s take a closer look at her reaction to the Clean Power Plan in relation to that of our Attorney General and Governor. Read More »

Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan| Read 3 Responses

Hartnett-White and Pals Twist Science for Sake of Fossil Fuel Interests

power-plant-pixabayEarlier this year, I wrote about how Kathleen Hartnett-White, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, was confused about the basic science related to carbon dioxide (CO2) and just how much of it is good for us. She mistakenly asserted the more CO2 the better, while nearly all climate scientists agree high CO2 emissions are wreaking havoc on our planet. Time and again science indicates we are looking at irreversible, catastrophic effects if we don’t do something about it.

Apparently Hartnett-White hasn’t gone back to class – she’s at it again and she’s brought her friends. We recently saw the launch of the CO2 Coalition, a new group aiming to paint CO2 as a nutrient rather than a pollutant, of which she is a member. The real purpose of the coalition is to debunk Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, using “science based facts” (as opposed to emotion-based?).

Similar to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Hartnett-White’s other fossil fuel-funded alliance, the CO2 Coalition is just another front-group pretending to use science in order to protect their corporate interests. Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan, Climate Change, Coal, TPPF| Comments are closed

Who is Representative Phil King Really Representing?

capitol-pixabay 2I examined in the past how some of our state’s most prominent statewide politicians are acting against Texas interests by opposing the upcoming Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Now I’m not one to exclude anyone from the spotlight, so I thought I’d shine some attention on State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford), who also recently spoke out against the CPP.

Phil King has been a member of the Texas House of Representatives since 1998, so one may assume he is well-versed in Texas and what makes sense for the state. But although he was elected to serve the people of Weatherford, Texas, this isn’t the only group he represents. Not only is he a prominent member of the fossil fuel-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), headquartered outside of D.C. in Arlington, VA, Rep. King was recently appointed the National Chair of this shadowy organization.

His senior position with and involvement in ALEC makes me question: when he dismisses and denies the benefits of the CPP, is Rep. King really looking out for his district and the state of Texas? Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan| Tagged , | Read 1 Response

Governor Abbott, Senators Cornyn and Cruz Look Out for the Success of a State – it’s Just Not Ours

pinwheel-pixabayGovernor Greg Abbott and Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz recently met in a meeting with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell to discuss how they could sabotage the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed (CPP). The CPP would place the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants – the rules for which are expected to be finalized this summer.

The reason for the meeting is simple: Sen. McConnell is currently touting a “just say no” approach to EPA’s regulations, advocating states refuse to create a compliance plan, which is clearly to protect his coal-producing state. He also supports legislation to let states opt-out of the pollution reduction program. After the closed-door meeting, Governor Abbott announced he is siding with the Senator from Kentucky on the CPP.

What the press release didn’t say: By aligning himself with Sen. McConnell, Governor Abbott is hurting Texas. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Clean Power Plan, Natural gas, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind| Comments are closed

Enviro Groups to Governor Abbott: Please Protect Texans’ Health

capitol-pixabayLast week, seven other Texas environmental groups came together with Environmental Defense Fund to deliver the following letter to Governor Abbott:

Dear Governor Abbott,

We are proud Texas likes to do things its own way. When Congress passed the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) many decades ago, they included provisions that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delegate administration of the related programs and regulations. Naturally, Texas applied for and received the right from EPA to manage the environmental permitting processes related to the CAA and CWA. A key component, though, was the obligation of states to meet the minimum requirements set by delegation of the federal rules, designed to ensure the safety and health of each state’s citizens.

We are very disappointed about the recent Senate Bill (SB) 709 by Senator Troy Fraser because it would put Texans’ health at risk for the sake of industry, all to solve a problem that does not exist. In addition, this bill puts the State of Texas at risk of losing EPA’s authorization to administer these permitting programs. If we want to protect the health of future generations of Texans, as well as Texas to remain in control of our environmental permitting programs, you must veto this bill. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency| Comments are closed
  • About the author

    Vice President, Clean Energy
    Jim Marston is the founding director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), located in Austin, where he has served since its beginning in 1988. He is also a leader of the Pecan Street, Inc., a partnership that includes Austin Energy, the University of Texas, the Chamber of Commerce, and several large high/clean tech companies aimed at making fundamental changes in the nation's electricity grid.

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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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