By now you may have heard that Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, is President-elect Trump’s pick for Energy secretary. If appointed, he will be succeeding Samuel Bodman, Doctor of Science in chemical engineering from MIT; Steven Chu, PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley; and Ernest Moniz, PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University.
Since the majority of the budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) is spent on nuclear waste clean-up and very technical research projects, the fact that Gov. Perry doesn’t measure up to his predecessors in his scientific credentials is disappointing. All the more so that his track record is one of unquestioning support of highly polluting interests in his state.
I have written about Perry plenty of times, so it should come as no surprise that I am less than thrilled with the idea of him heading the same department he famously declared he would eliminate.
Put simply: The appointment of Rick Perry is "open season" on the environment, and all who care about the health of their families should be concerned. Time and again, he has put polluters over people for political gain, and leveraged backroom deals with special interests — the rest of the economy and the air be damned. My only hope is that he takes to heart the jobs and economic growth resulting from Texas wind power, and uses it to steer the DOE toward fostering a thriving clean energy economy. Read More
What do economists and environmentalists have in common? When it comes to Texas’ energy future, more than you may think.
According to a new study from the Brattle Group, a reputable, national economics consulting firm with extensive experience in Texas’ electricity sector, market forces are leading to coal’s rapid decline in the Lone Star State. Moreover, rapidly-growing cleaner electricity sources like natural gas and renewable energy will be able to entirely meet Texas’ additional power needs – without increasing electric bills. We couldn’t agree more.
That said, we’re confident the impacts are going to be even more powerful in terms of Texas’ wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And the latest report from Texas’ main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), continues to support that expectation. Read More
Every 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
If 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
Earlier 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
I 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