Selected category: Clean Air Act

Clearer (and Healthier!) Skies Ahead in Texas’ National Parks – EPA’s Regional Haze Rule Finalized

big-bend-national-park-347397_640 pixabayYesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule aimed to address what’s known as “regional haze” that has been affecting visibility and health in Texas, as well as in our neighbors to the north (Oklahoma and Arkansas). The formation of haze occurs when sunlight interacts with particles in the atmosphere, and this interaction reduces visibility. A part of the federal Clean Air Act, the Regional Haze program requires that states and the federal government develop plans to address air quality in 156 national parks and wilderness areas.

For Texas, the program requires a plan to help improve visibility in Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. And the final Regional Haze Rule – released yesterday – will require certain outdated power plants in Texas to reduce pollution of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a hazardous pollutant associated with asthma and bronchitis and an important precursor for smog formation.

The finalized rule will allow us all to breathe easier – and better take in Texas’ natural beauty.  Read More »

Also posted in Air Pollution, Particulate Matter| 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 »

Also posted in Clean Power Plan| 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 »

Also posted in Clean Power Plan| Read 3 Responses

ERCOT Report Confirms Texas Well-Positioned to Comply with Clean Power Plan, but Press Release Misleads

power-plant-pixabayIn Texas, we are graced with world class clean energy at rock bottom prices.  This means we are well positioned – more than any other state in our nation — to drive clean energy up while driving pollution and costs down. That’s excellent news when it comes to the Clean Power Plan, the carbon pollution standards finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August.

Texas’ primary grid operator today released an updated Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan and there are some bright spots. To start, the report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) includes a scenario for Clean Power Plan compliance that is virtually identical to the one we included in our report, Well Within Reach: How Texas Can Comply With and Benefit from The Clean Power Plan. Hopefully, this means ERCOT recognizes the expanded role energy efficiency can play in meeting our state’s electricity needs, and sees there is a realistic pathway to meeting the Clean Power Plan’s goals. ERCOT’s analysis also confirms that compliance with the plan will keep Texans’ 2030 electric bills below 2002 prices, when Texas first opened the electric market to competition.

Plus, the report shows that renewable energy is projected to grow significantly in Texas – to 21 percent of installed capacity by 2030, regardless of the carbon standards. Only a two percent increase of renewables – coupled with an additional eight percent of generation fired by Texas-produced natural gas – is needed to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan.

However, there are some big Texas-sized energy solutions that the ERCOT press release altogether failed to address, even though they are in ERCOT’s full report. Read More »

Also posted in Air Pollution, Clean Power Plan, Energy Efficiency| Read 2 Responses

Why Should Moms (and Dads) Care about Climate Change?

My daughter on a hike in the Texas Hill Country.

My daughter on a hike in the Texas Hill Country.

I am a mom. It’s not the only descriptor I use for myself, but it’s up there at the top. My daughter is three years old. She loves to play outside and hug trees and chase birds and go fishing with her daddy.

I am also a clean energy and climate advocate. My weekdays consist of trying to convince Texas policymakers to take action on climate change, and I sometimes think negotiating with statewide officials is harder than negotiating with a “threenager.”

As parents, our daily lives consist of a million things we have to do to keep the kids fed, dressed, and out of harm’s way. Can’t someone else worry about climate change? The problem with that perspective is, although moms and dads may differ politically, our desire to see our kids grow up happy and healthy is universal. But if enough of us make small changes in our lives and raise our voices on climate and clean energy issues, those actions can add up to a big solution.

Climate change and life as we know it

When a problem seems overwhelming, as climate change often does, it’s helpful to break it down into relatable pieces. Let’s think about how climate change affects our everyday activities with our children. Read More »

Also posted in Air Pollution, Clean Power Plan, Climate Change, Ozone| Read 3 Responses

Ozone—A Problem San Antonio Can No Longer Afford to Ignore

EagleFordFlareLate August provided a vivid reminder of San Antonio’s decade long challenge with air quality and a timely preview of an issue the entire region will be talking about next month:  ground level ozone (a.k.a. smog).

The last week of August, San Antonio air monitors registered some of the highest smog readings of the year. In fact, the city’s smog levels were higher than any other city in Texas on August 27.

Put simply, if you have asthma, or other breathing difficulties, you probably had a pretty tough time that week. Read More »

Also posted in Air Pollution, Environmental Protection Agency, Natural gas, Oil, Ozone, San Antonio| Tagged , , , , | Comments are closed
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