Monthly Archives: March 2010

Las Brisas: Rubber Stamp Gone Missing

Yesterday, the law won.

Texas state administrative judges Tommy Broyles and Craig Bennett  just handed down a negative decision temporarily thwarting plans for a $3 billion petroleum coke-fired Las Brisas power plant in Corpus Christi.

Their opinion letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) stated that they have been unable to find grounds for approving the permit and this means that for now, Texans can breathe just a little bit easier.

We applaud the administrative judges for reaching a decision that was clearly justified on both the facts and the law. The facts in the case against Las Brisas were overwhelming (see my January post). Also, in addition to air pollution issues incorrectly outlined in the application, no one seemed to talk much about the added $100 million costs to build a water pipeline.

Now it’s up to TCEQ as they decide whether or not to grant the air permit. We will be watching closely to see if – as history has proven time and again – politics trumps the law and someone finds that damned rubber stamp again.

Posted in Texas / Read 151 Responses

The truth about “facts” from the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council

No one can fault the natural gas industry for trying to make its case before influential policy makers and the public. But there’s a certain responsibility associated with billing yourself as the purveyor of “facts:” Your information needs to be true. Loose use of facts will backfire on the natural gas industry.

Last week, I went to a presentation by the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council at the Texas Capitol. The Council represents over a dozen companies including the seven largest producers in the Barnett (Devon, Chesapeake, XTO, EOG, Quicksilver, EnCana, and Range). This briefing for legislators and their staff was billed as the first installment of a road show bringing the “facts” about natural Read More »

Posted in Natural Gas, Texas / Read 71 Responses

Using renewable energy instead of natural gas saved Austin almost $50 million

Settling down with my usual bedtime reading last night – Austin Energy’s Annual Report of System Information – two tables caught my attention: the “Fuel Costs” (in total $) table on page 2, and the “Energy By Fuel Type”(in total MWh) table on page 3.   Hiding in those tables are some meaningful numbers that refute the current thinking that with natural gas prices so cheap, nothing can possibly be cheaper. A little bit of math shows that renewable energy is an even cheaper option.

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Posted in Renewable Energy, Texas / Read 40 Responses