Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Texas Close To Accepting Low-Level Nuclear Waste

Texas is close to allowing low-level radioactive waste from dozens of states to be trucked in and disposed at a site in West Texas, which would become one of only four in the nation that could take low-level radioactive waste shipped from out of state.  Three other sites currently accept low-level radioactive material: Richland, Wash., since 1965; Barnwell, S.C., since 1971; and Clive, Utah, since 1991.

A state agency with oversight of waste imports adopted rules Friday that help clear the way for the 1,338-acre dump near the New Mexico border, despite concerns expressed by environmentalists that such a facility may be unsafe. Its operator, Waste Control Specialists LLC, still needs final approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, but expects to receive it within several weeks. The company is majority-owned by Texas billionaire Harold Clark Simmons, one of the nation's wealthiest men and a major donor to Republican state and national political candidates.

Supporters of the project, located in a remote red-clay formation just east of the New Mexico-Texas state line about 31 miles from the town of Andrews, Texas, maintain it is environmentally safe and note that it will generate needed revenue for Texas.
Critics contend that water near the disposal site could become contaminated by the waste, which can include radioactive material from nuclear-power plants, research facilities and hospitals. They also say that truckloads of refuse will be traveling through Texas with insufficient oversight, creating a recipe for trouble if they get into accidents.

Waste Control Specialists estimated that Texas would receive as much as 25% of the revenue from the disposal of imported waste, up to a total of $20 million annually. (WSJ, 3/23/2012, photo courtesy WSJ)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

$8.7 Billion in Transmission Projects Planned In Next 5 Years

More than $870 million in transmission improvements completed last year

Nearly $8.7 billion in transmission improvements are planned in the next five years, according to the annual transmission report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market.

The planned projects are expected to improve or add nearly 7,000 circuit miles of transmission lines and more than 17,000 megavolt amperes (MVA) of autotransformer capacity to the grid, including the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) transmission additions that are scheduled to be in service by 2013.

The 2011 Electric System Constraints and Needs Report, filed Friday with the Public Utility Commission, identifies existing and potential constraints in the transmission systems that pose reliability concerns or may increase costs to the electric power market and Texas consumers.

Since 2010, ERCOT transmission providers have completed construction and improvements to approximately 966 miles of transmission and more than 5,000 MVA of autotransformer capacity, at an estimated capital cost of $870 million. The largest project completed last year was a 173-circuit-mile 345 kilovolt (kV) line in South Central Texas, the Zorn/Clear Springs – Gilleland Creek – Hutto Switch.


As the transmission planning coordinator for the region, ERCOT works with the region’s transmission and distribution providers and other stakeholders to identify the need for new transmission facilities based on engineering analysis of operational results, load forecasting, generation interconnections, and transmission and system studies. As part of the planning process, ERCOT seeks input from all market participants and stakeholders about options and possible solutions through the ERCOT-led Regional Planning Group. Major projects must be also endorsed by the ERCOT Board of Directors.


In the ERCOT region, the cost for transmission construction and upgrades is rolled into costs that all ratepayers pay – also known as a “postage-stamp transmission rate” because it is the same access fee regardless of location. Transmission and distribution providers must offer access to their wires to all electric providers on a non-discriminatory basis. The Public Utility Commission regulates transmission and distribution providers and approves the rates they are allowed to charge for the delivery of power to retail customers.

  • 40,530 miles of high-voltage transmission, including:
    • 9,249 miles of 345 kV
    • 19,565 miles of 138 kV
    • 11,715 miles of 69 kV
  • $8.7 billion under development in five-year plan, including approximately $5 billion to support 18,000 MW of renewable generation
  • More than 8,500 circuit miles of transmission improvements since 1999
  • Approximately $6.6 billion in transmission improvements added since 1999 (ERCOT Press Release)
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers -- representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.6 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipal-owned electric utilities.

Friday, November 11, 2011

$480,000 EPA Grant to N. Central Texas Council of Gov'ts

EPA Awards North Central Texas Council of Governments Over $480,000 in Climate Showcase Communities Grant
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is receiving $486,767 in Climate Showcase Communities grant funding to establish a Freight Efficiency Outreach Center in North Central Texas. This center will support NCTCOG’s current role as an affiliate of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership, which focuses on increasing
efficiency and reducing emissions from the freight sector.
The Climate Showcase Communities Program consists of 50 local and tribal governments

that received $20 million in EPA grant funding in 2009 and 2010 to pilot innovative, cost-effective and replicable community-based greenhouse gas reduction projects. These projects will help their communities increase energy efficiency and save consumers money with new practices involving waste management, energy production and land use management.

These Climate Showcase Communities are showing their commitment to combat climate change by contributing matching funds as well as sharing lessons learned to help other communities replicate successful projects. Communities selected for the Climate Showcase funds were required to show their ability to track, measure and show progress toward achieving ongoing greenhouse gas reductions.

The pilot communities estimate that by 2014 the projects will avoid more than 350,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. This is equivalent to the annual emissions from almost 70,000 passenger vehicles or the energy used by 30,000 homes and would save nearly $19 million per year in energy costs. The projects will improve public health and quality of life by improving indoor and outdoor air quality,
increasing walkability and reducing household energy bills.

In North Texas, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by about 2,540 metric tons per year, and the freight industry is projected to save 277,102 gallons of diesel fuel per year.

The Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program is administered by the EPA, providing technical assistance, tools and guidance to help state, local and tribal governments implement policies and programs to mitigate climate change.

More information of the grants and grant recipients

More about activities in EPA Region 6

EPA Audio File

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

There are a lot of exciting things going on this month. In fact, one of those things includes a daily diary of small, but significant things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, become vegetarian and be nicer to the planet!

Stay tuned!

Get Active. Go Green! with delmetria millener, a freelance writer based in Texas. Contact her at thawriter@thawriter.biz.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Greenpeace Needs a Facilities Assistant




Office Appearance and Functionality:

• Maintain a clean and productive office environment
• Keep storage area neat with an up to date inventory
• Regular walk through and pickup of common areas including the three kitchens
• Respond to staff facilities requests in a prompt and pleasant manner
• Perform basic maintenance needs
• Assist in facility maintenance including escorting vendors working in the building
• Assist Facilities Manager with internal office moves

Meeting Preparation:

• Prepare meeting rooms for all staff-requested meetings, including equipment, food and beverage service

• Break down meeting rooms following all meetings

New Employee Duties:

• Set up work areas for new employees
• Assign phone extension and reset voice mail
• Train new staff on organizational facilities policies including security procedures, phone and voice mail system, and all other office equipment
• Document and maintain phone extension locations

Mail Room:

• Responsible for the daily posting of all outgoing mail, including management of the weekly international and domestic inter-office packages
• Distribute all incoming mail, packages and large shipping deliveries daily
• Work with other departments to prepare, produce and send large mailing and copying projects

Office Supplies and Equipment:

• Place service calls on copiers and other office equipment
• Order and track usage of office supplies
• Keep all printers and copiers supplied with paper
• Compile monthly printer logs
• Must be able to lift 40 lb


• Book reservations of the organization’s DC apartment for out of town staff
• Respond to Facilities support ticket requests from staff
• Maintain the Facilities team’s Google docs
• Maintain documentation and filing system for the facilities department
• Assist with Facilities’ spreadsheets tracking phone and facilities costs by department
• Prepare invoices for Facilities Manager’s approval
• Other duties as assigned by the Facilities Manager



• High School Diploma or equivalent


• Strong organizational skills
• Basic computer skills
• Good attention to detail
• Solid communication skills
• Ability to work well as part of a team and individually
• Good self-starter
• Ability to effectively manage projects and time
• A sense of humor
• Commitment to the mission of Greenpeace
• Customer service oriented


• Experience in a mailroom or administrative assistant position
• Proven ability to manage multiple tasks


Please send cover letter, including where you heard of this position, and resume to resumes@wdc.greenpeace.org  by September 19, 2011.

Andrea Cimino, Recruitment Fellow
Greenpeace USA, Washington DC

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wildfires Devastate Texas

Wildfires burning across Texas destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least two people.  Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), who is running for president, canceled his appearance at a candidate roundtable in South Carolina Monday to return to Austin.

More than 3.6 million acres in Texas have been scorched by wildfires since November, fed by a continuing drought that has caused more than $5 billion in damage to the state’s agricultural industry. (Wash Post, 9/6/2011)