COASTAL BEND GROUP SIERRA CLUB
P.O. Box 3512, Corpus Christi, TX 78404
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COASTAL BEND SIERRA CLUB October 2010 Meeting Minutes
The Coastal Bend Sierra Club (CBSC) met on Tuesday, October 19 from 11:30 am until 1:15 pm at the Central Library, 805 Comanche Street. Chairperson Pat Suter welcomed members and reminded them that meeting minutes are posted on the CBSC website. Treasurer Teresa Carrillo could not attend the meeting, but notified Pat that the checking account balance, after receiving a $100 donation in memory of Jack White and paying bills, is approximately $1500.
Pat also reminded members that Teresa has invited CBSC and Audubon Outdoor Club members to an outing at the Carrillo Ranch in Duval County on October 30. For details, see the current CBSC Newsletter or, for more particulars, call Teresa at 361-960-3808 or e-mail her email@example.com.
A book, Texas Legacy Project, consisting of summaries of interviews with Texans who have made significant statewide contributions over the past several decades has just been published. It contains sections featuring Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, Pat Suter, and Carlos Truan along with others whom many local residents will recognize. Also, Lone Star Sierra Director Ken Kramers book on Texas water was recently published, and Pat reported that there will be a book-signing event in Austin on November 6, with Ken and several citizens featured in the Legacy book in attendance.
Lone Star Sierra President Hal Suter reminded members that early voting in this years general election is underway, and he urged them to vote. He reported that the Political Committee of Lone Star Sierra has endorsed Bill White for governor, Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner, and Jeff Weems for Railroad Commissioner. At the local level, the Political Committee has endorsed Solomon Ortiz, Jr. in District 33 and Abel Herrero in District 34. Hal also reminded members that ballots for Lone Star Sierras Executive Committee elections are in the current Lone Star Sierran. They must be postmarked by November 8, 2010.
Hal also briefed members on the October 7 Forum held in Corpus Christi and co-sponsored by CBSC. Nearly 250 people attended and heard panelists, including CBSCs Brian Burke and Lone Star Sierras Conservation Director Cyrus Reed, comment on the TCEQ Sunset Review process. Many attendees addressed the panel which included TCEQ Regional Director Donna Phillips on how they believed TCEQs functioning could be and should be improved.
In the matter of whether Las Brisas will be permitted, Hal stated that the second round of hearings is now underway in Austin. The judges plan to issue their recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners by December 10. Federal regulations of greenhouse gasses are expected to go into effect on January 2, 2011, so Las Brisas managers have been urging the Commissioners to grant the permit prior to that date.
Pat and Hal alerted members of an e-mail just received from Sierras Flavia de la Fuente who is working with Texans concerned about TCEQs continued permitting of coal-burning power plants which will emit tons of harmful substances into the air. Flavia is working on a plan which would have hundreds of Texans e-mailing EPA to politely remind them that TCEQ has been allowed to avoid implementing the Clean Air Act in Texas for too long and that the time is now for EPA to step in to protect Texans health. Send e-mail s to:firstname.lastname@example.org. Flavias e-mail: email@example.com.
Conservation Chair Venice Scheurich reported that the State Office of Administrative Hearings Judge has issued his report on the Goliad County Contested Case Hearing protesting TCEQs granting of a permit allowing Uranium Energy Corporation (UEC) to conduct in situ uranium mining in Goliad County. The judges Proposal for Decision (PFD) recommends that the application be remanded for additional evidence to be developed and made part of the record or that the permit be denied. The main points on which the judge expressed concern were: 1) whether a geological fault was sealed or transmissive, and 2) that baseline groundwater quality and the restoration table be amended to include additional sampling data. Venice also reported that the EPA is hosting a public informational meeting at the Corpus Christi Omni Hotel on November 4. They will take 5-minute comments about regulations for uranium and thorium. The first session will be from 1:00 until 3:00 pm; the second will be from 6:30 until 9:30 pm on the 4th.
Joyce Jarmon, who serves on the Industrial Advisory Committees, reported that there was no news from the refineries this month and that some members of the environmental community continue to be frustrated by the inability of industry to explain the causes and sources of some recent spikes in benzene emissions.
Brian Burke, who has been investigating permitting practices by TCEQ, reported that he is working on the concept of a new community action committee. He has talked with two TAMUCC professors who have been involved with Hillcrest residents and Citizens for Environmental Justice. These professors are building a data base and are planning to soon publish a report of industrial mishaps in this area. Brian thinks that a broad-based collaborative networking effort with the goal of educating the public on how regulatory agencies are failing to protect citizens might be useful.
Submitted by Venice Scheurich, October 19, 2010***********************************************************************************
COASTAL BEND GROUP
This page was last updated on 11/16/10.