With a key wind energy tax credit set to expire at the end of the year, student activists will gather outside the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to urge her to support extension of the tax credit in order to protect Texas jobs and the environment. An estimated 37,000 Americans employed by the wind industry could lose their jobs if Congress fails to act. Already, wind developer Vestas Energy has announced they’re closing their Houston office and laying off dozens of people over uncertainty about this tax credit.

Natural Gas Conservation in Texas


As we established in previous posts, electricity conservation is crucial in Texas summers to reduce strain on the power grid and avoid rolling blackouts across the state. Of course, saving energy is important year round.  One area where Texas can make great strides in energy conservation is natural gas.

Sea turtles caught in shrimp nets


Thousands of endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Atlantic coast are dying unnecessarily as they become entangled in shrimp nets and ultimately drown. However, turtle excluder devices (TED) could prevent these deaths from happening. The National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) has submitted a rule to the Federal Register proposing that all shrimp nets must use a TED. In order to ensure that the final decision on this rule protects the turtles, public support must be highly visible. A public comment period is currently open on regulations.gov in which you can comment on the NMFS’s proposed rule (http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0095-0001) and share why you think this initiative is important. Another way to show support is by signing your name to the letter that the Sea Turtle Restoration Project will submit to regulations.gov before the public comment period ends on July 9, 2012 (http://action.seaturtles.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10633). Michael Barnette of the NMFS is also accepting comments concerning this proposed rule (see address below).

Summer heat strains electric grid


Finally, a brief respite from the heat!  Today we finally welcome temperatures that ring in below 100 for the first time in five days—the high for today is a merciful 99.  It may not be for us as Texans, but others would consider that pretty hot.  These high temperatures that come with our scorching Texas summers strain the state’s primary power grid, not to mention our wallets.