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Twists and Turns

Apparent in the sale of utility, TXU – here is the latest from a Heartland Institute article by John Dale Dunne. Titled, “Proposed Texas Utilities Sale Could End Environmental Dispute,” the story is set for publication in Environment News on May 1. To quote,

Texas Utilities (TXU) announced in February a preliminary agreement for the largest company buyout in U.S. history, which may bring a resolution to an ongoing dispute over the utility’s proposal to build 11 coal-fired power plants with modern emissions-reduction technology.
The deal, however, faces hurdles from a skeptical state legislature.
. . . In a February 26 news release, Dave Hawkins of the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council called the proposed buyout “the largest leveraged environmental deal in history.” The proposed new three-division company, named Luminant Energy for generation, Oncor for transmission and distribution, and TXU Energy for retail business, will scale back the number of new plants from 11 to three, suspending permit applications for the other eight plants.
In addition, the proposed new company will commit to carbon trading. The new alliance opened a Web site at http://www.texasenergyfuture.com to announce its plans.
. . . Texas legislators, however, expressed concern about the deal. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would delay or nix the deal by requiring the state’s Public Utility Commission to study and approve the deal before it can take effect. Additionally, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R) in a March 9 letter asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review the proposed deal.

Shedding more light on this story – One of the sites on which I often cross-post is Texas Kaos. And one of my favorite posters there is “lightseeker,” who gets praise for keeping us informed about what is going on in the Texas energy arena. Here are some recent posts:

The large corporations involved in these deals have not gone unchallenged. According to the guerrilla news network, (4/14/07) headline: Climate Justice League Strikes Merrill Lynch” from which I quote,

In a daring daylight raid, members of the Climate Justice League struck a blow against Merrill Lynch, a major financier of global climate change. At approximately 11am two masked avengers entered the Merrill Lynch building in downtown Asheville, NC dumping a bag of coal in the lobby, throwing fliers into the air which read “Merrill Lynch, stop funding climate change!”, and locking the main entrance shut with a bike lock.
. . . Merrill Lynch is currently helping to seal the deal on 3 new coal plants in Texas being built by TXU.

And in Houston Saturday, according to KHOU.com, ACORN met with city officials about the rising costs of utilities, citing the proposed buyout of TXU.

Members of the community group ACORN met with local leaders Saturday to discuss rising utility bills in Texas. At the top of the agenda was the proposed buyout of TXU energy by private companies. The companies have offered to take over the energy giant’s debt.
ACORN said it was concerned that the $20 billion of debt would be passed on to consumers in the form of increased rates.

More background from a previous S/SW post (2/7/07),Activism-Wednesday Roundup,” I was worried about the proposed sale of TXU. To quote that section,

My home states, from Wyoming to Texas – What’s the hurry with coal? The company that gets my check for the electricity bill has plans to import large quantities of coal from mines in the state of my birth, Wyoming, to several new generating plants in the state where I live. Texas Governor Perry has fast-tracked the company’s permit applications from one year to six months. The headline and summary in CNN Money reads: “TXU faces a Texas coal rush. Energy company TXU plans to build 11 new plants powered by coal. They will generate electricity and greenhouse gases. They are already generating political heat, says Fortune’s Marc Gunther.” This same author wrote a similar story in November of last year. From his story, I found three resources, Outside Groups involved in the fight:

Letting these groups know you support their efforts can be very helpful. It is not over yet. Even if you do not live in Texas it will make a difference. You are affected by what happens in this state because it is the one that sends more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than any other. It is not called “global climate change” for nothing.

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My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is about testing one’s assumptions.

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