Energy efficiency SB 258 can save us money; it deserves to become law

The Texas House must pass energy efficiency bill SB 258 by Sen. Sarah Eckhardt. It would help Texans save money on utility bills by weatherizing their homes and help Texas prevent blackouts and reduce pollution. Energy efficiency is widely known to be the most cost-effective way to improve our grid’s ability to withstand disasters.

The Senate passed this bill last week but the House may kill the effort since many electrical utilities oppose these bills because, one can assume, they are not a solution to sell more energy.

Energy efficiency goals like this can save us an enormous amount compared to building more gas plants. Texas needs to do something for people, not just corporations. This will only happen if we stand up and tell our elected officials we support SB 258.

Raphael Schwartz

Austin American-Statesman

May 14, 2023

We need more Texas lawmakers to confront the reality of climate change

Re: Nov. 10 commentary, “We need resilient infrastructure and global climate plan now.”

Thanks to Rep. Zwiener for co-founding the Texas House Caucus on Climate, Environment and the Energy Industry and getting 30 members to join. We need such lawmakers to honestly look at the facts on climate change crisis and take action for health and well-being of their constituents.

The response of the Texas Legislature to the problems of the electric grid during and after the February winter storm has been nothing but disheartening. The loss of at least 210 lives and $80 billion in damages, and unbelievable suffering of Texans was not enough for the legislature to take strong action. The state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has reported that Texas is vulnerable to a wide range of natural hazards, most of which are weather and climate events.

Yes, we need resilient infrastructure that will figure climate change as part of planning and that will reduce harmful emissions by transitioning to cleaner sources of energy.

Kalpana Sutaria

Austin American-Statesman

November 16, 2021

LTE Under Consideration: Re: March 1 Article, “Was climate change to blame?”

Texans just experienced devastating storms whose ripple effects are still hurting people. While the blame game is going on, we should not forget that lives were lost and life threatening hardships were felt.

We still remember the freezing weather of 2011 and power outages. Texas Legislature directed weatherization of electrical infrastructure soon after but tragically that was not done. After the warmest decade of all times, the 2021 snowstorm from the Polar regions brought below freezing weather for days knocking electricity and water infrastructures. Texans are still suffering. We had refrigerator like conditions for 77 hours in my house.

Scientists have been warning us for many years about warming temperatures, their effects on polar regions and resulting weather patterns everywhere. Our leaders and are fully aware of these facts. We need a thoughtful climate policy now and we must demand that. Business as usual is not an option.

Kalpana Sutaria

Submitted to the Austin American-Statesman

March 4, 2021

LTE Under Consideration: H.C.R. No. 22

The 87th Legislature of the State of Texas has a great opportunity to sponsor the proposed H.C.R. No. 22 – the Texas Environmental and Economic Stewardship Resolution. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while diversifying the economy supported by technological innovation and bipartisan collaboration.

It is not unknown to the Legislature that climate is changing and is having adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of Texans. But we can’t rely on oil and gas as energy sources alone especially when it is contributing negatively to the health of Texans. Texas leads the nation in wind energy but we need more zero emissions sources like solar, geothermal, and nuclear.

The State of Texas has innovators, scientists, engineers and environmentalists who can provide expertise on energy sources and its impact on the changing climate. Texas House has already formed a Caucus on Climate and Environment and the Energy Industry, a perfect place to start thoughtful discussions on energy sources and transition opportunities to the 21st century low-carbon economy. The Legislature has a choice to grab this opportunity for the people they serve.

Richard “Larry” Howe

February 13, 2021