The Texas legislature did manage to pass some energy efficiency bills this session. Here is a link to the Texas Environment Blog which gives the rundown. It also lists a couple bad bills that got through…
With just a few days left in the session, here are some of the key environmentally-related bills still moving.
Solar Leasing Bill (SB 981) – passed House. Once the bill’s author – Sen. John Carona – concurs with the House amendments, it’ll go to the Governor
State Energy Plan (HB 3595) – The bill to create a state energy plan was amended on to HB 3595 (a good energy efficiency bill) in the Senate, but without the anti-renewable energy language (“section P”). Other amendments to HB 3595 include the language from SB 981 (see above), language to create an Energy Efficiency Coordinating Council and improvements to the Power to Choose website. This bill will go to conference committee and with the coal industry gunning to kill it, its fate is uncertain.
HOAs and Solar (HB 362) limits the power of homeowner associations to restrict solar installations. It has some problematic language, but hopefully it helps make it easier for people to install solar. – sent to Governor.
TCEQ Sunset (HB 2694). The bill raises the cap on penalties up to $25,000 a day for polluters, but it makes some changes to the penalty policy that will blunt the impact of that change. The conference committee rejected an amendment by Rep. Chisum that would have shifted the burden of proof from the polluter to a citizen contesting a permit, but accepted another Chisum amendment which weakens the rights of Texans to influence upcoming decisions about mercury pollution from power plants. – on its way to Governor
Mandatory TV Recycling (SB 329) – on it was to Governor
A number of energy efficiency bills are on their way to the Governor’s desk. These are mostly pretty modest bills, but still a good step forward for efficiency:
Utility Energy Efficiency Incentives (SB 1125) – sent to Governor
Green State Buildings (HB 51) – will soon be sent to Governor
Local Government Energy Conservation (SB 898) – sent to Governor
Municipal and Cooperative Utilities Efficiency Program Reporting (SB 924) passed House and the bill’s author – Sen. John Carona – either needs to concur with the House amendments or call for a conference committee.
Non-ERCOT Utility Efficiency (SB 1150) – sent to Governor
Energy Efficiency for Churches and Non-profits (HB 2077) – sent to Governor
Energy Efficiency Performance Contracts for Schools (HB 1728) – sent to Governor
Light Pollution (HB 2857) regulates outdoor lighting of municipalities and counties located within a 57 mile radius of any major astronomical observatory of the McDonald Observatory – passed Senate and Rep. Gallego needs to either concur with their amendment (pushing back implementation date to January) or go to conference.
Limiting Rights of Texans to Fight Greenhouse Gas Pollution (SB 875) Rep. Bonnen added an amendment to make this bad bill even worse, but the Dallas Morning News reports indicate that provision will be stripped out. – in conference committee.
Energy-wasting Light Bulbs (HB 2510) – sent to Governor