Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ominous black clouds hang over central texas...

...reflecting the impending gloom of a new coal plant, as reported in the Austin American Statesman. Despite much controversy, the state environmental commission gave the final okay, by granting an air permit, to allow TXU to go ahead with plans to build the Oak Grove coal power plant just 100 miles Northeast of Austin. The debate over the potential health hazards has divided many politicians and citizens alike. For example Mayor Will Wynn, chairman of the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition, said with dismay that it will wipe out years of hard work and millions of dollars of invested dollars. On the other side of the fence, Gov. Rick Perry has been an extreme advocate for the new plants. While local citizen groups say they will continue to fight it, it seems inevitable at this point that the plant will be built. In my opinion this is truly a step backwards in the progressive smart growth that is vital to preserve our environment in the face of imminent eco-disasters like global warming.
For complete article see: www.statesman.com/green/content/news/stories/local/06/14/14coal.html

6 comments:

KSeago said...

Hi Lyra,

EXCELLENT FIRST PASS!

Aesthetically, this is very pleasing AND it contains all the structural elements I'm looking for in Stage One.

Two comments, one addition, one question.

Two comments: 1) Change the title of your first post (currently "Summary of Coal plant article") to something less sterile (for example, "More dirty old nasty sooty coal plants for Texas"); and, 2) Either make the title a direct link to the article OR make the new and improved title simply a title, and include an informal citation to the the Statesman article ("As reported in the Austin American Statesman" link) in the body of your summary.

One addition: flesh out your "blogroll" to include ALL the suggested sources (with links) from the syllabus. Make these links to the general sources (for instance, the home page of the American Statesman) not to specific articles. A "blogroll" is a list of sources you want or expect your readers (which will number in the thousands if you keep this up) to consult as they labor in the hard work of citizenship to "keep up."

One question: After you integrate these changes (and send me the link to your changes), may I circulate this to your colleagues as an exemplary example of a Stage One Blog?

BTW-I'd grade this as a high "B," low "A" effort even without the suggested changes.

Pat yourself on the back,
Kris S. Seago Associate Professor, Government
Austin Community College
kseago@austincc.edu (email, preferred communication method) 512.223.4231 (office phone, secondary communication method)
ksseago (AIM, occasionally logged on)
http://www.austincc.edu/kseago (web site)

KSeago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KSeago said...

Hi Lyra,

This is looking great.

Great name for your blog and nice name for this post.

One final comment: Add all the blogs from the syllabus to your "blogroll."

Quite honestly, your blog is already about to lap some of those I'm asking you to list. This is the first semester I've had students construct blogs. In the past, I've required standard-issue academic papers. I'm as curious as you are to see how this turns out....

Kris S. Seago

KSeago said...

Excellent first pass. Optimally, you'd split the mainstream media (the newspapers) from the blogs, but it's not all that easy to do in Blogger. Don't sweat it.

DJ Thome said...

The article provides little more than the blurb "Environmentalists say the state should invest in conservation programs to curb demand." It is understandable that the Statesman wants to appear as objective as possible, but I think that serious investigation is in order beyond conservation programs. Fossil fuels definitely not the ideal, but conservations do far too little, especially with the rate of population growth experienced in the area. Even if power consumption could be cut per capita by 40%, it still wouldn't be enough, as the Austin area alone is well on its way to doubling the 1997 population (from 1,015,000 people to 1,513,565, projected to hit 2,273,000 by 2025) [from here and here respectively] We're definitely going to need something to supply power to all of these people. What are we supposed to do? Go Nuclear? Feed the flames with foreign oil? Natural gas?

Should we dump the problem on another geographical region? How about west Texas? Market it as a job growth opportunity! Heck, should we just put it across the US border, and enjoy the lax environmental policy?

In all serious consideration, conservation initiatives won't do it alone. We do need a better solution to another dirty coal plant (General Electric has some really cool tricks for clean coal). Alternative energies would be the ideal solution, but gathering the strength to get the funding together and beating the political behemoth of connected coal producers will be a long shot. Good Luck and Breathe Easy.

-D

LyraZ said...

Thanks for your feedback DJ. I think you hit on one of the main problems - the entrenchment of big oil, coal and other energy companies in the political arena. While some of these companies are trying to find solutions, in general there seems to be this rigid resistance to modern society's need for a cleaner, more environmentally sound energy source. Consequently, the funding isn't there right now for the scale of research and development we need. This is not to say there isn't some progress. I have been on the wind-energy grid, from west Tx. for a few years now, which is a great example. (Is grid the right term?) But I wonder if things are just going to have to get a whole lot worse before the powers that be wake up and smell the charred atmosphere...