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Environmentalists optimistic about Austin, less so about state, nation

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Jack Craver

A number of environmental advocates lauded efforts undertaken by the city and its electric utility at a Monday meeting of the Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committee. Austin Energy has done a “great job” facilitating greater use of solar energy, noted Kaiba White of Public Citizen. There is still far more to do, she and others argued, including making solar energy more accessible to apartment residents and moving forward on the city’s stated commitments to retire its share of the Fayette coal plant by 2022. David Cortez of Sierra Club said that since the November election, more people are interested in local activism. “People are concerned that the EPA is pretty much going away for the next couple of years, so they want to know what they can do locally,” he said. City Council Member Leslie Pool, who chairs the committee, similarly expressed sadness over what she views as continued indifference to environmental concerns at the state level. “We can do really good things locally, and I think that is our intention and our mindset,” she said. “My frustration is that it’s local and it should be statewide, and the state has a clear and definite role in these issues.”

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