Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2009
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Ellis Adds Green Energy Bills to Environment Package
SB 435 & SB 436 would provide incentives to increase the use of renewable energy

(Austin, Texas) — Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today added two new bills to his environment package, legislation to boost renewable energy use in Texas.

The bills add to Ellis' environment package, which includes legislation to:

"I am proud to have filed SB 136, which will create a cap & trade system for Texas. This legislation will require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to quantify Texas’ carbon emissions from 1990 and create a plan to get us back to that level by 2023.

"Most climate scientists believe we need 80% reductions from 1990 levels by 2050 and President-elect Obama called for that on the campaign trail (McCain called for similar reductions).

SB 136 is a very cautious, measured proposal; would not be implemented until 2015. Senate Bill 136 would allow Texas several years of planning, in which time Texas companies can take voluntary measures and receive credit for doing so.

"Even if we pass this legislation, it is possible we will be pre-empted by federal regulations. But it’s also likely that the federal government will consider the regional and state plans already underway. This plan would give us a chance to make a real case to the federal government that we’re working on this problem and that Texas should get special consideration because of our refineries and industrial activities.

"We can’t be seen as being merely oppositional. We’ve got to be constructive because Texas would be affected by global warming worse than most parts of the country or the world. Most Texans experienced 50 days of 100° temperature. Within this century those days would be 110°. Droughts will get worse, as will hurricanes. "We’re already seeing these effects now. It’s time to act.

"I would also like to state, unequivocally, that carbon regulation will not destroy Texas' economy. If Texas leaders are involved in finding solutions to global warming, our economy could benefit greatly. Look at the wind industry that has brought thousands of green jobs and billions of dollars to the state. Texas has the opportunity to be a leader in solar, biomass, geothermal, and carbon capture from fossil fuel plants. We've barely begun to take advantage of the economic benefits of energy efficiency.

"We can't pretend there is no problem. We can't credibly dispute the science that tells us very clearly that the planet is heating up. Greenhouse gases will be regulated and clean energy will likely be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century. Texas can either be a leader in developing alternative energies and reap the benefits or we will be left behind."

Houston is a city that was largely built on revenue from the oil and gas industry. But, it is time to explore alternative sources of energy. I have filed a bill to build upon the enormous potential of the green industry by creating a green jobs fund. I have also filed a number of bills to enact safeguards when polluting facilities want to locate their structures in neighborhoods.