El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

Archive for February 3rd, 2009

NPT: The Asarco-EPA-TCEQ letters

EPA letters to Asarco, TCEQ, assert aged equipment and possible enforcement actions: Asarco would have had to spend millions of dollars to bring its equipment up to standards, state letters from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Asarco and to the TCEQ dated today, even as Asarco was announcing its closure.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT: Asarco officially done, so here’s a big goodbye

From photographer Robert Ardovino, who took this picture in September 2007.


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Goin round the Gov

sos09-headerThe Dallas Morning News commented earlier today the following on a House concurrent resolution that suspends the Legislature’s prohibition on passing bills in the first 60 days of a session:

“If the Senate follows suit, which will take 25 votes, today’s action sort of makes unnecessary Gov. Rick Perry’s proclamation today about emergency legislation. Perry’s proclamation covers bills on topics ranging from state schools for the mentally disabled to hurricanes. But the House resolution, by Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, opens the door to floor action on ALL bills and resolutions. Since 1930, the first 60 days prohibition has been suspended in all but three regular sessions.”

I find this interesting in light of the Clayburn Amendment to Congressional bill HR 1, which allows federal stimulus aid to come to Texas around the Governor.

That amendment has already inspired two concurrent resolutions (viewed here and here) that more-or-less bypass Perry vis a vis the stimulus package. Though passed with bipartisan support, Eiland resolution could might have a “warning shot” element to it.

Eiland, a Democrat might be saying through the resolution, “Hey Rick, thanks, but we’ll decide what is and isn’t an emergency when it comes to legislation.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Pickett does a Clyburn

pickettState Rep Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, filed a concurrent resolution yesterday requesting federal stimulus money to flow into Texas.

HCR29 requests that the 81st Legislature, “express its intent that the state accept federal economic stimulus funds appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR1) or any other such legislation.”

The resolution, similar to one filed by State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, D-Paso, (but broader in scope), takes advantage of the Clyburn amendment (Section 1115 of HR1) which provides for states whose governors have expressed hostility toward the stimulus package.(Link)

Texas governor Rick Perry, has derided the bailout in recent weeks and has turned down federal money on more than one occasion. (link) Usually governors have to request federal money, but Section 1115 allows the money to be requested by a concurrent resolution of a state legislature. (link)
perry2Pickett’s resolution, if adopted, would represent such a request. However HR1 is currently seeking passage in the US Senate. Section 1115 may be the targeted for deletion by some conservative lawmakers.

Pickett is currently on the floor of the Texas House and as such cannot be reached for comment. More to follow…

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

NPT City: PSB money time

On the agenda for Thursday (Feb. 5, 2009) at the Public Service Board:


The Chair of the Public Service Board has called a meeting of the Board for Thursday, February 5, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., to be held in the Public Service Board Meeting Room located at 1154 Hawkins Boulevard, El Paso, Texas.

1. Budget Workshop – Stormwater Operating and Capital Budget and recommendations from the Stormwater Advisory Committee. 90 minutes

2. Authorize the President/CEO to enter into a professional services contract to perform a Governance Practices Review of the Board. 15 minutes

3. Public Comment: The PSB will permit public comment on any item not on the agenda. The Chair may impose reasonable time limits for each speaker. 10 minutes

Some folks may balk at 10 minutes being allotted for public comment, which sort of plays into the idea that the PSB is not open for the messy process of democracy, such as takes place regularly at City Council, where no request for extra speaking time is ever turned down.

That’s perception. The big ticket item is recommendations from the stormwater advisory group. Finally, a year or two after the utility was created, a master plan to inform the long-term fee structure.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 10:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Emergency Items


Governor Perry today released a list of emergency items that he wants the Texas Legislature to begin considering immediately. Most items on the list were related to the response required to Hurricane Ike, which the government estimates will cost up to $1.6bn


Read Perry’s press release here

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 3, 2009 at 10:21 am