Public Citizen Texas

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Public Citizen Texas is the Texas branch of Public Citizen, a nonpartisan, ideologically progressive, nonprofit, public interest advocacy organization. Public Citizen Texas is based in Austin, Texas. Since its founding in 1984, it has concerned itself with ideologically progressive issues such as: environmental enforcement policies, global warming, promoting renewable/clean energy, product safety, nuclear safety, medical safety, auto safety/quality, pesticide safety, insurance reforms, campaign finance/ethics issues, improving state government agency operations and fair trade policies. In recent years the organization has been primarily concerned with global warming and energy policy in Texas. Public Citizen Texas opposes expanding coal burning and nuclear power plants in Texas1. They run the Texas Vox blog, and contribute to the Coal Block networking site.2 Our mission: To be the most effective advocates protecting the environment and its citizens from corporate and government irresponsibility. Vision:Healthy environment, sustainable economy and a government of, by and for the people.

Founding[edit]

Public Citizen Texas was founded in on August 21, 1984 by Ralph Nader and Craig McDonald, Public Citizen’s national field organizer, with the purpose of fighting Southwestern Bell’s rate hikes, which occurred after the deregulation of phone Rates. After Southwestern Bell withdrew the increase, the group decided to remain in Texas and pursue issue including consumer safety, government ethics and pollution.2

Tom “Smitty” Smith[edit]

In 1985, Public Citizen Texas recruited Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Houston Food Bank and former legislative aid to be the organization’s director, a position he has held since. He has also serves on the boards of Clean Water Action, the Texas Wind Power Coalition, Texans for Public Justice, and Campaigns for People, who have awarded him with their Thomas Paine Award. Smitty has also received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Excellence Award. Smitty has served on four commissions that looked at the future of the utility industry in Texas and has testified on more than 100 occasions on environmental and energy policy. He has also been received the Austin Chronicle's critics' choice award for "Best People's Lobbyist".2

Activities[edit]

Public Citizen Texas takes credit for influencing the passing of laws requiring Texas to develop 5,880 Megawatts of new renewable energy and creating the Texas Emissions Reductions Plan, which reduces emissions from Texas diesels by 30% and gives incentives for purchasing of more efficient new cars and trucks.2

They are also credited with the establishment and strengthening of the Texas Ethics Commission and strengthening Texas’ “Lemon Law” to require car makers to address consumer complaints within 45 days, or else fully refund consumers. Additionally they helped end a "grandfathering" loophole that allowed older power plants run without emissions controls, and improved safety requirements at the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station and the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.2

Internship program[edit]

Public Citizen Texas has hosted over 340 interns since its founding. They are given challenging research tasks and often are given the opportunity to speak at to government officials and other reform groups and draft proposed legislation.2

Other organizations[edit]

Public Citizen Texas is associated with other organization including: Public Citizen, the SEED Coalition, Texans for Public Justice, the Sierra Club, ReEnergize Texas, the Gray Panthers, Clean Water Action, Nuke Free Texas and Coal Block.2

Notes[edit]

  • [1] Official website
  • Caraway, Jennifer. Public Citizen Turns 20. Texas Public Citizen News. August 2004
  • Guldin, Public Citizen Celebrates 20 Years in Texas. Texas Public Citizen News Sept. 2004