Energy, Environmental Experts Discuss Clean Power Plan at UH

The University of Houston’s annual energy symposium series will begin Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a panel discussion on the benefits, criticism and legal conflicts surrounding the Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan in 2014 as one step in fighting climate change; the final version was released in 2015, but it has faced stiff opposition. Texas is among 27 states fighting the rules, which call for states to cut carbon emissions from electricity generating plants by 30 percent by 2030. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed earlier this year to put the plan on hold.

Power plants accounted for 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, the largest single source, and reducing those emissions will require increased plant efficiency, as well as switching from coal-fired plants to those powered by natural gas and renewable energy. Opponents say that would drive up the cost of electricity. The use of natural gas has grown dramatically even without the rules, largely because it is currently less expensive.

The popular symposium series began in 2013 and has become one of the best-known speaker series on campus, drawing national experts on a variety of critical issues in energy. In addition to the Clean Power Plan, topics to be addressed this year include shale development in Texas, Nov. 29; the future of nuclear power, Feb. 15; and energy storage, March 30.

A video introducing the topic is on the UH Energy website, and the symposium will be livestreamed.

Panelists include Al Armendariz, deputy regional director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and former EPA regional administrator for the south central region; Jeffrey R. Holmstead, a partner focused on environmental and natural resource law at Bracewell LLP and former assistant administrator for air and radiation at the EPA; Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, and Mark L. Walters, senior counsel for Jackson Walker, LLP and former attorney for the Environmental Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Tracy Hester, who teaches environmental and emerging technology law at the UH Law Center, will serve as moderator.


WHAT:                          “The Clean Power Plan: To Be or Not to Be,” opening debate in the 2016-17 Energy

                                        Symposium Series at the University of Houston

WHEN:                         5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. Register here.

WHERE:                       UH Student Center South, Houston Room. 4455 University Drive (Entrance 1)


MEDIA CONTACT:     Jeannie Kever,, 713-743-0778, m – 713-504-2769