The San Antonio Express-News, which is daily reaching new lows in subscriptions for it’s support of liberal viewpoints, makes nary a whimper as newly-minted Mayor Julian Castro quietly goes back on a major campaign promise to lower utility rates by supporting nuclear power:
CPS Energy publicly acknowledged Wednesday morning that it is exploring options shy of a 40 percent investment in two new nuclear reactors after Mayor Julián Castro expressed strong reservations with that option.
“I am not comfortable with the original proposal,” he said at an Express-News editorial board meeting, at which he was joined by CPS CEO Milton Lee and General Manager Steve Bartley. “Some folks feel like this is a done deal, somehow. That is not true, there is nothing done about this deal. CPS is — has already — and is pursuing other options, both within nuclear and outside of nuclear.”
Must be pretty nice to have the newspaper convene an Editorial Board meeting when the mayor wants to make a change in policy. “Managed news”, anyone?
After the mayor laid out his concerns with both the deal and the public process, Lee said the utility was hearing similar apprehensions from the public. And while he acknowledged that the 40 percent option is the utility’s “professional recommendation,” Lee said CPS would continue to talk to its partner, NRG Energy, about other possibilities.
However, the mayor is not content to let the professionals do their jobs. He’s going to micromanage the power utility. Wonderful.
Castro said he would be comfortable if CPS held on to a 20 percent investment, and emphasized that in general, he is comfortable with nuclear power.
“But I don’t want to draw a hard line,” he said.
No kidding. I think we got that. Mister Mayor.
CPS officials also acknowledged that their previous insistence that the 40 percent investment was strategically important, as it would give the company veto power over decisions about the new plants, was now malleable. He said exposure to risk was a concern for NRG as well.
So . . . this could potentially scuttle the deal. Well, that usually happens when you pull a leg out from under a three-legged stool.
Castro said he was uncomfortable with the 40 percent option because it includes the risk of selling that additional energy. He also worries about the opportunity costs that would be lost if the city, which owns CPS, invests such a great amount in nuclear.
Newsflash to mayor Castro: selling power is not a risky proposition. In fact, power companies are required by federal law to buy excess electricity from small producers. And as hot as it is in South Texas, we’ll always need more electricity.
He also expressed concern with the way the public process has been handled by CPS to date.
Let’s blame the power company, then. I.E., a much slicker version of the President’s “It’s not my fault — I inherited this contract from the previous administration.”
Castro’s concerns have prompted him to host his own meeting, scheduled for Monday night in City Council chambers.
Instead of giving its presentation and then allowing everyone to speak, CPS will give a five-minute opening statement before diving into questions they have been given in advance, which Castro said was done so CPS would be prepared to answer every question.
Questions, submitted to the mayor’s office, will come from City Council members, chambers of commerce, community groups and environmental organizations.
What was I saying before about “managed news”? Those pesky Tea Parties have ruined everything!
“This is not a soliloquy or a talking down to,” he said. “This is an engagement with the community. We want folks and the council to substantively get the information they need, and also to believe, at the end of the day — and justifiably believe — that they have had a role in the process.”
Welcome to the velvet-covered iron fist of Mayor Castro, San Antonio. No dissent allowed; no reasonable position that won’t be re-evaluated if a special interest group whines loud enough.
And it’s all Mayor Hardaberger’s fault, whatever it is. Not that we’ll say that out loud.
Where have I heard that before?