Wasting taxpayer money

The Waco city manager recently authorized a $42,000 contract for energy planning services between the City of Waco and Shaw Engineering LLC, owned by Bryan Shaw, Ph.D., P.E. Dr. Shaw’s educational background is in agricultural engineering. He spent time as an associate professor at Texas A&M teaching courses in air pollution and was appointed chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2009. He founded Shaw Engineering in October 2018 after abruptly retiring from the TCEQ that August.

In addition to lacking the appropriate background and experience to perform municipal energy planning services, Dr. Shaw has a history of expressing opinions contrary to the conclusions of the global scientific community on climate change. These scientific sources state that the level of climate change being experienced globally is predominantly a result of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions and that immediate action in all sectors is necessary to mitigate further environmental and economic impacts.

It appears Shaw’s opinions on climate change have not changed. City staff arranged for Dr. Shaw to present on the topic of energy planning during the March 19 City Council meeting. Ostensibly Shaw was to provide council members with information to make well-informed decisions regarding municipal energy planning. Instead, he continued to repeat misinformation about climate change and made inaccurate assertions that renewable energy, such as wind and solar, are not developed and economically feasible technologies.

Shaw failed to present relevant information concerning sources of energy for municipal operations, including cost analyses and market data. He failed to present City Council with concise, complete information about the Texas energy market and options available with respect to renewables. He failed to mention that power-purchase agreements which include a higher percentage of renewables could actually cost taxpayers less.

It is disappointing that taxpayer money is being used to fund services from someone who does not possess the necessary qualifications and background in municipal energy planning or climate science to provide information the city needs to make informed decisions. Given that the city has an existing separate contract with another entity for energy consulting services, this is a huge waste of $42,000.

Sarah Brockhaus, Waco

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Brockhaus is a City of Waco Sustainable Resource Practices Advisory Board member.

Nothing honorable

Having read the Mueller Report (bought it on Amazon for 10 bucks), having watched Barr’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and learning that he refuses to meet with the House Judiciary Committee, I wonder why the nameplate in front of Barr had the designation of “Hon.” There really is none.

Cal Slonaker, Waco