The first meeting of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for CPS Energy’s Habitat Conservation Plan (CACHCP) met Feb. 17 to begin the process of creating a plan to accommodate endangered species while also meeting the community’s growing demand for power over the next 30 years.
CPS Energy is developing the plan because after substantial delays on a previous project, the utility determined the most efficient and responsible approach to growth while respecting the environment and endangered species would be to develop a habitat conservation plan.
The seven-person committee, made up of CPS Energy customers, gathered at the San Antonio Public Library with a group of CPS Energy staff and environmental consultants.
“The plan is in its infancy,” said consultant Jenna Cantwell, one of several representatives of SWCA Environmental Consultants, a 30-year-old Phoenix-based consulting firm that specializes in such issues and has offices in San Antonio and Austin. SWCA has been contracted to oversee development of the complex, multi-year project.
The committee heard about the basics of open meetings act requirements and guidelines, then received an Endangered Species 101 tutorial from Amanda Aurora, an expert on endangered species in Texas and SWCA staffer. The agenda included discussion of the committee’s charge and the appointment of a Biological Advisory Team (BAT). No action items were taken.
The seven-member committee includes Charles “Frosty” Forster, Michael Moore, Chester Rackley, Klaus Weissmann, Ian Cude, Ram Khatti and Chris Holm.
The meeting is the first of at least four that will take place as CPS Energy accepts input from the community and the soon-to-be appointed biological team.
Together, the CACHCP, the BAT, the consulting team and CPS Energy staff will assemble a draft of a plan that will propose ways the utility can accommodate endangered species in the service territory while providing electricity and gas service to San Antonio’s growing community.
“We look forward to working with the community to develop the best plan for endangered species, the environment and the community,” said Kim Stoker, CPS Energy Director of Environmental & Sustainability.
Another meeting of the CAC will take place in the next two to four weeks.