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Top Morning Stories September 23, 2011

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Photo courtesy of Austin Energy.
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The Austin City Council Thursday approved a third new wind power contract.

More Wind to Power Austin

The Austin City Council has approved another wind power contract. This one is a 25-year agreement for 200 megawatts of coastal wind power from a project in Kenedy County, Texas. Power won't be flowing till the end of next year.

The city says the purchase will bring Austin Energy's renewable energy portfolio to about 30 percent. Wind power advocates say coastal wind power is attractive because winds along the coast blow at peak energy demand times, unlike winds from West Texas which tend to blow at night- when electricity demand is lower.

Statesman: Homeless Man Won't be Prosecuted for Oak Hill Fire

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting Travis County prosecutors today will dismiss the case against a homeless man arrested and charged with starting the Oak Hill wildfire in April. The fire destroyed 11 homes and damaged 10 others.

Assistant District Attorney Buddy Meyer said Thursday that prosecutors have spent several months consulting with fire experts and firefighters who fought the blaze and deemed the case against Michael Bernard Weathers, 60, too weak to take to court. "The subsequent investigation by the district attorney's office revealed that there are other possible sources, and the evidence is clearly insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. 

Rick Perry Fights Back in 3rd GOP Debate

Texas Governor Rick Perry came out on the offensive in last night's GOP presidential debate in Orlando. It was an attempt to rebound from a shaky debate performance last week. Gov. Perry remained the top target of his fellow presidential hopefuls - but as KUT's Ben Philpott reports, Perry seemed more prepared for the criticism.

The governor delivered his strongest defenses to date for two topics that have been nagging him on the campaign trail. When his main GOP opponent former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney labeled Perry soft on immigration – he talked about the millions he’s spent on border security – and held firm to his support of a Texas law that provides in-state tuition for some children of illegal immigrants. “If you say that we should not education children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own – I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said .

You can hear KUT's entire report on the Orlando debate here.