Updates

We stopped 20 state parks from closing

After devastating budget cuts in 2011, this spring, the Legislature restored funding for state and local parks. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had warned that 20 state parks would have to close without additional funds. But after a public outcry—including thousands of petition signatures from Environment Texas members—the Legislature boosted funding by $62 million. That's enough to keep all our state parks open, make critical repairs, replant trees destroyed by wildfire at Bastrop State Park, and to give grants to cities to build new parks, ball fields and playgrounds.

Headline

Tougher standards on air emissions draw debate in Houston

The EPA is considering forcing plants and refineries to cut the amount of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants released into the air by thousands of tons a year.

"It's critical federal regulations be far stricter across the board," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.

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Headline

State Water Fund rules a big deal

As TWDB develops the rules and priorities for use of the new water funds, it's critical that they pursue a balanced solution that improves the efficiency of water use and leaves more water in our rivers and aquifers to support the ecosystems that depend on water.

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Blog Post

Water Development Board Orders Study of Environmental Impacts of Marvin Nichols Reservoir | Luke Metzger

In a blow to proponents of the controversial Marvin Nichols reservoir, this morning the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) voted 2-1 to direct the DFW regional water group to do a quantitative analysis of the impacts to agriculture and natural resources if the reservoir was built. TWDB Chairman Carlos Rubinstein said that the Region C water group had failed to include such an analysis in their regional plan and that it now must do so by Nov. 3. TWDB has been ordered by a state court to resolve a conflict in the State Water Plan that includes the reservoir in the Region C plan, but explicit opposition to Marvin Nichols in the Region D (where it would be built) plan. TWDB Director Jackson joined with Rubinstein in the voted, with Director Bruun voting no. Bruun said he supported keeping the reservoir in the plan. 

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Blog Post

EPA proposes new rules to cut refinery pollution | Luke Metzger

The Environment Protection Agency has just released a plan to protect fenceline communities from toxic oil refinery pollution, which includes long overdue health standards and expanded air monitoring. If adopted, EPA estimates the new standards would cut 5,600 tons of harmful chemicals from the air each year.

On Tuesday, EPA held a hearing in Galena Park, TX (outside Houston) to solicit public comment on the proposed rule. Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger attended the hearing and delivered the following testimony:

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News Release | Environment Texas Research & Policy Center

Solar capacity in Texas grew 45% in 2013

Environment Texas Research & Policy Center released Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States That Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013, a new report which documents strong solar growth across the nation, including a 45% increase in Texas in 2013.   The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun. 

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