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.

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State could pay to open U.S. parks

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a statewide advocate for parks and open spaces, said the federal option to reopen the parks offers a chance to promote the quality-of-life, recreational and economic benefits they offer.

He compared out-of-state visitors coming to the Lone Star State to visit national parks to the family in the 1983 comedy starring Chevy Chase, “National Lampoon's Vacation.”

“It's like the Griswolds driving across country to Walley World, only to find out that it's closed,” Metzger said.

The responsibility to restore park service lies primarily with Congress, he said.

“It would be great if Gov. Perry can identify some funding to re-open Big Bend and other parks, but ultimately this is the responsibility of Congress and the federal government,” Metzger said. “The best thing he can do is to call on Congress to pass a budget that restores funding to our parks.”

Metzger predicted a possible national decline in recreational tourism if the shutdown continues.

“People will decide to go to another country,” he said.

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers

As Texans continue to struggle with extreme drought, a new report shows fracking has already used at least 110 billion gallons of Texas fresh water — enough to fill a third of the entire volume of Lake Travis. The Environment Texas Research & Policy Center report, “Fracking by the Numbers,” is the first of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking in Texas to date.

 

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States. As fracking expands rapidly across the country, there are a growing number of documented cases of drinking water contamination and illness among nearby residents.

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Leadership Void on Clean Energy Filled by Texas Cities

AUSTINToday Environment Texas Research & Policy Center released Texas Torchbearers: Cities Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future, a new report ranking Texas cities for their efforts in clean energy production, energy efficiency, and environmental design. The report found that while Texas was an early leader on clean energy policies in the 90s and early 2000s, the state is today falling behind many others in clean energy. The report finds that Texas cities are stepping up to fill this void, making major advances in clean energy.

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Texas Torchbearers

Due in large part to smart state policies in the late 90s and early 2000s, Texas has become the undisputed national leader in wind power. But in other areas of the “clean-tech industry,”the state of Texas is falling behind. In the most recent Clean Edge report, Texas ranked 22nd in the nation for U.S. leaders of clean tech. Texas cities have stepped in to pick up the slack, making an impact on energy waste reduction and renewable energy production, alternative vehicles, and green buildings. This report analyzes the environmental and energy efforts of the ten largest cities in Texas.

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