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

After Proposition 6 what comes next?

While Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to create a new fund for the development of water projects, don't expect to see an explosion of construction for quite some time.

First, state and regional water planners need to work out the details of how they will rank the proposed ventures and to finalize other rules. Financial assistance is not expected to start until March 2015.

Proposition 6, which voters supported Nov. 5 by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, creates a revolving loan account using $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund. The money, which could be leveraged to provide $27 billion in assistance over the next 50 years, will help pay for infrastructure and conservation initiatives to bolster the drought-ridden state's water supplies.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said his organization will be lobbying the regional water planning groups to prioritize conservation projects in their areas and the state board to consider the environmental impact of proposed projects in its rankings.

“Conservation, if we do it first, helps us avoid hugely expensive projects that we might not need down the road,” Metzger said.

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Blog Post

Texans Speak to EPA In Favor Of Climate Action

Yesterday was the first of many big days in the fight to get federal action on climate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a Listening Session in Dallas to take public comment on the EPA’s upcoming regulations to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants. I headed up to the J. Erik Jonnson Library in Dallas along with our coalition partners from Sierra Club and Public Citizen to help shuttle in citizens from all over Texas and Oklahoma to the hearing to make sure citizen voices were heard.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas voters approve $172 million in parks and recreation bonds

AUSTIN – Voters in 10 Texas cities and counties on Tuesday approved a total of $172 million in bonds to support local parks and recreation facilities, according to an analysis by Environment Texas. The group pointed to the elections as evidence of strong public support for parks funding and called on the state of Texas to do more to help local and state parks.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas Ranks 33rd in Nation for Energy Efficiency

AUSTIN – As the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas consider a proposal to raise electric rates to pay for new power plants, a new report finds Texas is far behind other states in adopting policies to cut energy waste and promote more efficient use of electricity. Environment Texas called on the state to maximize energy efficiency and avoid schemes to subsidize dirty power plants.

The report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks Texas 33nd for programs to promote energy efficiency. The report finds that “Texas realizes low levels of electrical savings and does not focus on natural gas efficiency,” hasn’t adopted the latest building efficiency standards, and has played little role in policies to encourage energy-efficient transportation.

“This unimpressive ranking does more than just hurt state pride. It points to a wasteful reliance on fossil fuels which contribute to air pollution and global warming and cost Texas families and businesses more and more each year,” said Rachel Stone, Clean Energy Attorney with Environment Texas.

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Headline

Votes cast in 1st Election Day under ID law

“We’re thrilled that Texas voters have chosen to invest in Texas’ water future,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a statewide advocacy group. “Texas is in a water crisis, caused by drought and made worse by wasteful water use.”

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