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.

News Release | Environment Texas

Weekend Flooding Consistent with Scientific Predictions for Global Warming

AUSTIN— A massive downpour in Austin this weekend that led to significant flooding and cancellation of the Austin City Limits festival is consistent with scientific predictions of global warming, said Austin non-profit Environment Texas. The group pointed to their 2012 report confirming that extreme rainstorms are happening 29 percent more frequently in Texas since 1948.

“As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours. Global warming is creating a new boom and bust cycle, with severe drought interrupted by heavier extreme rainstorms,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today.”

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Environmental groups split on Proposition 6 water bonds

The proposed $2 billion water infrastructure fund that goes before Texas voters on Nov. 5 could provide an unprecedented opportunity by the state to invest in water conservation. Or it could be weak tea.

Those are the views of Texas environmental leaders, who differ over a provision in the water legislation that calls for 20 percent of the money to go toward water conservation projects, such as fixing leaky pipelines or installing infrastructure for the reuse of wastewater for irrigation.

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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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