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

Environment Texas Congratulates New Water Board Members, Urges Action for Conservation

AUSTIN – Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger congratulated the new members of the Texas Water Development Board today as the new board prepared to meet for the first time. He released the following statement:

“The new board needs to dive right in to solving Texas’ water problems, but with water levels low, they need to proceed with caution. This drought has drawn attention to Texas’ wasteful use of water and we can’t continue with business as usual. This board has an unprecedented opportunity to shift Texas toward a more sustainable path that cuts water waste, maximizes conservation and leaves sufficient water in our rivers for wildlife and recreation. The law requires the water board to set aside at least 20 percent of water funding for conservation. They need to get started right away in developing programs to help farmers, businesses, and cities conserve water and meet and exceed this minimum standard.”

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Water Crisis

A 21st-century Texas variation of the old saw "whiskey's for drinkin', water's for fightin' about" might go something like this: "Gas is for gettin' rich, water's for fightin' about."

With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, igniting a natural gas boom in Texas and elsewhere, we're only now paying sufficient attention to the massive amounts of water the drilling process requires. With some 30 Texas communities in danger of going dry before the end of the year, it's becoming more difficult to ignore the fact that the fracking boom, however welcome, comes at a high cost. It is a powerful drain on local water supplies.

Texas shale producers used about 25 billion gallons of water last year, and with more and more drilling in the Eagle Ford Formation, that figure will continue to grow. In some West Texas and South Texas counties - almost invariably drought-stricken counties - fracking accounts for 10 to 25 percent of water use and is projected to pass 50 percent in the future. Every month, oil and gas companies dispose of 290 million barrels of wastewater from fracking. That's the equivalent of 18,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, Luke Metzger of Environment Texas points out. That's water that can never be used again - in a drought-debilitated state, no less.

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News Release | Environment Texas

New Report: Texas Ranks 13th in the Nation for Solar Power

AUSTIN - Today, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center released Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States, a new report highlighting the “Dazzling Dozen” states leading the solar energy boom across the country. Texas, however, missed the cut and ranks thirteenth in the nation for per capita solar installations. 

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Lighting the Way

Solar energy is on the rise. America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. In the first three months of 2013, solar power accounted for nearly half of the new electricity generating capacity in the United States. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and each year tens of thousands of additional Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

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News Release | Environment Texas

House Subcommittee Guts Parks, Clean Water, and Climate Protections

DALLAS – This morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies moved to slash the FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations budget by 18 percent. 

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