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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Water bank will go to voters in the fall

A bill, House Bill 4, that is providing $2 billion in loan money for Texas water projects got the governor's signature Tuesday, meaning that voters will decide in the fall whether to create the water project bank.

"The drought has underscored that we can't continue with business as usual, and HB 4 wisely makes a big increase in conservation as a strategy toward meeting Texas' water needs," a release from Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger states.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas House passes major water legislation

AUSTIN – By a vote of 141 to 4, the Texas House today gave final approval to legislation which more than doubles the state’s investment in water conservation and creates a new water infrastructure fund to provide state financing to reservoir, pipeline and conservation projects. Once the Senate approves the conference report to HB 4, the bill will finally head to the Governor’s desk. The bill directs that 20 percent of the funding go towards water conservation measures and another 10 percent go towards rural projects, for which agricultural water conservation projects also qualify. The 2012 State Water Plan calls for just 11 percent of state funding to go towards conservation, but with the passage of HB 4, as much as 30 percent of the funding will now be directed to water-saving measures.  

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News Release | Environment Texas

Progress made on water conservation, Budget funds local parks

AUSTIN – In a series of promising developments for the environment, important progress was made today in the Legislature for Texas parks and rivers. First, the House Appropriations committee approved a constitutional amendment to authorize $2 billion in spending in water infrastructure. If conservation targets in companion legislation HB4 are maintained, the combination of actions would result in a historic investment in water conservation. Second, the House approved a bill to prevent homeowners associations from blocking members from planting of drought-tolerant landscaping. Finally, the budget conference committee restored $15.5 million to the local parks grant program.

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Energy regulator dodges ethics reform, will keep agency name

For the second session in a row, efforts to revamp the state agency in charge of regulating oil and gas producers have died in the Texas Legislature.
Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said this year's failure was a surprise.

 
"Along with passing the budget, reauthorizing state agencies is one of the fundamental things the Legislature is supposed to do," he said. "They had already failed to do it last session. You would think they would have worked out the problems."

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Commission refuses to be derailed

For the second session in a row, efforts to revamp the state agency in charge of regulating oil and gas producers have died in the Texas Legislature.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said this year's failure was a surprise.

"Along with passing the budget, reauthorizing state agencies is one of the fundamental things the Legislature is supposed to do," he said. "They had already failed to do it last session. You would think they would have worked out the problems."

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