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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EPA Seeks to Clarify Federal Water Law

n 2007, when crude oil spilled into Edwards Creek, a seasonally flowing stream in Titus County, the Environmental Protection Agency did not step in to demand a cleanup.

But it wasn’t because it didn’t want to. The agency said at the time that though it believed the federal Clean Water Act gave it jurisdiction over the stream, that authority was too complex to prove.

In an effort to clarify the EPA’s authority in such cases, the federal agency, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, proposed a joint rule last week that would better define the scope of bodies of water protected under the Clean Water Act. If finalized by the federal Office of Management and Budget, the rule change could allow for increased government oversight of smaller bodies of water in Texas and across the nation, including intermittent streams like the one in Titus County.

“These streams flow into our great waterways," said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. "People don’t realize their importance.”

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News Release | Environment Texas

EPA Proposes Biggest Step for Clean Water in a Decade

AUSTIN - Today, in the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave 75% of Texas’ streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.

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Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a citizen advocacy group, also found hope in Colorado’s actions. “Frequently, legislators in this state ask for other models to look to, and Colorado, being a big oil and gas state, is somewhere Texas officials will take seriously," he said.

Neither Metzger nor Marston expects much action in Texas during this election year, when key positions, including governor and energy regulators, are being contested.

In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office and the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment led the process. “I’d love to think we could have the support of the governor in Texas,” Marston said, “but that’s probably a lot less likely than in Colorado.”

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Texas still biggest CO2 emitter but getting better, environmentalists say

“Despite being the largest producer of global warming emissions in the country, the report demonstrates how state and federal policies are working in reducing harmful emissions in Texas,” Rachel Stone, an attorney for Environment Texas, said in an email.

The report was authored by the consumer rights organization Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center.

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Clean Energy Is Cutting Carbon Pollution in Texas

AUSTIN – As public concern about extreme weather ramps up, Texas is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. Clean energy policies, such as Texas’ renewable electricity standard, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. The report, “Moving America Forward,” showed that Texas’ clean energy policies reduced carbon pollution by at least 18.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012. That is comparable to the annual emissions from over 3.7 million cars.

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