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

Senate Passes Bill to Help Texans Conserve Water on their Lawns

AUSTIN - Today the Texas Senate passed SB 198 (Watson), to prevent homeowners associations from prohibiting use of native grasses, or xeriscapes, as landscaping.

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Report to discuss ways of saving water

A state environmental group is gearing up to announce the results of a report on the future of Texas's water supply.

The Environment Texas Research and Poliey Center will release a new report Tuesday which calculates the potential for water conservation to meet the state's growing water needs.

The report comes as the state legislature ponders the future of Texas's water needs and is considering implementing a bill that affects water usage for the next 50 years.

The report also comes on the heels of a federal court decision ordering the state to leave more water in the Guadalupe River to support endangered whooping cranes, a move that carries potential statewide implications.

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It's time to consider long-term costs of fracking

All the hype by the fossil fuel industry about energy independence from fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in tight gas reservoirs like the Barnett Shale has left out the costs in energy, water and other essential natural resources.

Is this expensive, water consuming high-tech, low-energy-return extraction of fossil fuel from shale worth the loss of farm land, forests and wildlife habitat? "Fracking converts rural and natural areas into industrial zones, replacing forests and farm land with well pads, roads, pipelines and other infrastructure, and damaging precious natural resources," according to a 2012 report by Environment Texas titled "The Cost of Fracking: The Price Tag of Dirty Drilling's Environmental Damage." Do we want to pay for the infrastructure damage that the building of these wells will cause? According to the Environment Texas report, "the truck traffic needed to deliver water to a single fracking well causes as much damage to local roads as nearly 3.5 million car trips. The state of Texas has approved $40 million in funding for road repairs in the Barnett Shale region."

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Solar energy: The high cost of future savings

North Texas businesses are hungry for a reason to go solar.

Local commercial solar projects range from small ones, like Franconia Brewing Co.’s 20 kilowatt system in McKinney, to behemoth systems, like IKEA’s 912 kilowatt system in Frisco. Even the City of Dallas is exploring installing solar panels on the Dallas Convention Center, libraries, fire stations and other buildings.

Austin and San Antonio have installed four times more solar power capacity than the rest of the state combined, according to Environment Texas Research & Policy Center.

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Texas House committee approves $2B water fund

Lawmakers took the first step Thursday to setting up a $2 billion fund to finance water projects across the state.

Members of the House Natural Resources Committee approved a plan that would take the money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and create the State Water Infrastructure Fund of Texas, intended to leverage bond financing for new reservoirs, pipelines, desalination plants and conservation projects.

The Nature Conservancy, which creates preserves from private land, praised the measure, calling it “a monumental shift” for the state’s future. But a grass-roots group called Environment Texas said House Bill 4 did not dedicate enough money to conservation and would finance some potentially destructive projects.

“On the one hand, the bill would support a major boost in funding for water conservation and re-use. On the other, the bill directs 80 percent of the funding toward projects that can harm our rivers, streams and climate,” Luke Metzger, the group’s director, said.

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