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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Marvin Nichols Reservoir Plan Gets a Boost

The group Environment Texas also immediately criticized the decision. "This is the water board's first big test since voters entrusted them with billions in new water spending and they are blowing it," the group's director, Luke Metzger, said in a statement. "This project is wasteful, it would destroy a river and pristine forestland, and it has no place in our state's water future." Other environmentalists also believe that the Dallas-Fort Worth region is focusing too much on expensive water projects, rather than conservation measures. 

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Water board backs environmentally destructive reservoir

AUSTIN – The Executive Administrator of the Texas Water Development Board today backed the Marvin Nichols reservoir against the wishes of the northeast communities where it would be built, in a proposed settlement of a dispute between two regional water groups. The proposed water project would wipe out 70,000 acres of rare forest and farmland in order to supply the Dallas/Fort Worth region. TWDB has been ordered by a judge to settle the dispute and today EA Kevin Patteson recommended that the reservoir stay in the State Water Plan. After receiving public comment, the board of TWDB will make a final decision.

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City Of Houston First City In Texas To Use Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds For Energy Efficiency Program

 Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston is expanding its municipal energy efficiency program to retrofit libraries and other City of Houston facilities. 

“Too much energy is wasted through poor insulation, leaky windows, inefficient lighting, heating or cooling systems, and poor construction techniques,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We applaud Houston’s innovation in making city buildings more efficient, an important step toward solving our energy problems, reducing pollution and saving the city money.”

 

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Fed Up With Government, Environmentalists Sue Companies

In Texas, frustration from environmental groups stems from what they say is inaction on the federal and state level. Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said the group decided to sue ExxonMobil after “years and years” of asking the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to take action. “Going through the courts is our best option. It’s kind of our last option,” Metzger said. The trial for that case began in Houston this month and is continuing.

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Central Texans have reason to be concerned about fracking

In November, two drilling companies announced plans to drill twelve wells in Bastrop and Lee counties to frack for oil and gas. From its beginning a decade ago in the Barnett Shale of North Texas, hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling, i.e. fracking, has mushroomed to tens of thousands of wells nationwide. According to the Texas Economic Development Council, Texas is today home to half of the drilling rigs in the country and a quarter of the rigs in the world, including some right here at our doorstep in Austin.

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