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.

Headline

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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News Release | Environment Texas

Federal Judge Orders Texas to Keep Water in Rivers for Whooping Cranes

AUSTIN - On Mar. 10, a federal judge ruled that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to guarantee sufficient flows of water in the Guadalupe and San Antonio river basins. The court ordered the TCEQ not to approve or grant new water permits affecting the Guadalupe or San Antonio Rivers, “until the state of Texas provides reasonable assurances to the court” that new permits would not result in harm to the whooping cranes

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Headline

LCRA reservoir not on state water projects priority list

A major reservoir project meant to ease the strain on lakes Travis and Buchanan, the major reservoirs of Central Texas, is not among the water projects deemed most worthy for low-interest loans from the state of Texas.

"As we respond to the drought and plan how to meet our water needs in the years to come, we need to pursue a balanced solution that maximizes the efficiency of water use," Luke Metzger, head of Environment Texas, said in a statement, "but the state is giving water conservation just lip service."

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Headline

Water use questioned related to fracking payoff in Texas

In this South Texas stretch of mesquite trees and cactus, where the land is sometimes too dry to grow crops, the local aquifer is being strained in the search for oil. The reason is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling process that requires massive amounts of water.

The industry is “absolutely not doing enough” to reduce water use, said Luke Metzger, the director of the group  Environment Texas.

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Report

Local Parks Grants at Risk at TX Legislature

In 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature suspended funding for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Local Park Grant Programs created

in Chapter 24 Parks and Wildlife Code, that provide matching funds assistance to Texas’ local governments for local

park and recreation acquisition and facility development and outdoor outreach programs. These grants have been

made in the past from dedicated revenues from State sporting goods sales taxes.

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