AUSTIN - As President Trump and Congressional Republicans work to cut funding to and weaken programs that Texas depends on for clean energy development and a safe environment, Congressman Doggett and local environmental leaders gathered at the Zilker Botanical Gardens to stress those federal actions will harm environmental quality in central Texas.
“The Trump administration has shown its true colors, and they don’t include green,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett. “With Trump’s budget proposal—which, like the health repeal bill, can only be described as ‘mean’—this administration is sending a clear message that clean air, clean water, and clean energy are no longer a priority. With the polluters in power, dirty energy and denial are winning the day in Washington. Last month the focus was on accessible health care, next month the big battle will be over the Trump budget including another big health issue—our environment. That’s why we need people in each community to push back harder than ever. The leadership shown by Austin and other cities around the country, as well as the important advocacy of Environment Texas, will help us to preserve our hard-won environmental gains.”
“President Trump has done virtually nothing in his first six months to improve the quality of our environment,” said Daniel Weiser, Campaign Director with Environment Texas. “On the contrary, he and his allies in Congress have taken numerous actions that will threaten Texas’ air, water and land. This puts him at odds with the environment, public health, and the will of the people.”
The group pointed to a long list of regulatory rollbacks and budget cuts that could harm Texas’ environment, including withdrawal of the Paris Climate Accord, efforts to delay, weaken or eliminate standards for clean air and clean water, and a proposed budget that cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by almost one-third.
"The administration’s delays and attempted delays of rules controlling emissions from Coal fired power plants not only stymie efforts to address climate change, the delays also have real world consequences for public health, particularly children and others who are especially vulnerable to ground level ozone, carbon particulate, mercury and other pollutants - an intolerable and inhumane consequence of doing the bidding of polluters who care far more about saving dying industries than public health and technological progress," said Reggie James, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Last week, the US House of Representatives followed the President’s lead approving an energy and water spending bill that slashes $1 billion from energy efficiency programs and squanders $120 million on an old, failed plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The so-called “mini-bus” spending bill also includes policy riders to facilitate rollback of the Clean Water Rule, bar development of any rule related to the social cost of carbon, and block the enforcement of rules to phase out the sale of incandescent light bulbs to cut power use.
House lawmakers are also phasing out a DOE program, ARPA-E, which funded multiple projects at the University of Texas at Austin. These projects included break-through research on thermal batteries for electric vehicles and energy efficient window coatings- both programs would help consumers have lower energy costs while helping mitigate environmental impacts of dirtier energy practices.
“Trump’s proposed budget reveals the administration is more concerned with politics than keeping the lights on,” said Kate Zerrenner, Senior Manager, Energy-Water Initiatives, Clean Energy Program at the Environmental Defense Fund. “If they really wanted to make power affordable and reliable, they would invest in low-carbon, low-water resources like wind, solar, and energy efficiency, not slash the programs that are cutting costs and pollution.
Environment Texas also presented Representative Doggett with an award for being a leading opponent of efforts to roll back environmental protection.
“Representative Lloyd Doggett is at the top of the class when it comes to keeping our air and water clean, protecting our special places, and ensuring a healthy climate,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “That’s why we are proud to present him with our Environmental Champion Award.”