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2014 will be big for Texas environment

This is already shaping up to be a big year for Texas’ environment. Decisions are about to be made that will have a major impact on air quality, the Gulf Coast and Texas rivers.

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Environmentalists urge park funding

The League of Conservation Voters and Environment Texas on Thursday said it still wasn't too late to restore the Texas Parks and Wildlife Program that lawmakers cut in 2011.

ocal parks and pools are funded mostly through local sales taxes, but since 1979 Parks and Wildlife has provided cities and counties with $390 million in grants.

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The Lead: Putting Together a Transportation Plan, Building Permits on Hold

Luke Metzger, of Environment Texas, says “now there’s an effort underway to restore that original intent and ensure that all the sales taxes on sporting goods actually go to our state parks.”

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Kuempel co-authors bills to stop raiding of funding for parks

Sales taxes on sporting goods such as bicycles and camping gear bring in $128 million in revenue to Texas every year, said Environment Texas, which advocates for clear air, clean water and open spaces.

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Luke Metzger and David Teel: Texas parks deserve our attention and dollars

The base budget introduced last week increases parks funding, but not enough to prevent closures. Republican Sen. Craig Estes of Wichita Falls and Republican Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio have filed legislation to quit raiding the sporting goods sales tax. Speaker Joe Straus has called for an end to these kinds of fund diversions.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife faces still more budget cuts

"Our parks provide hundreds of millions of dollars in value in cleaning up our air and protecting our water supply," contends the organization's director Luke Metzger.  "If we didn't have our parks, we'd have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on water treatment plants and other remediation projects to protect our environmental quality."

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State parks facing another fiscal challenge

A coalition of park supporters has begun a campaign to pressure lawmakers for additional funding, said Luke Metzer, founder and director of the Environment Texas advocacy organization. "We're going to be knocking on doors, educating the public about the plight of our parks," he said. "Our hope is that the Legislature finally responds and gives the parks more money to prevent any closures."

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Texas Environment 2012: A Year In Review

Luke Metzger is director of Environment Texas.  He says the drought may actually have finally gotten lawmakers to focus on the state's water issues. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst recently floated the idea of using a billion dollars from the rainy day fund to invest in water and infrastructure.