What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 143,421 miles in Texas, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment Texas, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

News Release

Statement of Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger on SB 12 (Averitt)

STATEMENT: Today is a good day for the breathers of Texas. We applaud Senator Averitt for his leadership in bringing blue skies back to Texas. Air pollution has been making Texas families sick for too long and SB 12 is a critical step to making our air safe to breathe again. We need to get some of the dirtiest cars and trucks off Texas roads and it’s time the Legislature appropriate the money that was intended for just that purpose. By requiring greater energy efficiency, SB 12 will also reduce pollution from the electricity sector.

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News Release

Pollution Blamed for Global Warming in Authoritative Scientific Report

The world’s scientists are more than 90% certain that human activity – primarily burning fossil fuels to power cars, power plants, and factories – is responsible for most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century, according to a consensus report released early this morning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body charged with assessing the scientific record on global warming.

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News Release

President to Offer Lofty Goals with Dirty Details on Energy and Global Warming

In his State of the Union address tonight, President Bush will offer plenty of lofty goals on energy, but the devil is in the details. With loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through, his plan fails to guarantee that car makers will do their share to break our dependence on oil, and could actually increase global warming pollution.

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News Release

Congress Tops Off First 100 Hours by Passing Clean Energy Act

Today the House of Representatives voted 264 to 163 to pass “The C.L.E.A.N. Energy Act of 2007,” (H.R. 6) which would close some tax loopholes for big oil companies, and recover royalties from oil and gas produced in public waters.  H.R. 6 will shift more than $14 billion from these subsidies to investments in clean energy, such as energy efficient technologies and renewable power.  The bill was the last of the six bills brought up for consideration during the House’s first 100 legislative hours.

> Keep Reading
News Release

Congress Tops Off First 100 Hours by Passing Clean Energy Act

Today the House of Representatives voted 264 to 163 to pass “The C.L.E.A.N. Energy Act of 2007,” (H.R. 6) which would close some tax loopholes for big oil companies, and recover royalties from oil and gas produced in public waters.  H.R. 6 will shift more than $14 billion from these subsidies to investments in clean energy, such as energy efficient technologies and renewable power.  The bill was the last of the six bills brought up for consideration during the House’s first 100 legislative hours.

> Keep Reading

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