AUSTIN - Environment Texas announced today the endorsement of a bi-partisan group of 14 state legislators, as well as candidates for the Railroad Commission and State Board of Education.
“These legislators have a strong track record of fighting for clean air and water for Texans and for the protection of our parks and open space,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “We need to return them to the Capitol to make Texas a greener and healthier place for all.”
Rep. Rafael Anchia (D) - Chairman Anchia is the Legislature’s biggest champion for climate action and authored successful legislation last year to fight natural gas accidents.
Rep. Erin Zwiener (D) - Rep. Zwiener is a member of the House Environmental Regulation committee, where she was brilliant and tough last session. She was the author of a number of environmental bills, including to make sure polluters pay for breaking the law.
Rep. James Talarico (D) - Rep. Talarico is passionate about children’s health and authored legislation to get toxic lead out of the drinking water in schools.
Rep. John Cyrier (R) - Chairman Cyrier is the Legislature’s biggest champion for parks and wildlife. He successfully authored legislation to amend the Texas constitution to guarantee that sales taxes on sporting goods be used to fund state parks and historic sites.
Rep. Michelle Beckley (D) - Rep. Beckley authored legislation to promote planting of bee-friendly landscaping along state highways.
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D) - Rep. Gonzalez authored legislation to study threats facing bees and other pollinators from pesticides and other sources.
Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D) - Rep. Hinojosa filed legislation to allow cities to ban single use plastics and has spent the interim developing a state response to the climate crisis.
Rep. Ed Thompson (R ) - A member of the House Environmental Regulations committee, Rep. Thompson has helped shine a light on lax enforcement by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He is one of the biggest advocates in the Legislature to better regulate landfills and to promote recycling.
Rep. Celia Israel (D) - Rep. Israel has filed numerous bills to promote public transportation.
Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D) - Chairman Lucio is one of the Legislature’s biggest champions for water conservation, securing state funding to reduce water waste. Last session he also authored bills to study the use of green infrastructure and to require safety valves on oil and gas wells.
Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D) - A member of the House Energy Resources committee, Rep. Rosenthal has called on the Railroad Commission to end routine flaring of natural gas. He has also filed legislation to make sure impacts to public health are factored into major highway project planning and to protect aquifers from pipeline pollution.
Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) - A member of the House Environmental Regulations committee, Rep. Reynolds has filed legislation to promote energy efficiency and cut global warming pollution.
Sen. Jose Menendez (D) - Sen. Menendez carried more pro-environment bills than anyone else in the Senate last year, including bills to promote solar power and cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D) - Sen. Zaffirini authored legislation to give cities right to ban plastic bags
In addition to its legislative endorsements, Environment Texas also announced support for Chrysta Castaneda (D) for the Railroad Commission (RRC) and Rebecca Bell-Metereau (D) for State Board of Education (SBOE).
“With oversight over Texas' oil industry, the RRC is the most important state agency most Texans have never heard of,” said Metzger. “With Texas producing 41% of the nation’s oil, the RRC has an incredible opportunity to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The agency is considering steps to rein in the flaring and venting of natural gas. Ms. Castaneda is making the fight against flaring the centerpiece of her campaign, saying “the Railroad Commission's number one job is to prevent waste and protect our natural resources. At this very minute, oil companies are lighting on fire enough energy to power the city of Houston, wasting natural gas and polluting our air. That doesn't make sense.”
In 2014, the State Board of Education approved textbooks promoting climate change denial. In the next few years, the SBOE will start the process of approving new textbooks and we need to make sure it gets the science on climate right. Ms. Bell-Metereau is a committed environmentalist and helped bring recycling and bike paths to San Marcos.
Political ad paid for Environment Texas, a project of Environment America.