Conservation America

National parks are places of curiosity and awe. If you’ve ever been to one, surely you’ll agree we need to keep protecting these treasures.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of America’s best ideas: the National Park Service, which manages everything from the iconic Grand Canyon to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Credit: Grand Canyon National Park via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

America’s national parks should be protected, not shortchanged

Our parks, forests and public lands are a big part of what makes this country so great. They’re where we go to spend time outdoors with our families and friends, to hike, bike, fish and see wild animals.

Credit: Grand Canyon National Park via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Yet instead of helping to protect and preserve our parks and other special places for our kids and future generations, some leaders in Congress have other ideas.

Some members of Congress are exerting their influence to convince the administration to mine for uranium right outside the Grand Canyon and drill for oil and gas near the Everglades.

Credit: ENERGY.GOV via Flickr, Public Domain

Mining and drilling are both wildly polluting, and would threaten the wildlife that call the Grand Canyon and the Everglades home — and they go against the very idea of protecting our most special places.

While it’s bad enough our parks are under threat and getting shortchanged on funding, some in Congress are actually trying to sell off our parks to the highest bidder.

Together, we can protect the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and other national parks for generations to come, so that our children can experience the same wonder that we have.

Credit: Mike Peters/Shutterstock

A legacy we can all be proud of                                                                      

We are banding together to stop these threats so that on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, we can make a commitment to preserve these special places for kids growing up today.

Your support makes it possible for our staff to conduct research, make our case to the media, reach out to critical constituencies, and persuade our leaders to make the right choices.

Credit: fredlyfish4 via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Issue updates

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Southwest Austin Growth Sparks Environmental Concerns

"The reason it hadn’t been largely developed before is because it’s a really special area, the gateway to the Hill Country and it overlies the Edwards aquifer, the drinking supply for over a million Central Texans," Luke Metzger with Environment Texas said. "There’s increasing development pressure over Southwest Austin and the Hill Country. That can come with significant impact to the water aquifer."

"We, of course, are in a record drought. We need to keep every drop of water we have and keep it clean, and the more that we’re developing over an important water source, that puts the water supply at risk," Metzger said.

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Water Development Board Orders Study of Environmental Impacts of Marvin Nichols Reservoir | Luke Metzger

In a blow to proponents of the controversial Marvin Nichols reservoir, this morning the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) voted 2-1 to direct the DFW regional water group to do a quantitative analysis of the impacts to agriculture and natural resources if the reservoir was built. TWDB Chairman Carlos Rubinstein said that the Region C water group had failed to include such an analysis in their regional plan and that it now must do so by Nov. 3. TWDB has been ordered by a state court to resolve a conflict in the State Water Plan that includes the reservoir in the Region C plan, but explicit opposition to Marvin Nichols in the Region D (where it would be built) plan. TWDB Director Jackson joined with Rubinstein in the voted, with Director Bruun voting no. Bruun said he supported keeping the reservoir in the plan. 

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South Texas economic hopes hitched to SpaceX

Noise pollution and contamination from the chemicals sprayed during rocket launches are among the issues to consider, Metzger said. Ocelots, a threatened leopard species, face the greatest risks, he said. The animals are already vulnerable to being run over by cars, and the heavy traffic of site construction would pose an even greater threat to the spotted felines.

“An area surrounded by state parks is not appropriate for industrial activity,” Metzger said. “When Texas has such little public land — less than 5 percent is publicly protected as state parks — we need to be taking the best care of the parks we do have.”

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Area State Representative Backing Away From Fight Against Plastic Bag Ordinances

Rachel Stone, an attorney at the Austin-based Environment Texas, said the organization is thrilled the Alamo City is considering the ban. “Environment Texas applauds Councilman Medina for taking leadership on these important issues,” Stone said in a statement. “San Antonio made a commitment to take strides towards a more sustainable future, and it is exciting to see the city forging ahead on that path.”

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said he is glad Springer is giving up the bag ban fight. “I think it’s great,” Metzger said. “We think cities should have the right to decide what is best for them, and plastic bags have become a major problem … they are polluting our rivers, creating blight in neighborhoods and it costs the taxpayers to keep their communities clean.”

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After Proposition 6 what comes next?

While Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to create a new fund for the development of water projects, don't expect to see an explosion of construction for quite some time.

First, state and regional water planners need to work out the details of how they will rank the proposed ventures and to finalize other rules. Financial assistance is not expected to start until March 2015.

Proposition 6, which voters supported Nov. 5 by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, creates a revolving loan account using $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund. The money, which could be leveraged to provide $27 billion in assistance over the next 50 years, will help pay for infrastructure and conservation initiatives to bolster the drought-ridden state's water supplies.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said his organization will be lobbying the regional water planning groups to prioritize conservation projects in their areas and the state board to consider the environmental impact of proposed projects in its rankings.

“Conservation, if we do it first, helps us avoid hugely expensive projects that we might not need down the road,” Metzger said.

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