Environment Texas Research and Policy Center Latest Blog Posts

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Today, seven of Texas' leading air quality advocates wrote the EPA in opposition to the Texas state toxicologist serving on a key federal clean air panel. The group charges Dr. Michael Honeycutt with “an appearance of a loss of impartiality,” disqualifying him from serving on the EPA's Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC). CASAC plays a powerful role in setting science-based federal policy on air quality.

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Every semester, we recruit and train college students to learn the skills of environmental advocacy and work alongside our staff to win real results for Texas' air, land and water. We've got a great group working with us this summer - read all about them below!

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

At Environment Texas, our legal interns can put their ideals front and center. From minimizing the damage done to our communities from oil and gas drilling to advocating for more wind and solar energy, protecting Texas’ state and local parks to keeping our air clean and healthy, Environment Texas’ legal interns work with a team of experienced advocates and organizers to create social and political change that protects the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Cleaning up the air in Texas is a priority for Environment Texas, whose thousands of members and activists are threatened by ozone pollution. It’s also important to me personally as a dad. My son, Gus, will turn 9 this year, and as a dad, I want to do everything I can to make sure he’s able to play outside without harming his health. Unfortunately, two of our biggest cities - Houston and Dallas - rank in the top 10 worst cities in the country for ozone. 21 of our 30 biggest counties got Fs in the American Lung Association’s State of The Air report. And my hometown of Austin routinely experiences levels of smog pollution that the current scientific consensus concludes is dangerous to the health of my son Gus and millions of other Texans.

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Dear Administrator McCarthy and Assistant Secretary Darcy,

We support the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers proposed Definition of “Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act” to clarify which streams, wetlands and other waters are covered by Clean Water Act protections, Wetlands and small streams, including those that flow only seasonally, have a direct impact on the health and quality of larger streams and rivers downstream. These resources are critical drinking water sources, and they protect communities from flooding and filter pollutants.

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

Providing further evidence that Austin is becoming a “National Leader in Solar Energy,” local universities, communities, and businesses have been inspired to invest in solar energy. The economic, health, and environmental benefits of solar energy are becoming more and more apparent throughout the city, gaining support from both politicians and constituents. Over 20 city council candidates openly support solar energy, in addition to many more who have expressed their support for renewable energy. Some notable advocates who have not only vocally supported solar energy, but have taken action include Huston-Tillotson University and Austin Energy.

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

The Environment Protection Agency has just released a plan to protect fenceline communities from toxic oil refinery pollution, which includes long overdue health standards and expanded air monitoring. If adopted, EPA estimates the new standards would cut 5,600 tons of harmful chemicals from the air each year.

On Tuesday, EPA held a hearing in Galena Park, TX (outside Houston) to solicit public comment on the proposed rule. Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger attended the hearing and delivered the following testimony:

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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

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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Luke Metzger
Executive Director

The Texas Water Development Board has released the proposed rules governing new state water infrastructure funds (know as SWIFT and SWIRFT) that will fund billions of dollars of water projects across the state. These rules are expected to be published by the Texas Register around July 10th which will start the formal public comment period, expected to end September 1st. For a copy of the draft rules, click here. This summer the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will hold three public hearings across Texas to receive feedback about these proposed rules. Ashley, our legal intern, addressed the TWDB last week and provided the first of many comments about the draft rules:

 | by
Luke Metzger
Executive Director

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. They require the energy sector to reduce its carbon pollution by 30 percent from the 2005 level by 2030, effectively cutting 730 million metric tons of carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan sets targets for each state and allows states to develop their own plans to reach the required reductions.