AUSTIN – Logging, mining, and oil/gas drilling in Texas’ national forests jeopardizes $8.4 billion per year in Texas business expenses, including activities such as fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching, according to a new report released today by Environment Texas.
One senator and seven representatives voted to protect the environment 100% of the time in the 80th Legislature, according to Environment Texas’ biennial legislative scorecard. The scorecard tracks votes on a range of votes affecting the state’s air, water, natural areas, and quality of life.
Representative Lloyd Doggett of Austin voted for the environment 100% of the time in the 109th Congress, according to the annual Congressional Scorecard on major environmental issues released today by Environment Texas.
"Congressman Doggett has again and again put the environment ahead of special interests. In the 109th Congress he successfully fought efforts to expand off-shore oil drilling, defended protections for endangered species like the polar bear and the recently recovered bald eagle, and worked to make polluters pay to clean up contaminated groundwater," said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. "These scorecards are an important tool to educate the public about the voting records of their elected officials and to honor public officials like this that have a record of putting the environment first."
The 80th session drew to a close with a number of important victories on parks, renewable energy and energy efficiency, water and electronic waste. "All in all, it was a pretty good session for the environment," said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. "Parks funding was tripled, energy efficiency was doubled, new protections for rivers and streams were established, and computer manufacturers are now required to recycle electronic waste. These victories are the result of many years of work by Texas' environmental community and we can all be proud of the progress made this session."
The Legislature did take some steps backwards, by creating new incentives for coal and nuclear plants and by supporting the creation of reservoirs that could wipe out critical natural areas. They also had a number of missed opportunities, failing to take action to stop or limit the "coal rush", to curb global warming pollution, or to create incentives for solar or biomass power.
Today, on the final day of the Legislature, the Texas House of Representatives approved HB 12, which ensures that a substantial funding increase for parks provided for in the state budget can move forward.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.