The beaches, parks and marshes of the Texas Gulf Coast are home to remarkable underwater ecosystems and diverse wildlife. All of these would be threatened by more offshore oil drilling, which is currently under debate in Washington D.C. According to Oceans Under the Gun, a new report written by Environment America and the Sierra Club, our beaches and oceans support a vibrant coastal tourism and fishing economy that generates $11 billion per year in Texas.
“Our oceans are truly ‘under the gun’, threatened by Big Oil and their allies in Congress who want to expand offshore drilling,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. “Our beaches and Gulf enable coastal businesses and jobs from tourism, commercial fishing and recreational fishing,” Metzger continued.
HOUSTON - A bill introduced in both houses of Congress today would protect 58.5 million acres of wild national forest land from mining, commercial logging, and road-building. The National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act, which would put the 2001 Roadless Rule into law, has 25 original cosponsors in the Senate and a bipartisan list of 152 original cosponsors in the House, including Representative Gene Green from Houston, TX. The 2001 Rule aimed to protect undeveloped land in national forests from logging and the development of new roads, except those needed to fight fires, maintain forest health and ensure public safety.
AUSTIN—Fifteen representatives and nineteen senators voted to protect the environment 100% of the time in the 81st 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.
As thousands of Texans flock to Gulf Coast beaches, Environment Texas reported that beach advisories due to pollution dropped last year in Texas, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council’s 19th annual beachwater quality report. Environment Texas called for increased federal funding and faster testing for beachwater pollution.
Across the country, the number of closing and advisory days at ocean, bay and Great Lakes beaches reached more than 20,000 for the fourth consecutive year, confirming that our nation’s beaches continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk.
“When families head to the beach this summer, they shouldn’t have to worry about swimming in polluted water that can make them sick, said McCall Johnson of Environment Texas. “We applaud the General Land Office for the Texas Beach Watch notification effort that helps to protect public health by giving beachgoers easily accessible information about water quality.” Texans can review local beach quality at www.texasbeachwatch.com.
A diverse group of anti toll-road activists, environmentalists, and public transportation activists from across Texas converged at the State Capitol to demand that Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) halt a plan to approve $1.7 billion in new highways without providing proper public review. The groups call on TxDOT, which is poised to approve the stimulus funding at their meeting on Thursday, to slow down and make sure that these transportation dollars are spent wisely.
“We should use this money to put Texans back to work, but we should be careful to spend it in a way that is consistent with Texan’s priorities. TxDOT is trying to rush through bad projects without a proper vetting process with the public,” said Alejandro Savransky, Environment Texas Field Organizer.
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 social change.