AUSTIN - Environment Texas praised the announcement today by Speaker-designate Joe Straus that former state Rep. Clyde Alexander will serve as part of his transition team. Rep. Alexander has served as a member of the State Parks Advisory Committee, which conducted a thorough review of the budget crisis facing the state parks system.
Environment Texas congratulated Rep. Straus on his apparent victory in the House speaker's race today and expressed optimism about the prospects for the environment with his new leadership.
"Rep. Straus has been a strong advocate for energy efficiency and understands the urgency of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels," said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. "While he's not with us on every vote, he's demonstrated a commitment to fairness and careful consideration of the facts. I am very optimistic that environmental bills will get a fair shake under his Speakership."
AUSTIN – Pointing to a continuing crisis with Texas parks and natural areas, Environment Texas called on a legislative task force to finally meet and develop a plan to stop raiding parks funding for other purposes. The group also delivered to Lt Gov Dewhurst petitions signed by more than 2100 Texans calling on him to support a "long-term solution to give Texans the world class parks system we deserve".
Environment Texas today endorsed Barack Obama for President, citing his clear and bold solutions to our current energy woes and strong commitment to the protection of our environment. “Senator Obama has publicly committed to fully addressing the pressing problem of global warming and moving the United States toward a new energy future. He has made clean energy one of the top issues of his campaign and as a public servant at the state and federal levels has a long and consistent record of supporting the environment,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.
“Barack Obama has the vision and grit necessary to break past the polluter lobby in Washington and put America on a path towards a new energy future and a cleaner environment,” said Metzger.
As millions of Americans flock to beaches around the country, Environment Texas reported that beach closings and warnings due to pollution went up last year in Texas, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council’s 18th annual beach water quality report. The group called for increased federal funding and faster testing for beachwater pollution and decried efforts to open protected coastlines to offshore drilling.
Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the report, Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches, tallied 532 beach closing and health advisory days in 2007 in Texas, an eleven percent jump from the year before. In Texas, 49 percent of the closing and advisory days were caused by high bacteria levels resulting from storm water run-off. Another 49 per cent were high bacteria levels from unknown sources.
“Some families can’t enjoy a day at the beach because the water is polluted and kids are getting sick,” said Brittany Ballard, Citizen Outreach Director for Environment Texas. “Texas beachgoers should not be swimming in human and animal waste.”
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.