Defend Our Environment

Credit: Dean Fikar/Shutterstock

The Trump administration is moving to slash the protections and programs that keep industries from polluting our air and water, threatening our health, degrading our public lands, and accelerating global warming. We can defend our environment, but only if we can unite all Americans, from across the country, from all walks of life, to stand together.

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love.

Yet if those in Washington, D.C., continue to dismantle our best environmental protections, Texans will be left with dirtier air to breathe, dirtier water to drink and swim in, a more rapidly changing climate, and more degraded public lands. 

President Trump has ordered the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, the strongest action we’ve ever taken to limit climate changing power plant pollution in the United States. He announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, breaking our commitment to the world to lead the fight against climate change.

He also signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, and another to rollback Clean Car Standards. Left unchecked, these action will lead to more pollution in our skies, triggering asthma attack in our children and further destabilizing our climate.

After promising during his campaign to “abolish” the EPA himself or “leave just a little bit,” President Trump proposed a federal budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs; and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

The administration has also moved to roll back the Clean Water Rule, eliminating Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of our nation’s streams, which help provide drinking water for one in three Americans. And the president signed executive orders to open up parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans to offshore drilling, to roll back protections for America’s public lands, and to review 27 of our national monuments to determine if they should opened up to mining, drilling or logging.

 Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough

Not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. Not when millions of Americans share the core values that the Trump administration is violating. 

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack — especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share. 

Credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr 

Uniting Americans to defend our environment

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forebears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

If we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love, we can show the Trump administration that reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections will not be tolerated.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment Texas

Key National Forest Protections Reinstated

Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the Northern District of California today overturned the Bush administration’s repeal of protections for nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands.  This includes roughly 4,000 acres in the Sam Houston National Forest north of Houston.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas Voters Approve More Than Half-Billion Dollars for Parks, Recreation and Green Space

AUSTIN – In an unprecedented election where parks became a major issue at the top of the ballot for the Governor’s race, at the bottom of the ballot, a number of quieter ballot propositions racked up major gains for Texas parks, recreation and green space. In bond elections in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Irving, Williamson County, Rosenberg, Bee Caves and West University Place, voters approved more than $623 million in bonds to acquire new park land and natural areas and to improve recreation facilities.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Ethan Hawke Stars in Short Film on Texas Parks Crisis

AUSTIN, TX -Environment Texas released a short film today highlighting the funding crisis in the Texas state parks system. Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee and Texas native Ethan Hawke, the film reveals a magnificent parks system beleaguered by lay-offs, dilapidated infrastructure, and proposals to sell or close as many as 18 parks. Hawke joined Environment Texas in calling on the Legislature to approve House Bill 6, which would increase funding for state and local parks by more than $90 million. AUSTIN, TX -Environment Texas released a short film today highlighting the funding crisis in the Texas state parks system. Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee and Texas native Ethan Hawke, the film reveals a magnificent parks system beleaguered by lay-offs, dilapidated infrastructure, and proposals to sell or close as many as 18 parks. Hawke joined Environment Texas in calling on the Legislature to approve House Bill 6, which would increase funding for state and local parks by more than $90 million.
“I was born in Texas and some of my best childhood memories are of camping in Texas parks with my dad, where he taught me all about the outdoors and showed me some of Texas’ most amazing natural areas,” said Ethan Hawke. “It’s appalling that the Texas Legislature has let the parks go without even the minimal support needed to maintain them.”
Hawke was born in Austin and grew up around Fort Worth, where his father took him camping and shooting at Eagle Mountain Lake. His grandfather Howard L. Green served in the Texas House of Representatives for ten years and was Tarrant County judge for another eight years.  Environment Texas is a statewide citizens’ advocacy organization based in Austin and is working to get the Texas Legislature to create sustainable and substantial funding for the Texas parks system.
“With the right commitment from our politicians, Texas could have the world-class park system that we deserve. We owe it to our children, our neighbors and ourselves to preserve these vital parts of Texas history and keep just a little bit of Texas wild,” said Hawke.
From the desert wilderness of Big Bend Ranch State Park, to the bayous and live oaks of Brazos Bend State Park, the Texas state parks are home to some of the most breathtaking views in America. The parks also help protect drinking water supplies, wildlife habitats, and provide countless recreational opportunities.
While the overall state budget increased by 68 percent between 1990 and 2003, the Legislature slashed spending on state parks by 34 percent. Today, Texas is ranked 49th in the nation for spending on state parks. The cuts have forced the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to lay off dozens of park rangers, close campgrounds, cancel plans to acquire environmentally sensitive lands and provide grants to local parks. In 2005, the agency even considered selling part of Big Bend Ranch State Park to raise additional funds. TPWD has announced that a new round of proposed cuts would mean the agency would have to close 18 state parks.
The movie can be viewed at www.EnvironmentTexas.org/center and at www.youtube.com.
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http://www.environmenttexas.org/newsroom/preservation/preservation-campa...

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News Release | Environment Texas

Local Parks Contribute Billions To Texas Economy Says New Report by Economist Ray Perryman

AUSTIN –A new analysis by Texas economist Dr. Ray Perryman finds that local parks in Texas contribute more than $5.5 billion to Texas’ economy and create more than 38,000 jobs. A coalition of parks directors and business and environmental leaders from across the state used the report’s conclusions to call on the Legislature to increase funding for parks by passing HB6 and SB252.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Environment Texas Launches "State Parks Express" RV to Call on Legislature to Fully Fund Texas Parks

AUSTIN- Today, Environment Texas launched a 1250 mile road trip of their “State Parks Express” RV to draw attention to the Legislature’s continuing failure to give adequate funding to Texas’ state and local parks. The RV, which will travel to Midland, Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco and College Station, will stop outside the office of the local legislator and invite local citizens to come out for a “weenie roast for the parks.”

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