Rain is one of Texas’s greatest resources, but it also causes some of our most serious problems. Too much produces flooding and erosion, too little produces droughts and aquifer depletion, and dirty runoff produces water pollution. These problems are becoming worse as more of the state’s land is covered with buildings and roads that prevent rain from soaking into the ground where it falls. That’s why more Texans are using building and landscaping features that can retain and reuse stormwater onsite. These features include rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavement, and rain cisterns, and are known as Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) and Low Impact Development (LID).
A review of five years of state records by the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas shows that the state imposed penalties on less than 3 percent of the illegal pollution releases (588 out of 24,839) reported by companies during maintenance or malfunctions from 2011 through 2016, even though the incidents released more than 500 million pounds of air pollution.
Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, leading to increased risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.
Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2016. The United States now has 42 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy capacity, enough to power 8.3 million homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons annually.1 Hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially in our cities, have invested in their own solar panels or solar projects in their communities and millions more are ready to join them.
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.