Tag Archives: National Wildlife Federation

Put Your Hands Across the Sand!

Guest post by Intern Lena Lane!

On April 20th, 2010 an explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig radically changed the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. It also changed the lives of all those along the coast who saw their shrimp and oyster catch disappear, the wetlands die, and the thick slick of oil causing sickness in their towns.

A mile underwater, around 185 million of gallons of oil began pouring out of the damaged rig, uncovered for 86 days. This disaster killed 11 workers.  And, according to the National Wildlife Federation, more than 8,000 birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals were found injured or dead in the six-month period after the spill.  Today, there are still concerns about the long-term effects of the sometimes mile-long plumes of oil still deep in the ocean.

Although it has been said that the Gulf of Mexico is recovering the truth is a huge dead zone has formed near the mouth of the Mississippi and the wetlands on the Louisiana coast rapidly shrunk in size by around 2,000 square miles. Health concerns have also arisen from the use of dispersants- chemicals that break up the oil so that it would sink to the bottom of the ocean. High levels of ethylbenzene, a byproduct of using dispersants, have been found in the blood of those near the spill. In fact, a three year-old boy who visited the Gulf Coast had at least three times the normal level of ethylbenzene in his blood, an organic hydrocarbon toxic in large quantities. Other components of the crude oil and dispersants such as benzene and Xylene were found in the blood of those close to the spill. These components are known to be cancer-causing agents. However, most of their long-term effects on human health are still unknown.

Although the BP oil spill has largely disappeared from the media, this tragedy set off a movement that continues to unite people regardless of economic status, ethnicity, and political affiliation. This movement is called Hands Across the Sand.

Individuals in 42 nations across the world will join hands on June 25th this year to take part in a peaceful demonstration supporting the efforts of those who are still cleaning up the BP oil spill as well as condemning the dangerous oil extraction process that caused it. The event is also a means of showing support for a cleaner future and greener energy.

Register here!

To be a part of this event in Austin, arrive at the Pfluger Bridge on South Lamar Boulevard at 11:30am.  

To take part in the Corpus Christi event go to Mcgee Beach on Shoreline Dr. between the Holiday Inn- Emerald Beach and the Seawall.

If you are near South Padre Island please meet at Beach Access No.21. For more information please visit http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/.

Come out and show your support!

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What? You didn’t!

The thing that keeps me hopeful when the Texas Legislature and the TCEQ do things like they did yesterday, is knowing that people often do the right thing despite the Legislature and TCEQ.  There’s hope that rationality could prevail.

So what happened yesterday?

The TCEQ passed a terrible environmental flows rule and the State House of Representatives passed a terrible TCEQ Sunset bill.

First, Environmental Flows…

TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia did the right thing!  Feel free to thank him with an email – bgarcia@tceq.texas.gov

The other two TCEQ Commissioners, Chair Bryan Shaw and Carlos Rubinstein tried to break our hearts with a terrible new environmental flows rule that leaves our friends the oysters, the shrimp and the fishing and tourism industries of the Texas coast too salty for life.  Need more info. so that you can make a comment on Matt Tresaugue’s Houston Chronicle article?  Here’s what Ken Kramer, Director  of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club says about the decision yesterday.

At today’s Commission meeting the public comments were strongly in favor of stronger standards, and those comments came from a diversity of folks – oystermen, seafood restaurant owners, seafood wholesalers, the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Coastal Conservation Association of Texas (recreational anglers), National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club. A few comments were made in favor of weak standards by representatives of water supply interests, who thus far have sought to stonewall or control the process for development of standards so as to avoid any meaningful environmental protections.

Read more.  Ken pointed to the large river systems authorities — the Trinity River Authority and Sabine River Authority as being the groups that blocked a meaningful result.  Now Texans have to disregard the TCEQ’s poor rule and make wise initiatives to leave enough water in the rivers to make it to the bays and estuaries.

What else could have happened yesterday?

Readers stay tuned for…What?  You didn’t! Part II…on the Texas State House of Representatives vote on the TCEQ Sunset bill.

Posted by Donna Hoffman, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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Water, water everywhere? State Capitol Report.

Texas Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter State Capitol E-Report
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

February 3, 2011:

  • State Water Conservation Advisory Council at RiskAt least one state legislator has indicated that he will try to eliminate the state’s Water Conservation Advisory Council during the regular session of the 82nd Texas Legislature, now in progress. This move might be made through a “stand-alone” piece of legislation, a provision in or amendment to the Texas Water Development Board “sunset” bill (the Council receives staff support from the Board), or elimination of funding for the Council in the appropriations bill for state agencies (the financial support for the Council is only about $80,000 a year). The Sierra Club strongly supports continuation of the Council, whose work is important to meeting state water needs, and urges others to do so as well. …Read the full story… 

     


  • National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club Release Groundwater Statement The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club have released a position statement on “Ground Water Legislation in the 82nd Texas Legislature.” The position statement was prompted by the introduction in the Texas Senate of SB 332 by Sen. Troy Fraser, which would establish a “vested ownership right in groundwater.” (An excellent overview of SB 332 is provided on the Hill Country Alliance website at: http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/HCA/SB332.) Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the Texas House. Apparently one of the reasons for the introduction of this legislation is to initiate discussion and dialogue on groundwater ownership, an issue currently before the Texas Supreme Court. NWF and Sierra Club “ welcome a healthy debate and discussion of the ground water rights issue, but …oppose efforts to expand the current ground water ownership doctrine” because the “proposed expansion would cause great regulatory uncertainty and expensive litigation.”Read the full story… 

     


  • Water Legislation Starts to Flow in the Texas House and Senate Although not exactly streaming in yet, water legislation is being filed in both the House and the Senate on a variety of topics. Already the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club has over 50 water and water-related bills in its tracking system for this regular session of the 82 nd Texas Legislature. Many of these are very limited in geographic area and/or scope – and many do not have direct relationship to the environment but deal with such things as agency and water district procedures. Two important water bills that have been introduced that are of interest to the Sierra Club are SB 181 by Sen. Florence Shapiro, which deals with the metrics used to measure water use and water conservation, and SB 449 by Senators Craig Estes and Kirk Watson to allow a property tax break for landowners who manage their land to promote and sustain water quality and conservation (the latter bill is accompanied by a proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 16)….Read the full story… 

  • The State Capitol E-Report is a monthly electronic update from the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club reporting on Texas environmental policy issues of statewide interest. Contact us at: lonestar.chapter@sierraclub.org …Header photo “Water” copyright Susan Heller donate
    Subscribe to the Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club Alerts, Invitations, Information!Join the Sierra Club. Get Outdoors! 

     

    Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

    Sierra Club home photo by Susan Heller Texas Sierra Club Home Page
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    The Living Waters of Texas at Texas Book Festival this Weekend

    The annual Texas Book Festival will be held at the State Capitol this weekend on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17.

    Two sessions at the Festival are featuring books with environmental connections — including The Living Waters of Texas edited by Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter Director Ken Kramer.

    On Saturday at 10 AM in Room E2.010 of the Capitol Extension, landscape photographer Charles Kruvand will lead a session on the new book The Living Waters of Texas, the  book of essays by noted Texas environmental advocates and conservationists, edited by Kramer and featuring beautiful photographs of Texas water features by Kruvand. The book is published by Texas A&M University Press and is part of a series of books sponsored by the River Systems Institute at Texas State University. Several of the essay authors will be at the Saturday session, which will be followed by a book signing at 11 AM. Many of the authors have been associated directly or indirectly with the decade long Texas Living Waters Project, a joint public education and policy project on water in which the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, and others.

    On Sunday at 11 AM in the Lone Star Tent, David Todd will moderate a discussion among several Texas conservationists about the new book by David and his associate David Weisman called The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation.  The Texas Legacy Project is an activity of the Conservation History Association of Texas, which has been working for the past 12 years to conduct hundreds of interviews with people all over the state of Texas who have been involved in the effort to preserve the natural heritage of Texas.  Among those people are Sierra Club heroes Pat Suter of Corpus Christi and Brandt Mannchen of Houston, and excerpts from their interviews are included in the book. This book is also published by Texas A&M University Press and is a companion to the interactive website www.texaslegacy.org.

    If you’re going to the Book Festival this weekend, stop by these sessions and enjoy visiting with your fellow conservationists!

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