Today is an Historic Day for the Texas Environment

Today Sierra Club has launched the “Texas Green Report” blog, bringing you breaking news and regular updates about key regional, state, and national environmental issues. The Texas Green Report will update you about the activities of the Club here in Texas — not only environmental advocacy but also opportunities to interact with other folks interested in enjoying the great outdoors.

The Sierra Club covers a wide range of issues in Texas, through our state-level Lone Star Chapter, national field organizers, and campaigns such as Beyond Coal.  The Lone Star Chapter was formed in 1965 and has an ambitious conservation agenda for Texas for 2010-2011.  Here are just a few examples of what we’re doing now.

Beyond Coal

The Lone Star Chapter, in partnership with the national Beyond Coal Campaign, is contesting air pollution permits for five proposed coal or petroleum coke plants in Texas that would add tens of thousands of tons of pollutants into the air we breathe and dramatically increase the greenhouse gases from Texas sources. We’re also working on cleaning up and phasing out existing coal plants and achieving a strong new coal ash rule.

Clean Energy Solutions

The Lone Star Chapter, working cooperatively with our partners, is promoting the adoption of more energy efficient building codes by Texas cities, pushing clean energy plans for municipally-owned electric utilities in Austin and San Antonio, and working for a specific state target for expansion of solar power. At the same time we are ramping up efforts to achieve stronger environmental controls over oil and natural gas production.

Green Transportation

The Lone Star Chapter is supporting the efforts to identify and obtain revenue sources that would fund rail projects and other mass transit options that are more energy efficient and environmentally sound than our traditional reliance on personal vehicles.

Safeguarding Communities: Clean Air & Water

The Lone Star Chapter consistently watchdogs air pollution problems in Texas.  We won a landmark settlement in a Clean Air Act lawsuit against Shell Oil in 2009 over so-called “upset” emissions of toxics and other air pollutants from its Deer Park refinery and petrochemical plant. This year the Chapter is pursuing similar litigation against Chevron and Exxon/Mobil.  In addition the Chapter has been the main group successfully fighting TCEQ’s attempts to lower clean water standards for hundreds of water bodies around the state.

A Texas Land & Wildlife Legacy

The Lone Star Chapter is supporting legislation that will be introduced in the U.S. Congress to designate wilderness areas in the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in West Texas.  We are also continuing to crusade for strong funding of Texas state parks and nongame wildlife protection programs.

Water for People & the Environment

The Lone Star Chapter is a leader and active participant in the process underway to preserve freshwater inflows into Galveston Bay, Sabine Lake, Matagorda Bay, Nueces Bay, San Antonio Bay, and other estuary systems along the Texas coast.

In future posts you’ll hear more about these and other Sierra Club activities to explore, enjoy and protect the Texas environment, and you’ll learn more about the key environmental issues facing our state.

Welcome to the Texas Green Report!

Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club

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