Working to defend Texas trees
The Texas Legislature met for the first six months of 2017, but just weeks after they finished their business Gov. Greg Abbott called them back for a special session. During sessions of this sort the legislature may only pass bills on topics chosen by the governor, and while several of the issues chosen by Gov. Abbott have potential environmental impacts, one poses an immediate environmental threat: his push to strip Texas local governments of their rights to protect heritage trees.
More than 110 Texas communities from all around the state have ordinances limiting tree removal. Landowners have a right to do as they wish with their property–including their trees–except that irresponsible tree cutting can cause flooding, erosion, higher energy costs and lower property values for other landowners and residents. Local governments have worked hard to balance these interests, but now corporate lobbyists for the big builders, developers and special interest-funded “think tanks” want to get rid of all those compromises.
HB 70 by Rep. Paul Workman and SB 14 by Sen. Bob Hall are the big business, anti-tree bills before the legislature this special session. SB 14 has passed the Senate, but is opposed by a bipartisan group of House members–thanks to action from TCE members and others! The House has instead passed HB 7, a much more modest bill that simply helps property owners offset fees for tree removal by planting new trees. The Senate has yet to consider this bill, and Gov. Abbott vetoed similar legislation after the regular session.
We can win on this issue. We can defend Texas trees. We need you to take action right now:
- Sign our petition to lawmakers demanding that they respect local rights to protect trees.
- Use our new online outreach tool be connected directly to your House member and ask them to stand strong in opposing HB 70 and SB 14.
- Visit DefendTexasTrees.org to learn more!
We are pounding the pavement at the State Capitol to improve the agency that regulates oil and gas, pass a battery takeback recycling bill, strengthen standards for pollution permits, and stop problem waste facilities.
Want to join us? Come to our Grassroots Lobby Day in Austin on March 27th!
Send a message to your Texas Senator (at the state capitol – not John Cornyn and Ted Cruz!) and Representative urging them to support common sense environmental protections during the 2017 legislative session.
Let your lawmakers know you support local governments’ authority to reduce single-use bag pollution. 11 cities in Texas have passed local ordinances to put a ban or fee on single-use bags in order to protect wildlife and tourism industries among other reasons.
Write a personal letter to your state lawmakers asking them to support HB 1874 in 2017 to establish a statewide recycling program for household batteries. 250 million household batteries go into Texas landfills each year. That’s just not sustainable!
From our blog: We held our first statewide webinar to share information about our legislative priorities in 2017. Folks from all over the state tuned in online to learn, discuss, and TAKE ACTION!
Following a town hall meeting in Grapevine, it’s clear that many North Texans want significant changes made to the Texas Railroad Commission at the State Capitol next year. Here’s our recap of the meeting and how you can get involved in the process.
Houston Chronicle: Reacting to a groundswell of concern about the effect of plastic bags on the environment, Galveston is on the forefront of a statewide controversy over cities’ ability to ban plastic bags that are killing turtles, birds and fouling beaches.
E-Scrap News: The Texas Legislature’s serious consideration of a law mandating take-back and recycling for all household batteries sends a signal to other states considering the same, an advocate for the bill says.
My Fox Lubbock: According to the Texas Campaign for the Environment, about three billion batteries are buried in landfills every year.