January 30, 2013:
Texas Sierra Club Priorities for 2013 Legislative Session
The Sierra Club’s State Legislative Priorities for 2013 are stated under seven issue categories:
Clean Energy Solutions, Natural Resource Agency “Sunset” Reforms, Oversight of Oil and Gas Operations, Parks and Wildlife Funding, Water Conservation and Management, Clean Air and Smart Transportation Solutions.
Clean Air -
Reduce toxic and other air pollutant emissions from industrial plants and electric power plants to meet new and existing Clean Air Act requirements,
prevent air quality deterioration by new and existing coal-fired power plants
Fund the Drive A Clean Machine and Texas Emissions Reduction Program to reduce air emissions from vehicles and other sources.
- Clean Energy Solutions – expand incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy (especially solar power) that addresses climate change, assists low-income utility customers, meets electric power generation needs, and promotes jobs and economic opportunities for Texans
- Water Conservation & Management – enhance state water conservation, increase of drought response efficiency, improve the state water plan and planning process; demand the state water plan provide significant funding for water conservation and reuse; protect flows in our rivers and into our coastal bays and estuaries
- Oversight of Oil & Gas Operations – oversight of oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production, including pipeline permitting, pipeline safety, and tar sands regulation to protect the public, fish and wildlife resources, and air quality
- Parks & Wildlife Funding – dedicate adequate funding to sustain and improve our state parks system and to protect wildlife diversity in Texas; include requirements to assure fees and taxes paid by the public for parks and wildlife are used for their intended purpose
- Reform of State Agencies – change the Public Utility Commission and the Railroad Commission to assure that these agencies protect the public health and the environment; promote cleaner technologies in the public interest
- Clean Air – fund the “Drive a Clean Machine” and Texas Emissions Reduction Program to reduce air pollution from vehicles and other sources in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and other Texas cities; defend Texans’ right to contest agency permits
- Smart Transportation Solutions – reduction in pollution from transportation by supporting funding and programs for public transit, walking, bicycling, and electric vehicles
Clean Energy Solutions
Expand requirements and incentives for higher energy efficiency and increased reliance on utility-scale and distributed renewable energy sources to address climate change, assist low-income utility customers, meet true electric power generation needs and promote new jobs and economic opportunities.
• Allow utilities more flexibility to meet and exceed required energy efficiency goals;
• Create a residential Demand Response program in the Texas competitive market;
• Fund low-income weatherization through the Systems Benefit Fund ;
• Assure distributed and utility-scale solar get fair market value when producing at peak times;
• Meet the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard’s 500 MW requirement for non-wind renewables by 2015, and expand the requirement to 3,000 MWs by 2025
• Promote financing for energy efficiency and solar, special "Property Assessed Clean Energy Districts" and on-bill repayment and financing.
• Allow Demand Response to participate in energy markets
Natural Resource Agency Sunset Reforms
Reform of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) through the “Sunset” process through changes in condemnation procedures, the designation of common carriers, permitting, enforcement, and public involvement activities to assure that the actions of these agencies are protective of the public health and the natural environment and help promote new technologies that are cleaner and are in the public interest.
Oversight of Oil & Gas Operations
Insist on oversight of the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas, including pipeline permitting, pipeline safety and tar sands regulation, to protect the public, fish and wildlife, water resources, and air quality.
Parks & Wildlife Funding
Maintenance of dedicated and adequate sources of funding to sustaining progress in maintaining and improving the state parks system – including strategic acquisitions, development and management of parklands and protected habitats -- and providing outdoor recreation opportunities to meet public needs, and exploration of options to enhance the funding of the study and protection of wildlife diversity in Texas.
Water Conservation and Management
Enhance state water conservation programs (fully fund the state water education program and increase resources and authority for the TCEQ and TWDB to promote and support conservation) and maintain existing water code provisions that prioritize conservation to meet water needs
Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of state, regional, and local drought response through greater regional coordination of planning and management, re-evaluation of drought response plan triggers and stages, appropriate pricing for water use during drought, and more substantive state review and oversight of drought response plans and their implementation
Improve the state water plan and planning process, provide substantial state financial support for demand management (water conservation and drought response) and for environmental flow protections, and continuation and refinement of the SB 3 process for determining and protecting environmental flows
Smart Transportation Solutions
Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled and pollution from transportation by supporting transportation alternatives: transit, walking, bicycling and alternatively-powered transportation vehicles as opposed to expanding or constructing new facilities for single occupancy vehicles.
Budgets Shortchange People, Animals, Plants, Air & Water
The proposed 2014-2015 Texas budgets in both the Senate and House continue to shortchange key environmental protection, clean air and parks and wildlife, despite a healthier economy, significantly more revenue, and a “Rainy Day” fund that will approach $12 billion by the end of 2015. ...Read
the full story
Meet the Legislative Lobby Team
This is an exciting time for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club – and a challenging one as well! With the combined strength of new leadership and seasoned experience among the Lone Star Chapter’s environmental advocates in Austin, we have our strongest state legislative lobby corps ever. ... Meet the Team...Read the full story
Water: Meeting Critical Need
Texas faces challenges in meeting water supply needs, protecting our state’s natural heritage and maintaining the jobs and businesses dependent upon our fish and wildlife resources.
...Read the full story
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