Texas

State Legislative Priorities

The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organization that uses a science-based approach to protect Texas’ vast array of natural resources.  As such, we have a vested interest in advancing sound conservation policies.  Below are issues we will actively engage in during the coming legislative session. 

Regarding Texas’ vast freshwater resources, we will:

  • Support legislation that protects environmental flows and advances water conservation and sustainable management of groundwater and surface water.
  • Bolster opportunities and incentives to increase the environmental flows that are vital to our natural systems, including flows to our Gulf bays and estuaries.
  • Ensure conservation remains a key strategy in the State Water Plan to help Texas meet its water needs.
  • Monitor efforts to better align water planning and implementation, including promoting water conservation and protecting environmental flows and the sustainability of our water resources.
  • Monitor the creation, governance and structure of groundwater conservation districts to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater based on sound science and to protect sensitive natural resources.
  • Monitor legislation relating to regulatory frameworks for new supply technologies and the development of water markets, including the potential construction of a water grid within and across regions of the state.

Regarding the millions of acres that comprise Texas’ vast and diverse landscape, we will:

  • Support legislation that encourages landowners to engage in land stewardship practices that protect and conserve our natural resources while allowing families the ability to continue working their land.
  • Safeguard the use of voluntary conservation easements to help landowners protect and steward their property.
  • Promote incentives for landowners to engage in land stewardship practices that protect and enhance habitat, water quality and quantity, and air quality 

Regarding the health and vitality of the Gulf of Mexico, we will:

  • Support legislation that restores and sustains the Gulf.
  • Ensure that penalties and fines stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill penalties and fines that are directed to Texas are spent on projects that restore the Gulf’s ecosystem—which, in turns, supports our economy.
  • Sustainably manage Texas’ fisheries and habitat, including oyster populations and reefs. 

Regarding Texas’ immense energy resources, we will:

  • Support legislation that promotes clean energy.
  • Encourage robust energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and efforts to reduce the environmental and natural resource impacts of natural gas development. 
  • Support efforts to improve statewide energy planning, including linking energy and water planning. 

Regarding Texas’ natural infrastructure and its role in urban planning, we will:

  • Support legislation that expands the use of natural infrastructure.
  • Promote initiatives that integrate natural solutions like green space, reforestation, reef restoration, and coastal protection to help our cities and regions meet our water scarcity, urban heat air quality, and coastal resiliency challenges. 

Regarding the Texas state budget, we will

  • Support funding for programs that protect natural resources  
  • Support appropriations to the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for groundwater and surface water modeling and science.
  • Secure continued funding for the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program.
  • Maintain and appropriate monies for voluntary emission reduction programs such as the Texas Emission Reduction Plan.
  • Support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s budget for development and operation of state parks and natural areas.

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