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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 2015 legislative session.

Water

We will:

  • Monitor the creation, governance and structure of groundwater conservation districts to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater based on sound science and the protection of sensitive natural resources.
  • Bolster opportunities to increase environmental flows vital to our natural systems, including flows to our bays and estuaries.
  • Continue to monitor the implementation of House Bill 4 and ensure the prioritization and funding of water conservation projects in the State Water Plan.
  • Monitor legislation related to regulatory frameworks for aquifer storage and recovery, desalination and other new supply technologies.

Land

We will:

  • Safeguard the use of voluntary conservation easements as land protection tools.
  • Promote incentives for landowners to engage in land stewardship practices that protect and enhance habitat, water quality and quantity, and air quality, including funding for the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program.

Gulf of Mexico

We will:

  • Ensure that fines and penalties directed to Texas as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are spent on projects that restore the Gulf’s ecosystem, which, in turn, help support a healthy economy.
  • Support efforts to sustainably manage Texas’ fisheries and Gulf Coast oyster populations.

Energy

We will:

  • Encourage robust energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and efforts to reduce impacts of natural gas development on our natural resources.
  • Support efforts to improve statewide energy planning, which includes recognizing the critical link between energy and water planning.

Natural Infrastructure

We will:

  • Promote initiatives that utilize natural solutions like green space, reforestation, reef restoration and coastal protection to help address our cities’ water scarcity, air quality, and coastal resiliency challenges.

State Budget

We will:

  • Defend the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s budget for the development and operation of state parks and natural areas, and protect local park grants.
  • Support the appropriation of dedicated sporting goods sales tax revenues for parks and open space.
  • Support appropriations to the Texas Water Development Board for groundwater science.
  • Secure funding for the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program.
  • Maintain and appropriate monies for programs such as the Texas Emission Reduction Plan.
     

 

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