For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Contact: Luke Metzger, Executive Director, [email protected], 512-743-8257
Environment Texas endorses O’Rourke for governor, Kleberg for land commissioner, 8 state legislators
AUSTIN, Texas – Environment Texas announced Tuesday it is endorsing former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke to be the next governor of Texas and Jay Kleberg to be the Lone Star State’s next land commissioner. Environment Texas is also endorsing the re-election of eight incumbent state legislators: state Reps. Drew Darby, Vikki Goodwin, Armando Walle and Erin Zwiener and state Sens. Cesar Blanco, Sarah Eckhardt, Nathan Johnson and Jose Menendez. All of these candidates have built reputations throughout Texas as “green” champions.
Gubernatorial candidate O’Rourke compiled a 100% voting record from Environment America on environmental bills during his stint in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to that, in the El Paso city government, O’Rourke fought against heavy metal pollution and protected grasslands from drilling. In addition, on his website, O’Rourke pledges to fix Texas’ power grid, invest in clean energy and work to limit climate change.
“While the federal government and other states have taken significant action to stymie climate change and improve the environment in recent years, Texas’ unrepentantly regressive policies have led to worsening outcomes during tropical storms and hurricanes — and year-round with our dysfunctional electric grid” said Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger. “Beto O’Rourke can and will improve that. His pragmatic policy solutions will take advantage of Texas’ copious sun and wind, protect our grid and help us begin to push back against the worst effects of climate change. And each of the state officials and legislators we’re endorsing will help pass and implement those policies.”
Kleberg has been vocal about the need to increase wind and solar energy production on state-owned public lands; decrease the state university system’s reliance on fossil fuel extraction to support its budgets (a constitutional responsibility of the Land Commissioner’s office); and make Texas’ coastlines more resilient in the face of climate change.
Each of the eight state legislators who Environment Texas is endorsing has a proven track record as a leader on environmental issues.
Rep. Drew Darby, a Republican, is one of the Legislature’s biggest champions for renewable energy. He has helped thwart efforts to assign new fees to wind and solar power and has worked to expand transmission capacity so we can bring renewable energy to our cities.
Rep. Vikki Goodwin has filed bills to tax gas flaring, promote EVs, and increase regulations on radioactive waste. Between sessions, she created a round table of environmental groups (including Environment Texas) to meet with her regularly to plan for the 2023 session.
Rep. Armando Walle has led the charge to better regulate and clean up concrete batch plants. He led an effort to get the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s treatment of these pollution sources and filed several bills related to the problem. In addition, as chair of the House Committee of Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development, and Regulatory, he helped get $7 million to acquire state park lands, the first such funding in decades.
Rep. Erin Zwiener defines “green champ.” She filed bills last session to strengthen environmental enforcement and boost green infrastructure, and she has pledged to work to boost funding for state parks next session.
Sen. Jose Menendez is a leading advocate in the Legislature for solar energy and successfully passed the Solar Customer Protection Act, which stops cities from imposing unfair restrictions on solar power. He’s also filed bills to get the lead out of school drinking water, require climate adaptation plans, achieve greater energy efficiency and enhance enforcement of environmental laws.
Sen. Nathan Johnson successfully passed a bill creating the “On-The-Ground Conservation Program” to promote soil health improvements, erosion control, invasive species control, habitat protection and land restoration. He also filed a bill to regulate hydrofluorocarbons. In addition, Johnson’s bill to strictly regulate petroleum storage tanks may not have passed, but a watered-down version filed by another state senator eventually did.
Sen. Cesar Blanco is a problem-solving legislator who excels at working across the aisle and has increasingly prioritized environmental bills in recent years, especially supporting state parks. He plans to work in the Senate to boost state parks funding in the upcoming session.
Sen. Sarah Eckhardt is a green champion who prioritizes the environment and files many environmental bills. Some of her previous accomplishments include preserving more than 30,000 acres of green space and building a multi-county collaboration for the preservation of groundwater.
|Pol. adv. paid for by Environment Texas, a project of Environment America.