Top environmental (and anti-environmental) bills in the 2023 Texas Legislature

Just over 2,200 bills are currently filed in the Legislature

Ruben Reyes | Public Domain

Almost 2,200 bills were filed in the Legislature by last Friday. We’re still sifting through all of them, but here’s the first cut at our favorite and least favorite bills of the 2023 session.

Regulators

Texas has over 150 state agencies and departments covering virtually every aspect of business and service in our state. Every session, the Legislature makes changes hopefully to better serve our citizens.   

Environment Texas supports:

  • HB 1296 (Goodwin) to have a member of the Railroad Commission of Texas be recused in certain matters
  • SB 239 (Miles) requires former employees of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to wait at least two years before going to work for company regulated by the agency

Environment Texas opposes: 

  • SB 471 (Springer) imposes a fee on citizens filing more than three complaints with TCEQ

Oil and gas

The oil and gas industry has been a boon to state revenues but has led to pollution of our air and water.

Environment Texas supports minimizing the damage from drilling by:

  • HB 228 (Goodwin), HB 1459 (Rosenthal), HB 1782 (Hinojosa), SB 256 (Eckhardt), SB 257 (Eckhardt) to reduce flaring and venting of methane gas 
  • SB 255 (Eckhardt) to repeal a special tax break for methane gas 
  • HB 1194 (Turner) to require public hearings for wells proposed within 1,500 feet of a child care facility or school

Environment Texas opposes:

  • HB 33 (Landgraf) and SB 470 (Springer) to block enforcement of federal oil and gas safeguards 
  • HB 743 and HB 744 (Dean), HB 1414 (Toth) and HB 764 (Cain) to preempt local government health and safety authority over gas appliances and lawn equipment 

Clean Water

From taking a dip in the local swimming hole to the water we drink from the faucet, we all want our natural waters and drinking water to be safe, healthy and plentiful.

Environment Texas supports:

  • HB 40 and HJR 25 (Zwiener) to provide a property tax break for installing rainwater harvesting or greywater systems
  • HB 1123 (Gervin-Hawkins) to get lead out of school drinking water 
  • SB 226 (Eckhardt) to require new state buildings to use nature-based infrastructure like rain gardens and green roofs
  • HB 1687 (Murr) to require rock quarries to implement land reclamation efforts after ceasing operation

Clean energy

Wind and solar power, energy efficiency and electric cars are reducing air pollution, conserving water, reducing electric bills and creating jobs.

Environment Texas supports:

  • SB 114 (Menendez) to incentivize Texans to reduce demand for electricity during peak periods through demand response programs
  • SB 258 (Eckhardt) to boost utility energy efficiency programs 
  • HB 1254 (Darby) to expedite construction of transmission lines to bring wind and solar power to our cities
  • HB 1013 (Gervin-Hawkins) to require that 50% of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
  • SB 238 (Menendez) to help Texas school districts take advantage of federal funding to purchase electric school buses
  • HB 821 (King) to allow charging providers to place and maintain electric vehicle charging equipment on state property like state parks

Environment Texas opposes:

  • HB 171 (Spiller), HB 1443 (Slawson) and SB 154 (Springer) to create location requirements for wind farms that don’t exist for any other form of energy, including ones which pollute 
  • HB 820 (King) and SB 505 (Nichols) to create new fees on electric and hybrid vehicles 
  • SB 488 (Springer) a tax is to be imposed on all electric generators EXCEPT for natural gas.

Clean air

We look forward to the day where our air is safe and clean to breathe for all Texans, especially vulnerable populations like our kids and senior citizens.

Environment Texas supports:

  • SB 104 (Johnson) to create financial incentives for Texans to replace polluting gas-powered lawn equipment and other non-road engines with clean electric models.
  • HB 441 (Lopez) to have the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notify legislators when polluters in their districts are penalized
  • SB 179 (Miles) explicitly adds “the cumulative effect on the public’s health and physical property” as a criterion by which air-emissions permits are evaluated.
Topics
Authors

Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.

Michael Lewis

Clean Air and Water Advocate, Environment Texas

Michael works to promote clean air and clean water in Texas. Michael lives in central Texas with his family and spends most of his free time hiking and gaming.

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