I’m proud of the work my team at Environment Texas did this year to protect Texas’ wild places, protect air and water quality, fight global warming and move to a 100% clean economy and more. Here are some of the highlights:
- In January, we delivered a letter to Gov. Abbott, signed by more than two dozen Texas climate scientists, chiding him for saying it is “impossible” to say whether man-made climate change is contributing to extreme weather.
- In the #txlege this spring we fought attacks on renewable energy, helped stop a handout to a radioactive waste dump, and fought plans to allow dumping of frack water in our rivers (we lost the first round, but the fight continues).
- After the ITC disaster, we helped convince Harris County leaders to significantly boost funding for prosecuting polluters
- This summer, our canvass team won a ban on bee killing pesticides on Travis County properties and in state parks.
- We recruited more than 50 faculty at Texas A&M to call on University Lands to cut methane pollution from their 9000 oil and gas wells.
- This fall, our Clean Air Associate Catherine Fraser helped convince Houston voters to approve a $3.5 billion bond for light rail and buses.
- Also in November, we worked as part of the Texas Coalition for State Parks to get 88% of Texans to vote for an increase in $ for state parks (biggest margin in US history for statewide parks measure!)
- Our Deputy Director Jennifer Schmerling worked with Harris County as they approved plan to go to 100% renewable energy.
- Billie Eilish gave us $50,000 and, even cooler, more than 5000 Texans supported our work with average donations of just $35 (thanks citizen outreach team!).
- We helped win initial approval of a new Land Development Code for Austin which will help build more walkable, bikeable, transit friendly development while fighting water pollution and flooding
- We delivered a letter (signed by former CEO of Shell, legislators, and environmental and native groups) to the Railroad Commission calling for an end to routine flaring and venting of natural gas
- Earlier this month, we released a report showing illegal air pollution in TX had doubled and calling for tougher enforcement. We presented the report to the Governor and TCEQ and got widespread media coverage
- We helped get Congress to end the use of toxic PFAS on military bases and to appropriate $495 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (the most in 17 years!)
Not bad for a year’s work. Onward!
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.