Environment: Finding Common Ground

Making arguments green in more ways than one

State parks all across Texas face budget cuts.
State parks all across Texas face budget cuts. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

The environment has never been a front-burner issue for the Texas Legislature, and when the mantra this session is "cut, cut, cut," there's no reason to expect progressive initiatives. Environmentalists' best hopes are on pushing initiatives that can be packaged as pro-business. Hence groups like Environment Texas issue position papers stating, "Texas has what it takes to become the national leader in solar power. ... But Texas hasn't capitalized on our natural advantages and, as a result, other states are luring solar manufacturers away. Environment Texas ... [s]upports creating a statewide incentive program to install solar on a million rooftops in the next decade."

It will be interesting to see if groups like ET and its compatriots in the Sierra Club can convince conservative lawmakers to go against the suburbs on issues like solar installations. Some homeowners associations ban solar panels on rooftops (because aesthetics are more important than clean air), but the enviros are wisely choosing conservative rhetoric: Not allowing solar installations, they say, is an infringement on property rights by quasi-governmental bodies. One such bill that would stop HOAs from enforcing such bans is even authored by veteran GOP Sen. Troy Fraser.

Of course, like everyone else, enviros are fighting cuts. The same statement from ET says the group "[o]pposes appropriating revenues generated by the Sporting Goods Sales Tax for purposes other than the parks system." Unfortunately, legislators this session are scrambling to find green, not be green.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Environment Texas
Lege Lines: Weak Oversight Rules, School Vouchers Pass Senate, and More...
Lege Lines: Weak Oversight Rules, School Vouchers Pass Senate, and More...
Lege pushes weak oversight rules, school voucher bill sails through Senate, and more...

Richard Whittaker, April 24, 2015

More by Lee Nichols
From the Music Desk
From the Music Desk
On Willie, Billy, Stevie Ray, Blaze, and more highlights from four decades of covering Austin music

Sept. 3, 2021

Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015


Environment Texas, Sierra Club, Troy Fraser, solar power, Legislature

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle