EarthX hosted an Environmental Legislative Review at Entercom with environmental leaders that have been following and working on this year’s Texas Legislative Session. EarthX offers the Legislative Reviews as a platform since gaining support for legislation during sessions, which are held only once every two years, can be challenging.
“What came out of this session was really interesting,” said panelist Karen Hadden, executive director of the SEED Coalition. “We were able and really happy to block the bad radioactive waste bills all the way through, and it took a lot of work. Every single day, people were going to the calendar’s committee, making sure it didn’t come up or something didn’t get snuck in. And we were really, really happy. We thought, ‘Gosh, we’ve won.’”
In an effort to maximize preparedness for addressing important environmental issues in Texas, EarthX presented the panel in partnership with Public Citizen, Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, SEED Coalition, Texas Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform, Texas PIRG, and Texas Campaign for the Environment. Reed Sternberg, EarthX Central Texas representative and host of the “Shades of Green” environmental podcast, led the discussion with panelists that included Hadden; Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG director, The Texas Public Interest Research Group; Rita Beving, Texas Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform; and Tom “Smitty” Smith, executive director, Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance.
Discussion covered what was and was not accomplished with environmental legislation during the session, with a close eye on overall results and ways to take action now on topics like fracking and wastewater, clean air, eminent domain, nuclear waste disposal, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles, to name a few. One pressing issue that came up in connection with cities also supporting progress was lead in drinking water.
“Right now, the standard, which the states don’t even have to comply with, is 15 times what it should be,” said Scoggin. “Dallas, to its credit, has remediated and fixed all the instances that it found of contamination above the standard. It didn’t have to do that, but it did. That’s step one. Step two is to fix all the contamination in between recommended levels and our unfortunately high EPA standard. A lot of the issues that we see do have some sort of social justice aspect. This isn’t one of them. It’s in rich neighborhoods, it’s in poor neighborhoods. It’s everywhere.”
Panelists also fielded questions on other state environmental concerns at the event, which was streamed live on Facebook and recorded. A second panel was also hosted in Austin.
“We encourage activism, and panels like this help lower the barriers others see to getting involved,” added Tony Keane, chief executive officer of EarthX. “These aren’t issues affecting other places exclusively – it’s here in our state too, and it’s up to us to help correct the course.”
Earthx2019 brought together more than 177,000 for three days of exhibitions, a film festival, music, entertainment, learning experiences, discussions, forums, and conferences. Earthx2020 will be held April 24 – 26, 2020 in Dallas.
EarthX convenes the world’s largest environmental expo, conference and film festival. Founded in 2011 as Earth Day Dallas by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, the Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. In 2019, the event drew over 177,000 attendees, 2,000 environmental leaders, exhibitors and 400 speakers. Earthx2020 will be held April 24 – 26, 2020 in Dallas. Visit www.EarthX.org.
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