News

TLCV’s 5th Annual Green Tie Event on November 19th

October 20th, 2015

Honorary Host Committee
Congressman Lloyd Doggett
Judge Sarah Eckhardt
State Senator Kirk Watson

Sponsorships
$250-$2,500

Tickets
$25

TLCV is the non-partisan voice of the conservation community, and thus we occupy a key role in Texas, encouraging smart, effective leadership that pushes policies which protect our air, water, and other critical resources. We view building relationships with companies and individuals that create green jobs and are good stewards of the environment as key to the success of our work.

This year we are excited to be introducing the Bob Armstrong Conservation Award for outstanding conservation work in Texas. We are proud to honor State Representative Donna Howard as the inaugural recipient.  Please join the honorary host committee and TLCV for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a celebration of conservation in Texas!

Purchase your individual tickets or sponsorship here!

Please contact Ashley Cooper at 512-477-4424 or acooper@tlcv.org for further information.

TLCV Announces New Executive Director

September 22nd, 2015

It is with great excitement, The Texas League of Conservation Voters Board of Directors announces Elizabeth Doyel as the new Executive Director.

After an extensive summer-long search, Elizabeth comes to TLCV from her job as Development Director at Annie’s List, with over fifteen years of political and nonprofit fundraising experience. We are thrilled to have her on board to lead this organization to greater heights in electing pro-conservation officials and passing pro-conservation legislation here in Texas.

A native of Arkansas, Elizabeth’s career has spanned the nonprofit and political sectors. She has served on Gubernatorial, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns across the country, fund-raised for pro-women legislation and is actively involved in community efforts for the arts and animal rights

Elizabeth takes over for David Weinberg who led the organization for the last six years. We are thankful to David for his service to the league and for his efforts on clean air, clean water, and open spaces in Texas.  We look forward to building upon his good work and creating a new chapter at TLCV with Elizabeth.

So please, join me and my fellow Board Members in welcoming Elizabeth to the organization. Our work here in Texas cannot be done without you, so reach out to us at info@tlcv.org with your ideas, questions or concerns.  On behalf of the Board of Directors, we look forward to this new stage for TLCV and to the significant work we will do together in the coming years.  

Sincerely,

Thomas Kelly
Board Chair
Texas League of Conservation Voters

 

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TLCV Seeks new Executive Director for Summer 2015

May 14th, 2015

Texas League of Conservation Voters
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Job description

Job Title:                    Executive Director
Reports to:                Board of Directors

Organizational Overview 

The Texas League of Conservation Voters (TLCV) is the political voice of Texas’ conservation community.  We are a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to changing policies and politics to protect Texans’ environment and quality of life. TLCV’s Political Committee works to support and elect environmentally responsible candidates at the state and local levels.

TLCV’s sister organization, the Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund (TLCVEF) is a tax deductible 501(c)(3) organization.  The educational fund is dedicated to educating Texans on environmental issues, promoting voting and civic engagement, and raising the public profile of conservation issues.

Scope of Responsibilities

The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of leading, funding and managing a group of organizations—Texas League of Conservation Voters, the Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund and an affiliated Political Action Committee.

Responsibilities:

  • Secure the financial resources necessary for the organizations to accomplish their missions; the E.D. is the primary fundraiser for the organizations;
  • Serve as the primary face and ambassador of the organizations with elected officials, donors, partner NGOs and industry;
  • Create and track multiple budgets and oversee the fiscal management of the organizations;
  • Work closely with the Boards of Directors to guide the organizations through strategic governance challenges and opportunities;
  • Mobilize the boards to maximize their networks to build the financial health of the organizations;
  • Lead the boards and staff through regular planning and evaluation of the organizations’ efforts;
  • Ensure legal compliance of all aspects of the financial and political/ programmatic activities of the organizations with local, state and federal regulators, especially related to maintaining firewalls of separation for charitable and political activities;
  • Be an “institution-builder” and take the organizations to the next level of effectiveness.

Qualifications & Experience:

Required

  • Proven ability, experience in and passion for fundraising from both individual donors and foundations;
  • Strong financial management skills and ability to build and manage multiple organizational budgets;
  • Superior leadership, strategic thinking and planning skills;
  • Experience in organizational management and program planning with the ability to lead and coach senior staff, develop and manage high performance teams, and the ability to delegate;
  • Experience successfully working in culturally rich and diverse communities like Texas;

Preferred

  • Experience in legislative advocacy and political campaigns;
  • Experience building and working effectively with a board of directors;
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills;
  • Public speaking and earned media skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to the organizations’ missions and values;

Desired

  • Understanding of existing relationships within Texas politics and the environmental community;
  • Experience building long-term financial reserves within an organization;
  • Understanding of 501c3, 501c4, and PAC structures and compliance issues;
    • Knowledge of the environmental politics movement represented by LCV and state leagues;
    • Knowledge of best practices around “leadership as governance” and highly effective governance for Boards of Directors.

Special Job Requirements

The job requires long, unpredictable hours and some weekends, especially during the legislative session and political campaign season; ability to work in fast-paced situations and handle many tasks simultaneously; ability to travel frequently around the state; commitment to working in a small, nonprofit office with a positive, respectful, friendly and collegial environment.

Compensation & Benefits

Competitive nonprofit salary based on experience, health care benefits, vacation, sick leave, and retirement.  Apply:

No phone calls.  Please submit a cover letter that specifically addresses how your expertise and background match the job description requirements, your resume, and three references prior to June 5, 2015.  The position will remain open until it is filled.  Please email all materials to TLCVapplication@gmail.com

Texas League of Conservation Voters and Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund are equal opportunity employers.

Commentary: Bills limiting residents’ input mess with Texas

April 17th, 2015

Contested Case Hearing Reform Is a Solution in Search of a Problem

By Rita Beving, Alliance for a Clean Texas

Texans use an important process called “Contested Case Hearings” to protect private property interests, community and neighborhood health, and the environment. Unfortunately, the contested case hearing process is under attack by big special interests who are trying to gut the process and erect barriers to meaningful citizen participation through the passage of Senate Bill 709 and House Bill 1865.

When a company wants to develop a big project that will impact private property and community health, such as a new landfill, power plant, refinery, cement plant, or wastewater treatment plant, they have to get a permit for these projects from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Citizens who live close to these proposed facilities have an opportunity to request a contested case hearing on the permit at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

A contested case hearing at SOAH is a way for Texas citizens to have an independent and fair hearing on the merits of the proposed environmental permit. Often in contested case hearings, issues are raised about the impact of a proposed project on a community or the environment which were missing from the draft permit. One case from the Dallas area highlighted how a draft permit would allow a proposed landfill to leach harmful chemicals into a river and aquifer used for drinking water. That project was later scrapped.

Gutting the contested case hearing process is a solution in search of a problem.

Despite arguments from business interests, contested case hearings are extremely rare. In the last five years, of the thousands of permit applications received by TCEQ, about 1% ended up going to a contested case hearing. Business interests also argue that TCEQ does not issue permits expediently compared to other states. This is simply not true. For example, research by Public Citizen shows that compared to many other states Texas issues air permits relatively quickly.

One of the biggest problems with the bills big business interests are pushing is that they switch the “burden of proof” from deep-pocketed applicants to Texas citizens. This means that citizens would be responsible for proving at SOAH there is a problem with the draft permit.

This is profoundly unfair in two ways. First, it is not the citizens who are asking the state for permission to potentially pollute the environment and impact a community — the applicant should have to prove its case. Second, applicants often have a bevy of high-priced attorneys working in their corner — shifting the financial burden in administrative hearings to Texas citizens, generally with less resources, stacks the deck deeply in favor of industry.

The bills also erect other barriers to citizen participation in contested case hearings, and set unrealistic time frames on how long cases at SOAH may last.

SB 709 and HB 1865 are unneeded bills that mess with Texans, and mess with Texas. If Texas legislators care about the health and welfare of their constituents, private property rights and a clean environment, they should reject this misguided legislation.

Rita Beving is coordinator of the Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT). ACT is an alliance of environmental, public interest, consumer rights and religious organizations dedicated to improving public health, quality of life and the environment in Texas by working for change through public education and at the regulatory and legislative levels. Online at www.acttexas.org

Public Health and Clean Energy Under Attack in Texas

March 26th, 2015

Serious attacks on public health and clean energy are advancing at the Texas Legislature.  Chip in to TLCV to fight back today.

This week a Senate Committee sent two very dangerous bills to the Senate Floor.

First, the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee passed SB 1165, which could undo every local oil and gas drilling ordinance in the state, including those which have been on the books for decades.  Local ordinances which deal with how far “set back” oil and gas drilling has to be from homes, schools, and churches; ordinances dealing with noise and light pollution from oil and gas drilling; and ordinances dealing with drilling in public parks could all be wiped out if they do not meet an arbitrary standard of being “commercially reasonable.”

Second, the Senate Natural Resources Committee passed SB 931, which ends the state’s highly successful renewable energy portfolio standard.  Texas has been a national leader in clean energy, but this bill would do great harm to the further build out of clean energy infrastructure, tethering us to old, dirty power producing technologies.  A similar bill which passed into law in Ohio cost that state hundreds of millions in new clean energy investment.  SB 931 similarly jeopardizes millions of investment dollars lined up for Texas.

TLCV needs your financial support to help fight this and other anti-public health and clean energy legislation.

Chip in today to help us fight at the Capitol and spread the word to Texans that these attacks on public health and clean energy must be stopped.

As always, thank you for all that you do to protect public health and the environment in Texas.

Regards,

David Weinberg
Executive Director
Texas League of Conservation Voters

A Greener Dome: The TLCV Capitol Report – March 10 Edition

March 10th, 2015

In This Issue: Loss of a Conservation Giant, Legislative Update

Remembering a Conservation Giant
Sadly, on March 1st, Texas lost a true conservation hero and champion.  Former Texas Land Commissioner and Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior Bob Armstrong passed away at the age of 82. Because of Bob Armstrong’s decades-long effort, Texas acquired the 212,000 acre property that is now Big Bend State Park. The visitor center was dedicated to Bob last summer and bears his name.  In addition to Bob’s many important accomplishments in public office, the Texas Observer reflected that he was, “a fly fisherman, a pilot, a white-water canoeist, a camper, a hunter, a bird-watcher, an outdoor photographer and a golfer.”  Bob served on the boards of many conservation organizations, including the Texas League of Conservation Voters, which he joined in 2005.  Bob will be deeply missed but his contributions to conservation and the environment in Texas will be felt for generations to come.

Legislative Update
Scores of environmental bills have been filed at the Legislature, and more are surely coming before this week’s filing deadline of March 13.  Some are starting to head to committee.  A very bad local control bill we reported on earlier, HB 540 by Rep. Phil King, is being heard in House State Affairs this week.  If that bill heads to the House floor we will send out a general legislative alert.  Below we highlight legislation TLCV is tracking.  As always, this listing is a snapshot of some important legislation and by no means exhaustive.

The Good
Recycling
HB 87 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint) would increase electronic recycling availability for consumers at large retailers.

Public Safety
HB 684 by Rep. Sheets (R-Dallas) is one of a few bills which would allow rural counties to adopt fire codes.  HB 942 by Rep. Kacal (R-College Station) and SB 528 by Sen. Birdwell (R-Waco) improve safety conditions at facilities housing ammonium nitrate.

Climate Change
HB 2078 and HB 2080 by Rep. Anchia (D-Dallas) would create a Global Climate Change Commission and greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan for Texas.

Budget Transparency + Adequate Parks Funding
HJR 33 by Rep. Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) and SJR 18 by Sen. Estes (R-Wichita Falls) would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require revenue from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to go to parks and parks programs.  Currently only about a third of SGST revenue is used for that purpose.

The Bad
Energy Efficiency
SB 929 by Sen. Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and HB 1736 Rep. Villalba (R-Dallas) would restrict local municipalities’ authority to adopt energy efficiency codes and limit state adoption of new energy codes to every 6 years.

Environmental Penalties
HB 1794 (same as HB 1760) by Rep. Geren (R-Fort Worth) would prevent local governments from protecting their citizens and the environment from negligent and reckless behavior by placing strict limits on environmental damages.

Citizen Participation in Environmental Permitting
SB 709 by Sen. Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and HB 1865 Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) would switch the burden of proof in Contested Case Hearings away from deep-pocketed industry to citizens, and also add restrictions to who can participate in such hearings.

Local Control
HB 1939 by Rep. Rinaldi (R-Irving) would prohibit municipalities from adopting bans on plastic bags.

Clean Energy
SB 931 by Sen. Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) would end the state’s highly successful renewable energy portfolio standard.

The Ugly
Local Control
Not content to file only one bill on the subject, Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) made sure she was covering all bases on local control on issues involving oil and gas drilling safety by filing SB 720, which prohibits political subdivisions from enacting prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing.

Thank you for all that you do.  You’ll be hearing from us again soon as the pace picks up in the 84th Legislature.

Regards,
David Weinberg
Executive Director
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A Greener Dome: The TLCV Capitol Report – Feb. 10 Edition

February 10th, 2015

Volume 3, Issue 1 + February 10, 2015

In This Issue: The Big Picture, The Senate, The House, The Budget, Legislation

The Big Picture
Gov. Greg Abbott set an aggressive anti-environment and anti-local control agenda early, signaling his opposition to local ordinances involving bags, fracking, and trees. While a smattering of bills have been filed on these issues, momentum for fast-tracking these ideas seems to have stalled.  A bill has yet to be filed involving the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and the state’s leading power utility lobby has indicated it would prefer for the legislature to delay action on the issue.  Senate and House committees have been named, with some notable changes in terms of leadership and jurisdiction.  Many important environmental bills are out, but this is likely only the tip of the iceberg in terms of total legislation filed.  Some key updates on these issues are highlighted below.

The Senate
Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) remains chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, though its title and charge have been expanded to include economic development.  Some issues which might have gone to SNR in the past involving local control on environmental matters are being referred to State Affairs, now chaired by Joan Huffman (R-Houston), with Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) serving as Vice Chair.  Most matters involving water are being referred to Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs, chaired by freshman Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).  Some important issues involving electric markets and power could go to Senate Business & Commerce, now chaired by Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler).

The House
Three important environmental committees have new chairs:  the Environmental Regulation Committee is now chaired by Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria); Energy Resources is now chaired by Drew Darby (R-San Angelo); and Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) moves from Energy over to Natural Resources.  House State Affairs remains largely the same with Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) at the helm.  TLCV is excited that Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) retained his Chairmanship of the International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, where he has signaled he will hold a hearing on climate issues, and that Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) was named Vice Chair of Environmental Regulation.

The Budget 
Senate and House budgets as introduced generally include meager funding increases for state agencies.  One issue TLCV is watching are efforts to have revenue from the state Sporting Goods Sales Tax constitutionally dedicated to go to fund state parks and park programs.  Another issue we are watching is the use of clean air funds in the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) for its intended purpose.  Currently the state uses only about half of the TERP revenue it takes in and the fund has a balance of approximately 1 billion dollars.

Legislation
As always, this list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, just a glimpse of important bills TLCV is tracking.  This list will be expanded throughout the session.

The Good
Sen. Ellis has filed two good bills; SB 77 which deals with the state adopting a climate adaptation plan, and SB 253, which requires reporting on public health impacts for new facilities located in certain low-income and minority communities.  Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) has introduced HB 417, which would improve safety standards at facilities that warehouse ammonium nitrate.

The Bad
Citizen Participation
HB 1247 by Wayne Smith (R-Baytown) would switch the burden of proof in Contested Case Hearings on environmental permit applications to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from deep-pocketed polluters to citizens.

Local Control
HB 540 by Phil King (R-Weatherford) would grant the Attorney General sweeping new powers in deciding whether to allow local referenda to move forward.  SB 360 by Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) would prohibit municipal takings for the purposes of protecting against flooding; protecting public health and safety; and ensuring proper sanitation.  SB 440 by Konni Burton (R-Tarrant) would ban local bans on hydraulic fracturing, no ifs, ands or butts.

Play It Again Sam
Rep Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) has re-filed HB 857, a largely symbolic Koch-brothers bill to end the state’s highly successful renewable energy portfolio standard.  Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale) has re-introduced HB 190, a bill to impose costly and burdensome analysis in rulemaking on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Ugly
Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) has introduced SB 343 — dubbed the Soviet Union bill — which would give elected officials in Austin ultimate supremacy over cities and towns, effectively ending all types of local control.  The bill could have the effect of ending local environmental ordinances (e.g. Austin’s Save Our Springs measure), but also in theory could affect neighborhood zoning (e.g. the placement of nightlife establishments), public safety (e.g. setting speed limits), and quality of life measures (e.g. indoor smoking bans), just to name a few examples.  We don’t expect Huffines bill to advance far in the legislature, but TLCV will be working diligently to ensure it does not.

Your Support Is Critical
TLCV would not be successful at the Capitol and beyond without your generous support.  We ask you to consider making a gift of $10, $25, $50 or more today to support our work through the 2015 Legislative Session.  Together, we can advance a pro-environment and public health agenda at the Capitol and hold legislators accountable for their environmental votes through our biannual legislative scorecard.  Thank you for all that you do.Regards,

David Weinberg
Executive Director

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Thank you and the year ahead from TLCV

December 27th, 2014

The Texas League of Conservation Voters deeply appreciates the support of our donors and friends throughout 2014.

Because of you, we’ve been able to reach voters all across Texas and share information on the key environmental issues and candidates that matter to Texas families and communities. Sadly, this was a tough year as too many of our pro-environment candidates and officeholders fell short, with several notable losses. That means we’re going to have our work cut out for us at the Texas Legislature when lawmakers return to Austin next month.

As we look ahead to the 2015 Texas Legislative Session, here’s where we see some of our biggest challenges and opportunities:

  • Following the tragic events in West, Texas in 2013, the Legislature has an opportunity to make chemical storage safer. House Homeland Security & Public Safety Chairman Joe Pickett has been working diligently on this issue in the interim and has introduced a bill to strengthen fire codes at facilities that house ammonium nitrate.
  • Following the City of Denton, Texas enacting a ban on hydraulic fracturing, we will see bills whose purpose is to curtail the ability of municipalities to have control over oil and gas drilling operations in their city limits. TLCV conducted a poll in the fall that found very strong support for municipal jurisdiction on issues such as pipeline setbacks and environmental controls.
  • The State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) is under legislative Sunset review. SOAH plays an important role in citizen participation in environmental permitting through Contested Case Hearings on environmental permit applications to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Having a clean Sunset bill that does not erode citizen participation in environmental permitting is of great importance.
  • Important deadlines are approaching for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Texas has the ability to create its own plan to comply with the draft rule on decreasing pollution and moving to a clean energy economy, and the legislature can take positive steps to address this in the next session.

As we do each Legislative Session, we keep in touch with our friends and supporters about the issues that matter most. Our regular email updates, action alerts on bills that are moving in the Legislature and opportunities for civic engagement throughout the Legislative process will keep you engaged and informed about pressing environmental issues at the State Capitol. Also during the legislative session, TLCV helps convene a statewide coalition of environmental and public health organizations to maximize our effectiveness and carry our messages at the Capitol.

Deep pocketed special interest groups and industries shouldn’t be allowed to call the shots on environmental policy and sensible regulation that keeps Texas’ air, water and other natural resources clean and safe for all Texans.

With your help we can defend against assaults on the environment this Legislative Session. A gift to support our 2015 advocacy and coalition work supports some of our most critically important programs for the environment in Texas.

Again, thank you for all that you do.

Regards,

David Weinberg
Executive Director

TLCV Endorses Austin Prop. 1 Rail Bond

October 28th, 2014

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TLCV’s David Weinberg Discusses Dangerous Chemical Disclosure on Time Warner Cable’s Capital Tonight

August 14th, 2014
The state’s policy on the disclosure of dangerous chemicals may have faded as a political issue, but one environmental group says it should still be a concern. The executive director for the Texas League of Conservation Voters, David Weinberg, joined us to explain why.

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Click on the picture to watch the segment.  The clip is the third down from the top.