In order to address the pressing matter of climate change, seventeen Texas Democrats are launching an environment and energy caucus. Their goal is mainly focused on bringing the subject into the state’s legislative agenda this year.
Environmental issues have often been ignored by the lone star state in the past. The last session didn’t hold a single hearing on any bill related to climate change.
The caucus is being led by state Rep. Erin Zwiener from Driftwood, with many representatives from major cities also joining. During a press conference last week, Zwinener stated that they hope to address a variety of topics regarding sustainability, such as how to accelerate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, reduce greenhouse gases and improve cleanup efforts in communities of color to prevent chemical explosions.
Another major goal of the caucus is to have the Legislature properly educated on this matter. “We want the Legislature to be led by science on this issue,” said Rep. Rafael Anchía from Dallas.
Additionally, worldwide trends in the energy and transportation industries are switching over to cleaner sources of energy, and Texas shouldn’t fall behind. The state already has Tesla building an automotive manufacturing facility near Austin to build electric vehicles. Right now, Texas has the unique opportunity to become a major reference point for clean energy industries.
Additionally, the devastating effects of climate change are already impacting Texans, with stronger hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast, hotter summers, and water shortages. Not to mention the severe snowstorms that the state is experiencing.
To make matters worse, those more severely affected by these disastrous events are primarily Black and Latino communities. Due to the historical government-imposed housing segregation practices, minorities often reside in areas with higher flood risks and closer to polluting industries.
“We believe these should be nonpartisan issues,” said Rep. Ron Reynolds, “We can all fundamentally agree that we should have clean air, water, and an environment. We’re not a partisan caucus.”