Texas Matters: Ending countywide voting and stifling renewable jobs in Texas

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

Voting in Texas will be even more difficult if the bills pushed by Republican lawmakers become law. There are proposals to end the vote on them universitiesAnd The end of county-level votingAnd It is a felony to make voting errors and give Texas Secretary of State has the authority to overturn the election results.

To explain what’s going on with Republican-backed bills and how they might affect democracy in Texas, I’m joined by Katya Erisman. Director of the Common Cause Texas Voting Rights Program.

Sunset TCEQ

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been called the Texas version of the Environmental Protection Agency—but that comparison is a very generous one.

While TCEQ is the environmental agency for the state of Texas, it is known for its refusal to withhold permits for controversial projects, failure to monitor the air after Hurricane Harvey, and indolence with chronic polluters.

Last year, a coalition of 13 organizations requested a federal review of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, alleging that the agency violated civil rights and environmental laws by failing to assess how minority and low-income neighborhoods are affected by air pollution from industrial sites.

But TCEQ supporters may have found a way to silence its critics by cracking down on Texas’ frequent polluters.

All this while the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality undergoes its required sunset review—which happens every ten years.

Martha Peskovski covers these developments for Inside Climate News.

Texas choked on green jobs

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DNY) on Thursday reintroduced the Green New Deal.

This is a sweeping and controversial proposal that seeks to tackle climate change by weaning the nation off fossil fuels while creating millions of well-paying jobs in the clean energy industry.

Texas will certainly benefit from the transition to renewable energy. The state has more wind and solar energy potential than anywhere else in the country.

These provide well-paying jobs in rural areas of the state that are now depopulated due to lack of opportunities.

But elected leaders and lawmakers from the Texas GOP are slowing the transition to renewable energy. They pass laws to limit the growth of solar and wind power, mislead the public about their reliability and spend billions in state money to build more natural gas power plants that critics say won’t fix the grid.

Christopher Teague writes about this discrepancy in his article “Clean energy is booming in Texas. So why are the state’s Republicans trying to stifle it?”

Tigue is a reporter for Inside Climate News.