Rep. Zwiener to lead new Texas Caucus on Climate, Environment, and the Energy Industry
Seventeen members of the Texas House of Representatives have formed the first-ever Texas Caucus on Climate, Environment, and the Energy Industry. The caucus will be chaired by Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood), our Representative for District 45.
Rep. Zwiener said the caucus will “push the conversation on environmental issues forward by seeking pragmatic opportunities to protect our air and water, create a path forward for Texas on climate change, and seek opportunities to encourage clean energy industrial development to keep Texas a leader in shifting global energy markets.”
The inaugural officers and several founding members held a virtual press conference Wednesday to officially launch the caucus. Members of the caucus come from across the State of Texas, including urban and rural interests.
“We believe environmental issues are not being adequately addressed yet in the Texas Legislature. Climate legislation is often ignored entirely and then we scramble to address some of the effects of climate change by mitigating the harms of flooding and drought across the state,” Rep. Zwiener said.
“When we silo environmental issues, we miss the bigger picture and fail to achieve comprehensive solutions. Environmental policy is inherently interdisciplinary. For instance, when we talk about climate change it requires us to consider the energy sector, structural racism, emergency management, infrastructure, economic risk, state and local budgets, agriculture and our water supply.”
Today, the inaugural officers and founding members of the Texas Caucus on Climate, Environment, and the Energy Industry…
While not having the formal power of a House or Senate committee, forming a caucus gives the new body the ability to hold hearings and raise funds, as well as creating a potential voting block on issues.
The caucus “will aim to raise awareness on these issues and serve as a source for scientifically based information on these critical environmental issues so that the Texas Legislature can make meaningful progress while remaining a leader in the fast-changing energy market,” Rep. Zwiener said.
Members of the caucus said they believe they can work with Republicans on a range of issues that include electric vehicle infrastructure, incentivizing carbon capture and continuing to build on Texas fast-growing wind and solar industries.
Texas leads the nation in energy generated by wind power, while solar energy is projected to be the fastest-growing contributor to the state’s power grid in the next three years.
Members of the caucus expressed concern that workers in the oil and gas industries don’t get left behind in the transition to a new energy economy in Texas.
- Texas Tribune: Texas House Democrats launch climate, environment caucus with one goal: Talk about climate change in the Legislature
- Austin American-Statesman: To address ‘overwhelming’ problem of climate change, Texas House Democrats form new caucus
Follow the caucus’s social media pages for updates: