Houston Environmental News Update June 21, 2017

Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

I’m sure all of you know that Friday is United Nations Public Service Day. The UN Public Service Day celebrates the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlights the contribution of public service in the development process; recognizes the work of public servants, and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

We rely on public servants to preserve our environment and protect our quality of life, and we join the UN in celebrating them and their work.

CEC has been excited to have, over the past few years, a handful of amazing interns helping us review the work of some local public servants. Currently, summer intern Andrea Zamora is reviewing Houston City Council agendas for items pertaining to the environment, and will be reporting on agendas of the Texas Railroad Commission (whose June 27 meeting has been cancelled, and whose next commission meeting is scheduled for August). She’s taking over for Kelly Clifford, who has accepted a prestigious internship with a US Representative, but who is still following an open records request to the RRC regarding agenda items about two letters to the EPA about the Federal Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. We are curious. Are you?

Some of favorite public servants right now are at NOAA, the National Oceanographc and Atmospheric Administration. They’ve been busy tracking Tropical Storm Cindy for us. They’ve also got fascinating reports on the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, predicted to be the largest ever this year; excessive heat; global fish crime; the second warmest year to date; global coral bleaching; how to identify, avoid, and hopefully survive a rip tide; and 30 Days of Ocean. NOAA just celebrated Sea Turtle Week, and that’s where our header photo comes from: a story on the Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project. Developed to help restore turtle populations affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this project is a collaboration between NOAA, the Department of Interior, and the State of Texas.


CEC NOTES

Environment Matters: Katie Jones, American Lung Association, Houston Office
On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at 6:00 pm, join the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC) at Axelrad for Environment Matters, a monthly gathering for anyone interested in the environment. This month, Katie Jones, the executive Director of the Houston Office of the American Lung Association, will share information about the Houston region’s grade in the ALA State of the Air Report. Grab a seat & beverage for an inclusive and interactive get together. Learn from experts, find out about local events, and enjoy the fun! If you are new to the Houston environmental community, this will be a great event to connect. Sign up for updates on facebook.


Environmental MidYear-In-Review Survey

Halfway through each year (and again at the end of the year), we like asking our readers to tell us what they might put on a top-ten list of the most important things impacting the environment in the Houston region this year. Here’s what we’ve got so far (in no particular order):

  • Passing the City of Houston Bike Plan
  • Preventing the Texas Legislature’s ban on local reusable bag regulations
  • Trump pulling US out of Paris Climate Accord
  • Toxic Substance Control Act is updated and called The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
  • San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund 100% removal of dioxin proposed
  • People’s Climate March (and Women’s March & Science March)
  • Climate change & related flooding/storm surge threat
  • Threat of widening of I45, which is proposed to cover Little White Oak and impose even greater air quality, noise pollution, and lack of connectivity burdens on a large, mostly disadvantaged part of Houston
  • Legislative effort to remove municipalities’ ability to regulate local issues such as tree preservation that are essential to combating urban heat island effect
  • Trump Administration Proposes Steep EPA Budget Cuts (more information available on the website of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies)

You are welcome to add information at any time during the year, and we will be asking again at the end of the year. Curious about past suggestion? Check out 2016 results.


Greater Houston Environmental Summit & Environmental Education Expo
Annually, CEC hosts a networking and learning event for the extraordinary people who work at or are interested in the work of environmental organizations in the greater Houston region. In 2017, CEC will be hosting the Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 4, 2017, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Community Resource Center at the United Way of Greater Houston. In addition to excellent keynote presentations and panels, we will again offer small-format table talks. We will feature a panel in conjunction with EarthShare of Texas, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We are partnering with a variety of environmental education collaboratives to offer an Environmental Education Expo for teachers and informal educators. If you are interested in exhibiting at the EE Expo, please contact Marina@cechouston.org. We’re taking suggestions & proposals for the table talks, so if you have an issue you’d like to learn about or share with the environmental community, drop us a line at rachel@cechouston.org.


Earth Day Houston 2018
Thank you to everyone who joined us to discuss Earth Day Houston 2018. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 21, 2017, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Community Resource Center of the United Way of Greater Houston. To learn more or be added to the mailing list, please contact marina@cechouston.org.


Sign Up for Reliant Eco-Share, Support CEC

Reliant--EcoShare-Banner-bluebonnetsCEC is pleased to be a beneficiary in the  Reliant EcoShare Program, a way that Texans can support the CEC and offset their own carbon production at the same time. Reliant and EarthShare of Texas have launched a program that allows Reliant customers to help reduce their carbon footprints through the purchase of carbon offsets. And for each customer-purchased offset, Reliant will make a contribution to EarthShare of Texas and its participating organizations, including CEC! For more information, visit the EcoShare webpage.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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Mississippi Wildlife Federation seeks Coastal Programs Coordinator (full time)

MWF is seeking a motivated individual to represent the programs and advocacy efforts of MWF along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The person selected for this position will be responsible for the management, development and delivery of MWF coastal programs as well as representing the Federation at various meetings and events throughout Mississippi and beyond. This employee will be part of a highly engaged team of MWF staff and volunteers dedicated to the conservation of Mississippi’s coastal natural resources and the protection of our wildlife legacy. The primary duties of the position will be centered around (but not limited to) an ongoing campaign to engage sportsmen/women in the restoration of Gulf ecosystems through oil spill recovery funding as well as the coordination and continued development of MWF’s Habitat Stewards volunteer program.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in natural resource management, fish, wildlife ecology or related fields is preferred
  • Minimum of two years of relevant work experience in natural resources management, communications or relevant field
  • Must be familiar with conservation issues related to Mississippi Gulf Coast including oil spill recovery/restoration as it relates to hunting/angling interests
  • Strong background and interest in hunting/angling is helpful
  • Ability to work and develop programs independently as well as work with a team on larger efforts
  • Strong written and oral communication skills required
  • Ability to organize volunteers towards individual projects as well as larger advocacy campaigns
  • Working knowledge of all aspects of Microsoft Office programs
  • Experience with conservation advocacy and conservation issues
  • Experience in working with a diversity of conservation volunteers, constituents and organizations
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships among targeted constituencies

For a more detailed description of the position visithttp://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org

To Apply: Send cover letter expressing interest and qualifications, along with resume to Brad Young at byoung@mswf.org. Application deadline is July 15, 2017 or until position is filled.

Houston City Council Agenda – June 20 & 21, 2017

The city will consider the following agenda items at the June 20 & 21, 2017, Houston Council Meeting.

  • 11 & 12 – Approval of fund for Applied Industrial Technologies for Bearings, Seal, Couplings and Wastewater Related Hardware items to not exceed amount $888,000.00, for the Department of Public Works & Engineering. Approval of fund for HD Supply Waterworks LTD for Water Service Connections to not exceed $1,810,322.55 for the Department of Public Works & Engineering.
  • 23 – This ordinance amends the City of Houston Ordinance passed September 14, 2016 which authorized submission of the City of Houston Action Plan for Disaster Recovery – 2015 Flood Events to reallocate $11,143,507.21 from Housing Buyout and Planning line items to the Facilities and Improvements (Infrastructure) line item.
  • 41 – This ordinance approves and authorizes sole source contract between the City of Houston and Environmental Systems Research Institute for Enterprise License Agreement and related services for Houston information Technology Services, providing a maximum contract amount – 3 years – $3,480,000.00 – Central Service Revolving Fund.
  • 47 – This ordinance appropriates $634,000.00 for the Environmental Remediation, Underground Storage Tank Removal and Demolition Services Task Order Contracting Program for City facilities and dangerous buildings.
  • 49 – This ordinance appropriates $285,048.45 out of Parks Consolidated Construction Fund, awarding construction contract to DNB Enterprises Inc. for Underground Storage Tank Removal, Remediation and Aboveground Storage Tank Installation at Hermann Park Maintenance Facility.
  • 58 – This ordinance authorizes transfer of $2,983,707.84 from NEWPP Expansion-Swift Fund to PWE-NEWPP Construction Fund, appropriating $15,664,466.16 out of Water Authorities Capital Contrib-NEWPP Fund and approving the expenditure of both sums as the fifth additional appropriation to Professional Engineering Services Contract between the City of Houston and Carollo Engineers Inc.
  • 62, 63, 64, 65 – This ordinance appropriates $2,609,700.00 out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund to award contract to Industrial TX Corp. for Almeda Sims Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sludge Processing Facility Improvements. This ordinance appropriates $4,400,000.00 out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund to award contract to E.P. Brady Ltd. for Sewer Service Improvements. This ordinance appropriates $1,027,000.00 out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund to award contract to Texas Pride Utilities LLC. for Force Main Renewal and Replacement for Piping Rock and Woodsman Trail. This ordinance appropriates $3,975,000.00 out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund to award contract to Resicom Inc. for Water Main Replacement in Richmond Area.