Research from the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Environmental Impact

Energy

For decades, the oil derrick has been the symbol for Texas. The oil industry helped make the state prosperous, but it also made most Americans take cheap energy for granted. We can no longer afford to do that.

 

The future of energy is the nation’s most urgent priority. While there may be disagreement about how much oil is still in the ground, one thing is certain—fossil fuels are not a renewable resource.

 

Politicians talk about renewable energy and “green jobs,” but most fail to take the first vital step in decreasing our nation’s use of fossil fuel—addressing population growth, the root cause of resource consumption.

 

Although Texas is the nation’s biggest wind energy producer and has made progress in its use of renewable energy sources, it’s not enough. The simple fact is that the more people there are in Texas, the more energy is needed.

Reducing per capita use of energy will do little good if overall consumption levels continue to rise exponentially.

The average Texas household consumes

77 million

BTUs per year.

Per household cost

$1,801

Infrastructure

Over the next 40 years, Texas will pay

$53 Billion

to maintain and upgrade its water systems.

Of the 52,561 bridges in Texas

10,232

are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

(That number is expected to rise over the next 10 years.)

Texas motorists pay

$5.7 Billion

per year for extra vehicle repairs and operating costs related to driving on roads in need of repair.

Texas currently has

$12.6 Billion

in infrastructure costs for schools.

Traffic & Pollution

Paving over open spaces is not environmentally friendly. Neither is spending hours stuck in traffic. As Texas metropolitan areas continue to grow, so too will traffic-related pollution. Texas is quickly becoming a commuter nightmare as it lacks any real commitment to public transportation. The slower the traffic, the higher the concentrations of pollution. By 2025, Austin's traffic problem is predicted to be worse than Los Angeles. Are L.A.-style smog alerts far behind?

47%

of Texas' major urban highways

are considered congested.

Sitting in traffic costs Texas motorists

$10 Billion

in lost time and fuel costs while causing

pollution due to emissions and runoff.

Top 3 Gridlock

Spots

 

(delay per year/per commuter)

 

 

Houston

61 hours

Austin

52 hours

Dallas/Fort Worth

53 hours

Texas' carbon emissions are DOUBLE  that of any other state, making it the #1 producer of

hazardous wastes in the U.S., and

8th Largest

carbon emitter in the the world.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, total pollution in Texas increased by 23% from 2001 to 2012.

Water Shortages & Drought

Americans have actually made great strides in water conservation over the last three decades. The problem is that population growth cancels out those efforts.

 

Texans know drought. What they might not know is that population increases exacerbate and prolong the effects of drought; and the situation is only going to worsen.

 

Water may be a renewable resource, but that doesn't mean that it's in infinite supply. The water cycle is a closed system, meaning that we can't add more water to the atmosphere. We have to use what's already there. When we talk about wasting water, what we mean to say is that we are interfering in the cycle in a way that causes it to take longer for usable water to complete the cycle.

 

Texas' energy industry, a boon to the state's economy, also puts a lot of strain on the water table. Traditional oil mining is water-intensive. The surge in fossil fuel extraction via hydraulic fracking is even more so. It may not be long before a gallon of water is more expensive than a gallon of gas.

10 Million

 

Texans are already living under some type of water restriction.

Water is vital to Texas' agricultural and cattle industries. The drought in 2011 resulted in

$3.2 Billion

                           in livestock losses and

 

$4.4 Billion

in agricultural losses (hay, cotton, corn, sorghum and wheat).

81.1%

of the state was in "exceptional drought."

Drought Intensity in Texas

(September 2011)

In 2011, Texas experienced its worst single-year drought on record.

Loss of Open Space, Sprawl

and Crowding

Texas may be a land of wide-open spaces, but with more people moving there than to any other state, it is now smack dab in the middle when it comes to population density (approximately 101.2 people per square mile).

 

Population density measures people divided by land area, which can distort the effects of population growth and the issue of crowding in a state this size. But no matter how you look at it, more people means the loss of farmland, forests and open space to accommodate the need for new housing and roads; ultimately leading to more sprawl and pollution.

 

Open spaces in Texas are disappearing at a rapid pace, and this has a profound effect on the health of the environment. Sprawl displaces native wildlife and mars the diverse landscape that makes Texas a unique place to live.

 

Fast-food restaurants, big box stores, and golf courses are now replacing farms and forests.

 

Development in Texas results in the loss of more than

360 acres of farmland

every day

 

 

"No Farms, No Food" is more than a bumper sticker campaign.

Losing farmland can lead to more aggressive farming methods including the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that threaten not only the environment, but also public health.

Less than 15%

of the Cross Timbers forest remains.

 

When forests are cut down to accommodate more development, the forest industry as well as the state economy are affected. Not to mention the incalculable losses to the environment, such as the natural pollution and flood control that forests provide.

 

Half of the

1.2 million acres

of coastal wetlands

have been destroyed.

 

SOURCES

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