Defend our Trees!

The following is a letter from Annalisa Peace, of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, of which Bexar Audubon Society is a member:

Dear GEAA members and friends,

Perhaps Governor Greg Abbot favors this landscape as “the Texas Brand”…

… but, we love a different view Texas.  We love our trees. That’s why we’ve approved local tree preservation ordinances in over 50 Texas cities.  Our local ordinances are now threatened by Governor Abbott.

Governor Abbott’s attack on tree preservation is especially obnoxious because a compromise bill, SB 744, was hammered out during the regular session.  Instead of focusing on the cost of tree mitigation, SB 744 provided property owners with incentives for reforestation. Cities retained broad latitude to enforce their existing ordinances. The bill unanimously passed both chambers of the Legislature. Yes, you read that right; something on a subject this controversial actually passed our Texas legislature without a single dissenting vote.

On June 15th, SB 744 was vetoed by Governor Abbott. The Governor instead favors obtaining an outright abolition of tree ordinances in the special session call. 

The vehicles threatening our trees are HB 70 filed by Representative Paul Workman and SB 14, filed by Senator Bob Hall. It is truly discouraging that the House bill was filed by a member representing the Texas Hill Country.  The special session is like the legislative session on steroids.  So, we will be working hard to keep you informed about what you can do to Defend Texas Trees during the next month. 

You can click here to sign a petition that will be sent to Governor Abbot, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker of the House Joe Straus and to your state senators and representatives.

The League of Women Voters of Texas has also provided a way to contact your state representative and senator – Save your communities’ tree ordinances!

And, you can call your City Council Member & involve your community. Here is what to say!

The Tree Attack Bill (SB 14) will be heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee this Saturday, 7/22, at 9:a.m. at Room E1.016 at the State Capitol. The witness registration will open at 8:00am, and will close at Noon.  You may register for this hearing using the Senate kiosk located in the extension hallways.  Public testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. If submitting written testimony, please provide 20 copies to the committee clerk with your name and bill number on each copy.  Please mark on your electronic witness registration if you are providing written testimony.  You can also sign up at the kiosk to register opposition to SB 14 if you do not wish to speak.

If you can’t make it to the Capitol for the hearing, you can register your opposition to SB 14 via phone or e-mail to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee Members

We urge you to take action today.  Let’s all dig in to Defend Texas Trees!

Annalisa Peace

Executive Director
Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance