Laredo's Leading Environmental Organization Since 1994
Texas Supreme Court Issues Ruling: strikes down the Laredo plastic bag ordinance; fight is not over; Laredo to unveil a new awareness campaign for public and retailers
The Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday morning, upholding the decision of the Fourth Court of Appeals in favor of the Laredo downtown merchants to kill the plastic bag ordinance for Laredo and the rest of the state of Texas.
“Pecos Bill just show down Mother Nature in broad daylight,” said Tricia Cortez, executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, a Laredo-based nonprofit that worked on a 10-year campaign to get the Laredo plastic bag ordinance passed.
"This ruling threatens to roll back years of progress and beautification that have already taken place,” Cortez said. "We will continue to fight and we won’t give up."
RGISC and the City of Laredo will unroll a public awareness campaign asking the public and local retailers to stay the course, and to keep making the right changes for Mother Earth.
A joint City-RGISC press conference is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 at 10 am @ the El Portal conference room, 1600 Water Street, 78040.
Cortez noted that this is a hollow victory for the Laredo downtown merchants, since the leader of the group, Les Norton, doesn't even live in Laredo.
"It's amazing that a tiny group of well-funded downtown merchants, headed by someone who doesn't even live in Laredo, could halt progress and beautification efforts for the rest of the 250,000 people who live in this community," she said.
“We ask the people of Laredo and our local retailers to join us in this movement,” Cortez said. “Too much is at stake. The powers that be in Texas may still bow down to big corporate money but the tide will turn in this state. We will be part of that beautiful movement, and we ask the people of Texas and retailers to continue phasing out these unnecessary plastic bags. Plastic bags are real. They clog up the whole environment. This is a big loss for Texas.”
When earlier attempts failed in 2008 due to lobbyists hired by the Laredo downtown merchants, Brownsville took inspiration from Laredo’s efforts and enacted their own ordinance, becoming the first city in Texas to do so. The cities of Austin, South Padre Island, Freer, and Fort Stockton among others soon followed in their footsteps.
To preserve and protect the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo, its watershed and environment, through awareness, advocacy, research, education, stewardship and bi-national collaboration for the benefit of present and future generations.
Thank you to H-E-B for awarding us a grant of $5,000 for our 9th annual Rio Research Roundup! This award-winning binational water testing project involves working with nearly 2,000 students from throughout the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo each October. We also coordinate student teams from smaller river basins that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, too. Teams test water quality in the Rio Grande or one of its tributaries, and submit their data, in addition to short videos, Public Service Announcements, artwork, and short essays. “We are grateful to HEB for this support, which allows us to carry out this quality field-based youth program," said RGISC Executive Director Tricia Cortez. "The Roundup helps us create greater awareness about the river across a large territory, and nurture a new generation of young people who care about the environment." RGISC's 9th annual Rio Research Roundup is set for October 11, 2018.