Six common crashes between bikes and cars, tax free shopping for ENERGY STAR, water quality success story, and award winners in Texas

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Sales Tax Holiday on Energy Star Products

Save Money on ENERGY STAR Products

Tax Breaks on Efficient Products

During Memorial Day weekend, all Texas shoppers will receive a break from state and local sales and use taxes on the purchase of certain ENERGY STAR products. This sales tax holiday will run from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 30.

See a list of products qualifying for the sales tax exemption on our blog.

There are also federal tax credits available for certain purchases in 2015 and 2016. Find out if you meet the qualifications for federal tax credits. 

About ENERGY STAR

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ENERGY STAR is a widely recognized and trusted label on products that meet strict energy-efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label will help you save energy and money without sacrificing features or functionality. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on over 65 different types of products found in our homes and workplaces. Learn more about Energy Star.

Advanced Technology

Through advanced technology, ENERGY STAR products are able to save money and energy without sacrificing performance. For example, ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers have “smart” features that minimize water use and demand on the water heater, and allow for less pre-rinsing. Sensors in these dishwashers are able to determine the length of the wash cycle and the temperature of the water necessary to fully clean the dishes. ENERGY STAR clothes washers also contain sensor technology that controls water temperature and volume, which saves water in each load. 

With summer just around the corner, you might consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR thermostat or air conditioning unit. Both of these items are eligible for the Memorial Day weekend sales and use tax holiday. ENERGY STAR thermostats allow users to program their systems to reduce heating and cooling in their homes when it isn’t needed. Users can establish and adjust settings based on their family’s schedule.

Check out our blog to find out more ways to stay cool without increasing your energy bill this summer.

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How Bikes and Cars Can Safely Share the Road

Bikes and Cars Commuting

Did you know that the number of Americans biking to work grew by about 60 percent between 2000 and 2012? There are many reasons people bike and there can be great personal and environmental benefits. However, biking also presents risks for both riders and drivers. Understanding and following the rules of the road reduces the risk of collision and makes it easier for bikes and cars to safely share the road.  

Six Common Causes of Crashes

According to the Texas Transportation Code, a bicycle is considered to be a vehicle and cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. By being predictable, drivers and riders can make it easier for everyone to share the road. Being predictable means using signals, obeying the rules, and driving or riding as expected.

Both cyclists and motorists make mistakes, but it is the cyclist who is likely to be injured or killed in a crash. Children suffer 20 percent of all bicycle injuries. Here are six common ways that crashes occur.

Bike and Car Crash
  1. Motorist does not see or misjudges the speed of oncoming bicycle traffic and turns left in front of the rider.
  2. Bicycle rides out into the street without stopping or looking for oncoming traffic. Drivers expect all entering traffic to yield. Riders should look left-right-left before entering a road.
  3. Motorist turns right across the path of a rider. Motorists should merge with bicycle traffic when preparing to turn right.
  4. Rider turns or swerves suddenly into the path of a motorist. Cyclists should ride in straight, predictable lines and use hand signals.
  5. At a stop sign or red light, motorists often fail to yield the right-of-way to bicycle cross traffic and riders often fail to stop. At intersections, the right-of-way applies equally to motor vehicles and bicycles.
  6. Bicyclist rides in the wrong direction. Drivers do not expect traffic to come from the wrong direction. This type of crash is often deadly.

Road Rules Trivia

How savvy are you? Test your knowledge of the rules of the road with these three trivia questions. Check your responses on our blog!

  1. Are bikes allowed on sidewalks?
  2. Can bicyclists receive the same penalties for traffic violations as drivers?
  3. What do these bike hand signals mean?
Bike Hand Signals

May is National Bike Month

National Bike Month was established to celebrate the many benefits of biking and to encourage people to try it. Communities across Texas are celebrating Bike to Work Day on various dates throughout May. Find out if any events are being planned in your community or check out this guide to learn how to start one.

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Keeping Our Water Clean

Leaking Toxic Substances Contribute to NPS Pollution

What is nonpoint source pollution?

Nonpoint source pollution, also called runoff, results when contaminants from a variety of sources are carried by rainfall into surface water and groundwater sources. Pollutants include fertilizers, herbicides, oil, sediment, and bacteria and can come from natural and human‑made sources.

What is the TCEQ doing about nonpoint source pollution?

The Nonpoint Source Management Program at the TCEQ plans and implements voluntary projects to protect and restore Texas water bodies affected by nonpoint source pollution.

Success Story

Water Quality Improvements in the Concho River

In 2002, a five-mile portion of the Concho River failed to meet water quality standards. Aquatic life in the river, which runs through San Angelo, Texas, has been affected by urban runoff as well as low water flow. Many organizations worked together to implement best management practices and programs to improve the water quality and reduce additional pollution. These efforts resulted in the removal of 3,273 tons of sediment and debris from the stormwater. In 2012, the river was removed from Texas’ list of impaired waters for, once again, meeting water quality standards! Read more about the Concho River Success Story and TCEQ’s Nonpoint Source Management Program.

What can I do to reduce nonpoint source pollution?

Pick Up Pet Waste

Pollutants come from the everyday activities of many different people, therefore it is difficult to control. In your yard, use only the recommended amount of pesticides and fertilizers as excess can be washed away into nearby waterways. Never pour oil down storm drains. Instead, locate a recycling center and take your oil there. Pick up your pet’s waste as the bacteria can contaminate water. Every three to four years, have your septic system inspected and pumped to prevent leaks. Find out more about how to reduce nonpoint source pollution.

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Reader Survey

Your Opinion Counts

Readers, would you take a few minutes to answer some questions about this newsletter? Take the survey for a chance to win a $25 H-E-B gift card. The survey is anonymous and your feedback will help us make newsletters more useful for you!

Follow Us On Instagram for a Chance to Win

Contest on Instagram

For a chance to win a $50 gift card, provided by our generous sponsor H-E-B, follow us on Instagram and like the contest post.


Kids Art Contest Winners Announced

2016 Art Contest Grand Prize Winner

The How Do You Take Care of Texas? Elementary School Art Contest received 3,991 entries—an increase of 1,355 over last year! It was extremely difficult to select just 16 winners from such beautiful, creative, and inspiring artwork.

Gabriella Almaguer, a 4th grade student at Driscoll Elementary School, was selected as the grand prize winner (artwork pictured right). She was awarded a Samsung laptop at the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards banquet during the Environmental Trade Fair and Conference in Austin. Gabriella’s teacher, Frank Barrera, also received a Samsung tablet. Fifteen regional winners, selected from each of the TCEQ regional offices, were also awarded Samsung tablets. See all the winning artwork on our website.

We'd like to thank all the students and teachers who participated and our sponsor, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, for their generosity! Teachers and parents can now download a Certificate of Participation to recognize any participating students. Join our Art Contest mailing list to ensure that you are in the loop when next year's contest launches.

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Texas Environmental Excellence Awards

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On May 4, the TCEQ hosted a banquet to honor the 2016 winners of the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. Held in Austin as part of the Environmental Trade Fair and Conference, this celebration of environmental achievements is hosted by the commissioners of the TCEQ.

The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards celebrate the efforts of citizens, communities, businesses, and organizations to preserve and protect the Texas environment. 

Each year the Office of the Governor and the TCEQ commissioners give the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards to honor outstanding achievements in environmental preservation and protection. 

The 2016 winners are Brockriede & Lalk Brothers Farms, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, City of San Marcos & Texas State University, San Antonio Water System, Trevor Hance, Fort Worth Water Department, Dell, Inc., The University of North Texas Science Education Research Lab, and Kiowa Recycling Center.

Know a great environmental project? The public may nominate an individual, community, company, or organization for an award. Applications for the 2017 awards will open this summer.

  Learn More!