TRICIA CORTEZ: ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALIST

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
JULY  2018

TEXAS SUPREME COURT RULING RE:   LAREDO PLASTIC BAG ORDINANCE


  Tricia Cortez of Laredo, Texas,  joined the Rio Grande International Study Center in May 2010, where she currently serves as executive director of Laredo’s only environmental nonprofit organization.   She is responsible for carrying out its mission to protect and preserve our only source of drinking water – the Rio Grande – and local green spaces. She is deeply committed to sustainable land-use practices, habitat protection, responsible water management, and improved quality of life for South Texas border residents.

A San Antonio native, Tricia graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s degree in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. She moved to Laredo in 2001 and worked seven years as a senior reporter at the Laredo Morning Times. She drank the water, and the rest is history!

Tricia remains in awe of the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo, and how much life this river gives each day to millions of people in the U.S. and Mexico. Constant respect and protection of this mighty yet neglected and endangered river must remain a top priority for our community. She hopes that each of you will join RGISC in this ongoing effort.

TRICIA CORTEZ
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
RIO GRANDE INTERNATIONAL STUDY CENTER

June 22, 2018
Laredo, TX
“Pecos Bill just shot 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.
“Too much is at stake,” Corrtez said. “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.”
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 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.
RGISC, an environmental nonprofit, helped lead a 10-year campaign to ensure passage of the Laredo ordinance through the Laredo City Council.
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.
RGISC | 1 West End Washington Street, Bldg. P-11, Laredo, TX  78040 |
Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), 1 West End Washington Street, Bldg. P-11, Laredo, TX 78040
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