2021 Year in Review
2021 was a great year for the GLO. We’ve been hard at work, reaching new milestones along the way. From expanding services for Texas Veterans, to cleaning up the Texas coast, generating revenue for schoolchildren, and defending our oil and gas economy, let’s look at some of our accomplishments over the past 12 months…
In February, Commissioner George P. Bush formed the Texas Defense Task Force, a legal means for the GLO to identify and defend Texas from federal overreach.
Shortly after launching the Task Force, Commissioner Bush filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration to build the border wall. The Commissioner later authorized border wall construction on state lands, and this month announced with Governor Abbott that construction has commenced. Securing the border is not only critical for protecting lives but also a key step to protecting property along the border that generates revenue for the Permanent School Fund. Simply put, if Washington won’t act, Texas will. We will not stop until the wall is built and our border is secure.
To further assist overworked border patrol agents and law enforcement officers, the GLO entered into a lease agreement with Customs & Border Protection allowing for the use state of owned land for communications and patrolling operations. A helipad and tactical communications center were installed in Hudspeth County. The GLO stands ready to defend our communities and help end the flow of illegal activity along our border.
Elsewhere within the GLO, the Texas Veterans Land Board has also been busy and hard at work. In August we held a groundbreaking ceremony for our soon-to-be 10th Veterans Home in Fort Worth. This home will honor the famed Tuskegee Airmen. The Fort Worth area is known to have been home to at least five former members of the elite group of World War II military aviators. We were honored to be joined by some of their family members and are excited to expand additional services to Veterans in the DFW area.
One of the most solemn honors we have is providing military honors to those who served yet do not have family or friends to attend their burial after they pass. Through our Unaccompanied Veteran Burial Program — implemented by Commissioner Bush in 2015 — we have laid 169 Veterans to rest with full military honors, ensuring they are not buried alone. The community continues to impress us in showing up to ensure no Veteran is EVER left behind.
Texans continually show their pride in their state by participating in our all-volunteer cleanups sponsored by our Adopt-A-Beach program. Our team has been hard at work cleaning up the Texas coast through rain or shine. During the Spring Cleanup, 1,485 volunteers picked up more than 23,000 pounds of trash. During the Fall Cleanup, 3,559 volunteers picked up more than 58,000 pounds of trash. During the Winter Cleanup, 340 volunteers picked up more than 8,900 pounds of trash.
Another of the GLO’s responsibilities — along with maintaining our coast — involves responding to disasters, whether manmade or natural. Our Oil Spill Prevention and Response team is a critical part of this, helping to clean up oil spills no matter the size. 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of this program, and we are proud of their contributions over the years. They are constantly learning new ways to protect our Texas coastal resources, partnering with our sister agencies, and preparing for disasters.
Another critical mission of the GLO is helping get Texans back into their homes following the devastating losses and damage that occurred as a result of Hurricane Harvey. We recently announced an incredible milestone that we’ve now helped rebuild over 4,000 homes. That’s 4,000 families with new, safe, and resilient housing.
And this year we shattered records, generating $1.07 billion in revenue from oil and gas leases on Permanent School Fund (PSF) land owned by the GLO. That’s a lot of money for the schoolchildren of Texas! There is no better investment than in the futures of these young Texans, and the GLO is proud to support this effort.
2021 was another great year for our team, and we’re excited to see what 2022 has in store for us!