“Even if we just get normal rainfall it would be great,” Gammon tells StateImpact Texas. “But the trouble is any gaps in rain will cause things to dry out again. It’s more a matter of getting repeated regular rain than any single amount.”
Matt Stamey Staff photographer, Gainesville Sun /Landov
Only a small fraction of bills filed at the state legislature are ever passed into law.
For the past six months, StateImpact Texas covered dozens of bills as they moved through the Texas legislature. In that time, we’ve seen a lot of measures fall by the wayside. Remember reading up on a bill here, and wondering where it ended up? Well, we’ve compiled a list of the so-called “dead bills” covered in the past by StateImpact Texas.
HB 55, by Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, would have ended tax exemptions to natural gas drillers in the state. Burnam filed a similar bill last legislative session that fared the same fate as this one.
Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, filed HB 100, which he said would reduce Co2 emissions by making carbon gasses more valuable to drillers looking to extract more oil and gas from unitized fields. It, along with HB 1496, which Taylor said would change the state’s eminent domain rules, was left pending in committee in March.
Levels on some of the state's reservoirs have reached record lows for this time of year. In general, reservoir levels are lowest in November and December.
Statewide reservoir levels are at their lowest point ever for this time of year, according to National Weather Service Southern Region climate program manager Victor Murphy. Murphy says many reservoir levels have not changed much since November, which is when reservoirs are typically at their lowest.
“Quite honestly we should be higher,” Murphy says. “We should have been seeing improvements and we’ve been flat-lined since about mid January. Absent of any unforeseen major rain events, when summer starts rolling around, we should start to see some drop off in these values.”
In East Texas, reservoir levels have remained steady. Recent rains have also pulled some of the coastal areas completely out of the drought. But much of the rest of the state may not feel relief any time soon. Continue Reading →
Some of the Texas panhandle drought conditions worsened in the past week, according to maps from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
More than two percent of Texas worsened to exceptional drought from last week. The U.S. Drought Monitor maps released today show more of the panhandle in the most serious drought category. Last week, just over 10 percent of the state was considered to be in exceptional drought- now it’s pushing 13 percent.
The second most severe level of drought also saw an increase in the percentage of Texas afflicted. This increase, too, was seen predominately in and around the panhandle.
And recent weather may have brought an uninvited guest: bees.
HB 2133, would allow the state to use alternative techniques in water treatment, namely desalination. The bill also promotes water reuse.
Another of Larson’s bills promotes underground storage facilities as an alternative to drawing water from lakes, where more water is lost to evaporation. HB 3013, the aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) bill, also changes the role of the groundwater conservation districts for the future of the state’s water.
The latest NOAA drought outlook shows possible improvement for a larger part of the state than in the past forecast.
More of Texas could begin to recover from the drought in the coming months, but it may not be soon enough to save many of the state’s crops.
The three-month outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, released Thursday, shows a larger portion of the state possibly improving than in a previous forecast, with much of East Texas listed as “likely to improve” or having “some improvement,” however the drought is forecast to “persist or intensify” in the Western half of the state.
Though the US Drought Monitor Map released Thursday shows no difference in how much of the state is experiencing drought this week, it does show less of Texas under the two most severe drought stages. Much of this exceptional drought is in deep South Texas, where it is taking a toll on crops. Continue Reading →
Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, TX. A new bill would make it easier to transfer the wastewater by pipeline instead of by truck, potentially reducing roadway damage.
Update: The Senate unanimously approved SB 514 from the floor this afternoon, according to a representative from Sen. Davis’ office.
Original Story: A bill that would reform how fracking wastewater moves to disposal wells could pass through the state Senate today.
In the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” millions of gallons of water (along with sand and chemicals) are sent deep underground to break up oil and gas deposits trapped in rock. Some of that fluid comes back up, along with high-salinity water also trapped int those formations. Since it is too dirty to drink, drillers often dispose of it by sending it back underground in a disposal well.
The Northeast and far eastern portions of Texas received some relief with recent rains. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center estimates these regions, along with much of the Midwest, will see improvements in the coming months. Continue Reading →