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Where politics, government and energy intersect.

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What Could Reduce The Risk Of Another Catastrophic Oil Well Blowout?

A little before 10 o’clock on the night of April 20th, 2010 multiple explosions blew apart the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Eleven crew members died, 17 more were injured while nearly 100 others narrowly escaped. In the five years since, the drilling industry says it has dramatically changed how it does business to make it [...]

As Deadline Nears for Texas Haze Rule, A Look at How Lawsuits Shape Regulation

Note: This is a text version of a previously posted radio story. One week remains for the public to comment on an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reduce smog in one of Texas most beloved national parks. The EPA’s plan to limit so-called ‘regional haze’ is one of a slew of new air quality rules [...]

Proposed Law Would Allow Houston To Regulate Mountains Of Coal

State lawmakers are proposing legislation to deal with something we reported on this past December: giant piles of petroleum coke or “pet coke.” It’s a form of coal piling up along the Houston Ship Channel, and it’s leading to complaints from some nearby residents. We recently reported how black mountains of petroleum coke could be seen along [...]

Five Years After BP Spill, What’s Killing Gulf Dolphins?

It was five years ago next month that a BP oil drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of crude spilled into the water. Damage was done to aquatic life. But is the spilled oil now to blame for the deaths of hundreds of dolphins? “The magnitude and [...]

This Dam Holds in Lady Bird Lake, So When Will It Get ‘Essential’ Repairs?

The poor condition of the dam that holds in the waters of Austin’s beloved Lady Bird Lake continues to vex city officials.  Emails obtained in a public information request reveal challenges the city faced in performing maintenance on Longhorn Dam, which crosses the Colorado River beneath Pleasant Valley Road. Documents tell of water lost through the [...]

How Texas Challenges The Power Of Cities And Their Citizens

In a speech last month, Governor Greg Abbott said his state was becoming more like California because cities are banning things like fracking or the cutting down of trees. The Texas Legislature may soon debate passing laws to stop those local initiatives. But is that so new? When Governor Abbott expressed dismay at what city governments [...]

Environmental Group Wants Loophole Closed On Oil And Gas Pollution

Lawsuit Filed in Washington Hits Home With Houston’s Biggest Industry According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the biggest source of air pollution in Texas are oil and gas wells, emitting far more pollution than petrochemical plants or refineries. Yet, federal law exempts those drilling operations from having to report all their chemical releases to [...]

Tragedies In Texas: Why Senators Say New Chemical Safety Rules Are Needed

Accidents at facilities that handle dangerous chemicals in Texas were at the center of a hearing in Washington. Accidents at facilities that handle dangerous chemicals in Texas were at the center of a hearing in Washington. Some senators are pressing for quick action to reduce the risk of deadly chemical leaks and explosions. They wanted to [...]

Federal Investigators: Chemical Industry Has A Safety Crisis

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says the industry it oversees is experiencing a safety crisis. The board investigates industrial accidents. It says recent deadly explosions and chemical leaks in Texas make a strong case for action. It’s been a tragic couple of years for some people who work around dangerous chemicals in Texas. “Fertilizer plant [...]

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