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Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

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Where politics, government and energy intersect.

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4 Ways Texas Could Win Big Under New Climate Change Rules

Earlier this year, the earth hit a frightening milestone: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached its highest level since humans have inhabited the earth. The last time there was this much carbon on the planet was nearly a million years ago. As the heat-trapping gas proliferates, the world warms, and the climate effects domino: droughts [...]

Don’t Frack on Me: Local Challenges to the Right to Drill

Kelli Barr speaking at public hearing in Denton

In Texas, a government official has warned that groups opposed to fracking might be acting on behalf of Russia. In Colorado, a TV ad portrays fracking opponents as goofy idiots who believe the moon may be made of cheese. The attacks on drilling opponents may reflect how deeply concerned the industry has become over citizen-led [...]

Presidio County Water Managers Offer Answers, but Citizens Have More Questions

From Marfa Public Radio:  Two weeks ago, a small group of citizens vocalized concerns over Marfa’s practice of selling bulk water to clients outside the city. “Our water is too cheap. It needs to be expensive. We need water conservation. We need to think about that,” said Buck Johnston. Two weeks ago the Marfa resident [...]

Texas Slams EPA Website that Compares State Pollution Enforcement

Petrochemical complex in the Freeport/Lake Jackson area

Compared to other states, Texas has a consistently higher percentage of major industrial plants with “high priority violations” of air pollution laws. Yet, compared to other states, Texas does far fewer comprehensive inspections of polluting facilities. Or at least, that’s what data seem to show on website run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Not [...]

New Study Shows Rate of Groundwater Decline Slowing in Texas

Scientists at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have published the first long-term statewide survey of Texas groundwater. According to the study, statewide median groundwater levels fell by about 70 feet, or 22 meters, between 1930 and 2000, although the changes vary greatly between areas of the state. The rate of decline in groundwater levels has slowed [...]

Houston’s One Bin for All Recycling Proposal Divides Environmentalists

From Houston Public Media: The City of Houston hopes to eventually do away with curbside recycling and allow residents to throw all of their trash and recycleables into one bin. The items would then be sorted and separated at a processing facility and city leaders claim they can divert 75 percent of the waste from [...]

Marfa Residents Protest City Water Sales

From Marfa Public Radio:  With reports of drilling activity approaching the Big Bend region, some residents of Marfa are concerned about the city’s practice of selling its water supply in bulk, sometimes to drilling companies. On Thursday, protesters parked and left their cars in front of city fire hydrants, hoping to block trucks from accessing [...]

You May Want to Slow Your Coal Roll in Texas

The world is warming, and there’s heated debate over what to do about it, or if it’s even warming at all. (Hint: It is.) Amidst this debate, some opponents of government regulations and environmental policy have taken up protest by retrofitting their diesel trucks to spew billowing clouds of black, noxious smoke. When the soot gets [...]

U.S. House Passes Bill Extending Anti-Terrorism Safeguards For Chemical Plants

The House of Representatives has passed a bill to extend anti-terrorism protections for chemical plants through 2017. The bill’s lead sponsors included two Houston congressmen – Republican Rep. Michael McCaul and Democratic Rep. Gene Green. The rules governing security for high-risk chemical facilities have been in place since 2007. But under current legislation, they must be renewed annually, along [...]

Winners and Losers in Texas from Greenhouse Gas Ruling

New EPA regulations would place new restrictions on coal-burning power plants, a major source in Texas for greenhouse gases

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week on a lawsuit over how much latitude the federal government has to regulate facilities that emit greenhouse gases, victory was claimed both by environmentalists who want more regulation and by Texas state officials who wants less. Texas and 16 other states brought the action. The Texas Attorney [...]

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