Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas


Where politics, government and energy intersect.

Latest Posts

Obama Rejected Keystone XL, But Crude Flows Through Southern Part of Project

President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline provoked cheers from environmental groups, boos from rival politicians and a little bit of head scratching in the state of Texas. “Technically, from my vernacular, the northern leg of the Keystone XL was rejected because the southern leg of the Keystone XL has been in operation since [...]

Will State Correct A Big Mistake In What Texans Paid For Electricity?

We first reported in June about some so-called “fake profits” in the Texas energy industry that led to a multi-million dollar windfall for some companies. We have been following up to see what can be done to reimburse consumers for what some experts call a serious mistake in pricing electricity. In June, News 88.7 reported [...]

Power To Choose -Or To Pay More? State Of Texas Website Faulted By Consumers

With temperatures near 100 degrees, this is the time of year when we spend the most money to run our air conditioners. But are you spending more than you have to because you used the state’s Power to Choose website to pick your electricity provider? Frank St. Claire knows numbers and contracts. He graduated from [...]

The Texas Drought’s Over, But The Texas Slow-Motion Water Crisis Is Not

The latest drought report from the Texas Water Development Board has some good news. After more than five years, spring rains saturated the ground enough to finally end our long drought — our long soil moisture drought. But that doesn’t mean water shortages don’t still plague some parts of the state, and that water challenges wont stay with [...]

Hard Times Come to the ‘Hotel Capital’

This story originally ran as part of KUT 90.5′s series “Meanwhile in Small Town Texas.” Cotulla, Texas, is a small town deep in the oil fields of the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale. It’s a town that bet big on the oil boom. Five years ago the census put the population at less than 4,000 [...]

Keeping Houses Out of Texas Floodwaters Could Cost Billions

Back on May 26th, Houston woke up to flooded freeways and neighborhoods as bayous overflowed their banks. In the Texas Hill Country, homes and bridges washed away and levees broke. But super-heavy rainfall is nothing new in Texas and in fact, it was years earlier that experts had warned that the state was doing dangerously [...]

After HB 40, What’s Next for Local Drilling Rules in Texas?

This year state lawmakers severely restricted the ability of Texas towns to regulate local oil and gas drilling. A law known as House Bill 40 was a reaction to a fracking ban passed by voters in the North Texas city of Denton. Denton has come to represent local fracking bans and clashes between local governments [...]

As EPA Pushes For Cleaner Air, Refineries Push Back

If you lived in Houston in the 1980s, you might have noticed that something has changed about the air you breathe: back then, it was a lot dirtier. But whether it needs to be “cleaner” than it is today is at the heart of debate heating up as new federal regulations are being written. In [...]

Could Evidence of Manmade Quakes Bring Tectonic Shift in Texas Regulation?

There have been earthquakes in almost every corner of Texas since the start of the state’s most recent oil and gas boom. One “swarm” that really captured people’s attention started in the town of Azle in 2013.  When oil and gas regulators at the Railroad Commission of Texas visited the town, local people suggested ways [...]

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 [...]

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