Jim Malewitz

Jim Malewitz covers energy for the Tribune. Before arriving, he spent two years covering energy and environmental issues for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C., where his work also appeared in The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, among other newspapers. A native of Michigan, Jim has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa, where he played varsity baseball. He also holds a master’s from the University of Iowa, where he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Jim loves tacos and barbecue, making him a good match for Austin’s eating scene. However, he remains on the lookout for great waffles.

Recent Contributions

Sheep Power: Texas Solar Farm Employs Lamb Landscapers

Sheep wander between rows of solar panels at at a 4.4-megawatt solar farm in northeast San Antonio. OCI Solar Power, the farm's operator, uses the sheep – and their voracious appetites – to maintain shrubbery on the 45-acre site.
Sheep wander between rows of solar panels at at a 4.4-megawatt solar farm in northeast San Antonio. OCI Solar Power, the farm's operator, uses the sheep – and their voracious appetites – to maintain shrubbery on the 45-acre site.

Operators of a 45-acre San Antonio solar farm have turned to sheep – not lawnmowers – as a low-cost, low-effort way to control overgrown shrubbery that might otherwise impede the company’s technicians. 

Abbott Pans BLM Response to Red River Questions

Federal Bureau of Land Management spokesman, Paul McGuire, attempts to answer questions from a barrage of property owners in Clay County on Monday.
Federal Bureau of Land Management spokesman, Paul McGuire, attempts to answer questions from a barrage of property owners in Clay County on Monday.

After a two-month lag, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has responded to Greg Abbott’s questions about the bureau’s claim to a disputed strip of land along the Red River, and the Texas attorney general is not impressed.

 

Texas a Testing Ground for Energy Storage

Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.
Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.

Spurred in part by its fast-growing renewable energy sector, Texas has become a major testing ground for storage technology that could revolutionize the power grid.

Rancher's Complaint May Spur New Power Line Rules

Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line  through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.
Johnny Vinson stands on the part of his Wise County, Texas ranch where Oncor built a power line through his property. Vinson says the power company didn't build the line where it was approved.

A North Texas rancher’s protest of a power line that splits his land — one he says was built in the wrong place — could prompt new rules addressing when a transmission company can tweak a line’s route after it is approved.

 

Methane Inquiry Closes, but Questions Linger

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.

Last month, the Railroad Commission of Texas rejected an argument that drilling activity was to blame for methane migrating into a North Texas neighborhood's water supply. But independent geoscientists remain divided on the issue.

Railroad Commission's Media Policy Draws Concerns

State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Steve Brown, the Democratic candidate for Texas railroad commissioner.
State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Steve Brown, the Democratic candidate for Texas railroad commissioner.

A key Republican lawmaker and a Democratic candidate for railroad commissioner are among those expressing concerns about the Railroad Commission of Texas' practice of preventing staffers from talking to members of the media.

 

 

What Texas Could Do to Follow Climate Change Rules

Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."
Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."

Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas leaders say a federal proposal to combat climate change is a direct assault on energy providers. This Tribune analysis examines what Texas would have to do to reach the goals set forth in the proposal — if that proposal stays as is.

BLM Report Shows Safety Concerns Along Red River Land

Texas landowner Tommy Henderson speaks to a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement and media at the bridge over the Red River on Highway 79, northeast of Byers, Texas on April 28, 2014. Henderson has been in a legal battle  with the BLM over land he says he paid for and owns.
Texas landowner Tommy Henderson speaks to a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement and media at the bridge over the Red River on Highway 79, northeast of Byers, Texas on April 28, 2014. Henderson has been in a legal battle with the BLM over land he says he paid for and owns.

A new report by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management highlights North Texans' concerns about a disputed stretch of land along the Red River – including feral hogs, trash, meth labs and a general lack of management.