Kate Galbraith Reporter

Kate Galbraith has covered energy and environment for the Tribune since 2010. Previously she reported on clean energy for The New York Times from 2008 to 2009, serving as the lead writer for the Times' Green blog. She began her career at The Economist in 2000 and spent 2005 to 2007 in Austin as the magazine's Southwest correspondent. A Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University from 2007 to 2008, she has an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics. She is co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush, a book about how the oil and gas state won the race to wind power.

Recent Contributions

Is There a Boys Club Under the Pink Dome?

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, stands with state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, on May 25, 2011, as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs HB 3000, a bill increasing the penalties on human trafficking.
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, stands with state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, on May 25, 2011, as Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs HB 3000, a bill increasing the penalties on human trafficking.

The flap in the House and Senate this week over a political flyer showing an infant nursing at a bare breast has rekindled an age-old discussion: Is there sexism in the Texas Capitol? 

Texas Senate Approves Fracking Disclosure Bill

A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.
A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.

After a lengthy discussion, the Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would require drilling companies using hydraulic fracturing techniques to disclose on a public website the chemicals they use in the process.

Bill to Aid Texas' McDonald Observatory in Limbo

A research unit of The University of Texas at Austin located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.
A research unit of The University of Texas at Austin located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.

A bill aimed at reducing the glare from outdoor lighting in a large swath of West Texas in order to help the McDonald Observatory is currently stuck in the Senate, though its sponsor hopes to get it to the floor by the tomorrow's legislative deadline.

Texas Panel Debates Future of Research Universities

A panel of higher education and business executives at the University of Texas at Austin reflected high anxiety about the future of research universities — especially in Texas, which has just three of the nation's top research universities compared to California's nine.

Texas Drought Not Abating, Water Supplier Warns

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16 2011.
Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16 2011.

The Lower Colorado River Authority, a major supplier of water for Central Texas, warned today that the drought gripping the state is likely to continue for months and urged its customers to conserve water.

Texas Senate Hears Testimony on Fracking Disclosure

A Senate committee heard testimony this morning from Halliburton and others on a bill that would require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing. The bill has been left pending until the House takes a final vote on its version.

Is the Texas Legislature Raising Utility Rates?

Several bills working their way through the legislative process are likely to send Texans' utility bills up, consumer advocates say. But legislation that would make it easier for ratepayers to decide how to choose their electricity provider appears to be stalled.

Tentative Approval For Texas Fracking Disclosure Bill

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

The Texas House gave tentative approval to a bill on Wednesday that would require gas companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in the controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.

For Texas City, Plastic Bag Ban Brings Controversy

Brownsville resident Rosie Orozco bags her own groceries in a reusable bag after shopping at an A.V. Lopez grocery store. Orozco says she always carries reusable bags in her car.
Brownsville resident Rosie Orozco bags her own groceries in a reusable bag after shopping at an A.V. Lopez grocery store. Orozco says she always carries reusable bags in her car.

At stores in Brownsville, customers must pay $1 for plastic bags — so many bring their own, or go without. The policy, which also restricts paper bags, has removed hundreds of thousands of bags daily — but not without controversy.

Even in Texas, Concerns Grow About Gas Drilling

Demonstrators protest against natural gas drilling in downtown Fort Worth, Wednesday April 20th, 2011. The day marked the one year anniversary of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Demonstrators protest against natural gas drilling in downtown Fort Worth, Wednesday April 20th, 2011. The day marked the one year anniversary of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Texans pride themselves on being the heart of the nation’s oil and gas business. But even here, public concern about the environmental consequences of natural gas drilling is growing.