Texas is already the top oil-producing state — and excitement about a new era is pervasive, thanks in part to improved technology. Exploration of new shales like the Cline in West Texas is underway, and some oilmen say it's like the old wildcatting days.Full Story
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.
A debate in the Texas House on a supplemental budget bill Friday veered into debates on the Travis County district attorney's drunken driving charge and the murder of two Kaufman County prosecutors.Full Story
A landmark water case pitting North Texas against Oklahoma goes to the U.S. Supreme Court next week. The Tarrant Regional Water District, which serves Fort Worth and the surrounding area, has sought more water from Oklahoma, but the Sooner State isn’t selling.
Four months after a fire shut it down, a nuclear reactor at the South Texas Project in Bay City is being restarted. That is the second prolonged shutdown at the plant in two years, prompting critics to demand closer scrutiny of the operation.Full Story
As investigators search for the cause of the explosion, environmentalists said that the situation highlighted lax regulations in Texas for plants handling dangerous chemicals — especially those located near schools.Full Story
The day after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled parts of the Central Texas town of West, officials are still searching for answers about the tragedy that has left at least five people dead.Full Story
UPDATED: The Texas House is moving ahead with a bill requiring disclosure of certain political donors despite an effort by the Senate to pull the legislation back. Meanwhile, the bill's author, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said senators had been heavily lobbied to change their vote.
Friendliness toward the drilling industry is typical in Texas, where many lawmakers receive campaign contributions from oil and gas groups or have investments in drilling companies.Full Story
UPDATED: Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman apologized on Friday for retweeting an image that showed a noose beside the names of Republican U.S. senators who had voted down a gun-control filibuster.
In a state fabled for its everything-is-bigger mentality, the idea of conserving resources is taking hold. Texas political and business leaders have realized that no water equals no business.Full Story
Amid continued worries about reservoir levels statewide, several Texas communities are exploring the concept of underground storage reservoirs, which do not lose water to evaporation or flood agricultural land.Full Story
Should groundwater districts be allowed to require permits for drilling companies wanting to withdraw water for hydraulic fracturing? Oil companies oppose the idea, and on Tuesday, the Senate Natural Resources Committee debated the issue.Full Story
As the water-intensive practice of fracking continues to spread, the amount of wastewater being buried in disposal wells around Texas has skyrocketed. But the wells bring concerns about truck traffic and the possibility of groundwater contamination.Full Story
Most fracking operations use several million gallons of water. But with water increasingly scarce and costly around Texas, a few companies have begun using alternative liquids, such as propane. Experts say the technology still has far to go.Full Story