ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

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 they said they would.
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 they said they would.

In Power Line Dispute, Rancher Questions Utilities' Wiggle Room

After landowners sign off on power line routes, can transmission companies install them somewhere else? The Public Utility Commission is set to consider a rancher’s complaint that a 345-kilovolt power line that a transmission operator erected is 150 feet north of where it was originally mapped.

 

John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.
John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.

Court Thwarts Sierra Club's Challenge to Hazardous Waste

UPDATED: A state appeals court has thwarted the second of two challenges to a hazardous and low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas in rulings that signal growing difficulties for those trying to scrutinize the decisions of Texas' environmental regulators.

 

Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.
Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.

Criticism of Water Policy Flows From Conservatives

Many conservative activists in Texas worry that when it comes to state water policy, Republican leaders have not focused on principles like small government, private property rights and local control. 

Court Thwarts Sierra Club's Challenge to Hazardous Waste

John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.
John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.

UPDATED: A state appeals court has thwarted the second of two challenges to a hazardous and low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas in rulings that signal growing difficulties for those trying to scrutinize the decisions of Texas' environmental regulators.

 

Criticism of Water Policy Flows From Conservatives

Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.
Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.

Many conservative activists in Texas worry that when it comes to state water policy, Republican leaders have not focused on principles like small government, private property rights and local control. 

Railroads Filling Void as Oil Pipeline Falls Short

The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)
The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)

As drillers produce millions of barrels of crude oil in shale plays in Texas and the Midwest, railroad companies are finding booming business in transporting the oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

Report: Air Quality to Worsen in Eagle Ford Shale

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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.

A newly released but largely unnoticed study commissioned by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality makes some dire predictions about what will happen to air quality in South Texas as the Eagle Ford Shale boom continues. 

Digging Up Drilling Logs, Hoping to Strike Water

Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.
Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.

As drought grips most of Texas, researchers are combing the state's 1.5 million drilling records to map brackish water in the state's 30 aquifers — hidden resources that could help quench the state’s long-term thirst.

Federal Radioactive Waste Arrives in West Texas

An overhead view in 2012 of Waste Control Specialists' low-level radioactive waste storage facilities near Andrews, Texas. The site is poised to get 420 truckloads of waste from New Mexico.
An overhead view in 2012 of Waste Control Specialists' low-level radioactive waste storage facilities near Andrews, Texas. The site is poised to get 420 truckloads of waste from New Mexico.

UPDATED: A radioactive waste site in West Texas has received its first truckload of transuranic waste from the federal government’s nuclear weapons program, following wildfires and a radiation leak in New Mexico.

 

Despite Conservation Success, Water Still Vexing for San Antonio

A cascade aerator is shown at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.
A cascade aerator is shown at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.

Despite its internationally renowned successes in water conservation, San Antonio is still struggling to quench its thirst amid explosive growth. Will its search for new water supplies risk its reputation as a green city? 

Lesser Prairie Chicken Listed as Threatened

The lesser prairie chicken roams in the circled areas above, according to research by state environmental officials and scientists.
The lesser prairie chicken roams in the circled areas above, according to research by state environmental officials and scientists.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursay that the lesser prairie chicken will be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, potentially affecting economic development activity in five states, including Texas. 

 

The Meadows Foundation and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation have supported energy coverage, and the Burdine Johnson Foundation has supported coverage of the environment.