ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

The Onion Creek substation was badly flooded with heavy storms last fall. It is one of the many "critical infrastructure assets" whose vulnerability to climate change will be studied by Austin.
The Onion Creek substation was badly flooded with heavy storms last fall. It is one of the many "critical infrastructure assets" whose vulnerability to climate change will be studied by Austin.

Think It's Hot in Austin Now? Get Used To 110

While an aversion to climate science persists in much of conservative, Republican-led Texas, Austin is looking to prepare for what scientists say are the inevitable consequences of climate change that are already hitting the city. The city has spent about $20,000 to begin efforts to apply global climate projections specifically to Austin.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.

The Brief: July 28, 2014

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bob Ray Sanders is pushing back against one major tenet of the conventional wisdom surrounding the race for governor: Wendy Davis needs to maintain a healthy separation between her and President Obama.

A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.
A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.

Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Legal Clash

A North Texas town's effort to ban hydraulic fracturing may prompt an unprecedented showdown between two powerful rights: a city's authority to shape development and mineral owners' right to tap their resources. 

Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard explains the Guard's role in helping secure the border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and DPS Director Steve McCraw listen July 21, 2014.
Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard explains the Guard's role in helping secure the border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and DPS Director Steve McCraw listen July 21, 2014.

The Brief: July 25, 2014

Can those National Guard troops being sent to the border arrest people? The latest word is they can. And the reason why is that Rick Perry sent them, and not the federal government.

The Brief: July 28, 2014

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bob Ray Sanders is pushing back against one major tenet of the conventional wisdom surrounding the race for governor: Wendy Davis needs to maintain a healthy separation between her and President Obama.

Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Legal Clash

A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.
A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.

A North Texas town's effort to ban hydraulic fracturing may prompt an unprecedented showdown between two powerful rights: a city's authority to shape development and mineral owners' right to tap their resources. 

The Brief: July 25, 2014

Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard explains the Guard's role in helping secure the border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and DPS Director Steve McCraw listen July 21, 2014.
Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard explains the Guard's role in helping secure the border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and DPS Director Steve McCraw listen July 21, 2014.

Can those National Guard troops being sent to the border arrest people? The latest word is they can. And the reason why is that Rick Perry sent them, and not the federal government.

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.
Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.

Several public drinking water systems in Texas have quality issues that have not been adequately addressed, the Environmental Protection Agency told the state in recent correspondence obtained by the Tribune. 

The Brief: July 23, 2014

DPS chief Steve McCraw outlines plans for the National Guard role securing the Texas border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listen on July 21, 2014.
DPS chief Steve McCraw outlines plans for the National Guard role securing the Texas border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listen on July 21, 2014.

Story lines continue to spin out from Gov. Rick Perry's Monday announcement that he was activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to back up existing DPS border operations. 

State Slams EPA Website That Compares Pollution Enforcement

  • 12Comments
This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.

Compared with other states, Texas performs far fewer comprehensive inspections of polluting facilities, according to a database run by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. But Texas officials call the database misleading.

The Brief: July 15, 2014

US Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX 28th District) speaks with Rep. Doug Miller R-New Braunfels, during a visit to the Texas Capitol on February 19th, 2013.
US Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX 28th District) speaks with Rep. Doug Miller R-New Braunfels, during a visit to the Texas Capitol on February 19th, 2013.

A bipartisan effort by two Texas lawmakers — GOP U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar — grabbed headlines as having the potential to break the logjam as to what to do about the surge in unaccompanied minors across the border.

Water Planners Focus on a More Populous Texas, but Not a Hotter One

Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.
Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.

As state water planners prepare to spend $2 billion in public funds to address Texas’ water needs in the coming decades, scientists say state leaders' skepticism on climate change will only impair such planning.

The Brief: July 14, 2014

The challenges to Republican-drawn maps in 2011 return to a San Antonio federal courtroom Monday morning with The Associated Press reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice is deciding to become more closely involved with the case.

Climate Scientists: Texas is Missing an Opportunity

Texas remains one of the most significant contributors to global warming in the world. Year after year, Texas spews out more greenhouse gases than any other state in the country.
Texas remains one of the most significant contributors to global warming in the world. Year after year, Texas spews out more greenhouse gases than any other state in the country.

Texas-based climate scientists say that Texas could be a global leader in protecting against climate change. But if state agencies continue to fail to take climate change into account when planning for the state’s future, the scientists argue, Texans will suffer a direct impact.

 

 

State to San Antonio: No, You Can't Own Your Wastewater

San Antonio Bay is home to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where endangered whooping cranes live. The water that flows into the bay from the San Antonio River is vital to the species' survival.
San Antonio Bay is home to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where endangered whooping cranes live. The water that flows into the bay from the San Antonio River is vital to the species' survival.

Several months after San Antonio Water System's bold move to secure ownership of its treated sewer water even after it gets released back into a public waterway, state regulators are saying they doubt that's possible. 

 

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.

The Brief: July 21, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry and DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at a June 23, 2014, news conference following a tour of a federal facility housing unaccompanied minors in Weslaco, Texas. The state is providing $1.3 million per week to step up border patrols.
Gov. Rick Perry and DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at a June 23, 2014, news conference following a tour of a federal facility housing unaccompanied minors in Weslaco, Texas. The state is providing $1.3 million per week to step up border patrols.

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will make a border security announcement at 2 p.m. at the state Capitol. The two are expected to announce the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley.

The Brief: July 18, 2014

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is on his way out in a few months, but on Thursday he moved to fill some key Senate leadership slots to help the chamber prepare for the coming legislative session in January.

The Brief: July 16, 2014

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Greg Abbott's disclosure that he has close to $36 million in the bank as the campaign for governor starts to kick into high gear dominated a day where he and his Democratic rival Wendy Davis posted big fundraising numbers.