ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Oil Price Tremors Not Rattling Texas. Yet.

Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.
Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.

A steep drop in crude oil prices threatens to slow drilling in some U.S. oilfields, but officials in Texas' hottest shale plays say they're not worried. 

Fracking Fight Puts Denton in National Spotlight

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Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

A ballot initiative to ban fracking in Denton has put the North Texas city at the center of a nationwide debate over the safety of drilling, the money it produces and the role cities play in regulating it. As Election Day nears, the fight is growing fiercer. 

Texans Coming to Grips With Rising Water Costs

Paul Dowlearn poses for a portrait at Wichita Valley Nursery in Wichita Falls on Oct. 7. Dowlearn has been collecting rain water for years.
Paul Dowlearn poses for a portrait at Wichita Valley Nursery in Wichita Falls on Oct. 7. Dowlearn has been collecting rain water for years.

Water and sewer bills are going up substantially across Texas and in many other places around the country as utilities struggle to maintain aging infrastructure, deal with drought or come to grips with the rising costs of a scarce resource while searching for new supplies. 

Residents Ask for More Time on Controversial Pipeline

Lee County resident Hilde Sides protests the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project with other Lee and Bastrop County residents outside the San Antonio City Council public hearing on the project on Oct. 8. 2014.
Lee County resident Hilde Sides protests the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project with other Lee and Bastrop County residents outside the San Antonio City Council public hearing on the project on Oct. 8. 2014.

At a San Antonio City Council hearing on a $3.4 billion contract that would pipe 16 billion gallons of water a year into the city, residents called for more time before a vote to buy some of the most expensive water ever sold in Texas.