Tribpedia: Energy

Well Explosion Could Put Pressure on Texas Regulators

Ashley and Cody Murray, ranchers in Palo Pinto County, pose with their two children. They allege nearby gas drilling caused methane to leak into their water well before it exploded, severely burning the couple, their four-year-old daughter and Cody's father. Their legal case could put pressure on Texas regulators.
Ashley and Cody Murray, ranchers in Palo Pinto County, pose with their two children. They allege nearby gas drilling caused methane to leak into their water well before it exploded, severely burning the couple, their four-year-old daughter and Cody's father. Their legal case could put pressure on Texas regulators.

A Palo Pinto County family is suing two oil and gas operators, alleging that gas from nearby production sites migrated into the family's water well, which exploded and burned them. While the Texas Railroad Commission has been quietly investigating over the past year, the family's attorney said he has gathered concrete evidence to prove his case.

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

Abbott to Texans: Try to Use Less Power

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday made this appeal to Texans: Curb your electricity use, if you can – for the grid’s sake. More specifically, the Republican is asking Texans to power down electronics in the coming days between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., a time of the day when demand typically peaks.

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos speaks at a press conference at the University of Texas at Austin, where officials announced a new partnership with the Japanese government aimed at boosting energy efficiency at data centers.
Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos speaks at a press conference at the University of Texas at Austin, where officials announced a new partnership with the Japanese government aimed at boosting energy efficiency at data centers.

UT, Japan Partner to Cut Energy Use at Data Centers

The University of Texas at Austin and the Japanese government are joining forces to tackle a growing problem of the digital age: As data centers crop up across the U.S., they're sucking up a lot of electricity. 

Land Commissioner George P. Bush shakes hands with Texas Alliance for Life Director Joseph Pojman at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 24, 2015
Land Commissioner George P. Bush shakes hands with Texas Alliance for Life Director Joseph Pojman at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 24, 2015

General Land Office Touts Move Online

The Texas General Land Office says it held the first online oil and gas lease auction in the state’s history on Tuesday, netting some $20 million for public schools. Land Commissioner George P. Bush is taking credit for the move, saying it showcases his efforts to modernize the agency during his first year in public office.  

 

Nipendra Patel in front of his home in the Bastrop community of The Colony. Patel's roof is marked with studs meant to support solar panels, but the neighborhood's developer blocked their installation.
Nipendra Patel in front of his home in the Bastrop community of The Colony. Patel's roof is marked with studs meant to support solar panels, but the neighborhood's developer blocked their installation.

New Law Will Help More Texans Go Solar

A loophole in state law allowed some developers to block solar installations on homes in new neighborhoods. Now it's been plugged, and solar power advocates hope that will help nudge solar energy ahead in Texas. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series.

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

Texans Asked to Temporarily Curb Electricity Use

The operator of the electric grid that covers most of the state called for Texans to temporarily curb their electricity use for a few hours on Thursday afternoon as record-breaking demands strain the state’s energy resources.

 

Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.
Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.

Patterson to George P. Bush: Focus Less on "Derriere"

Upset about the way a recent state audit painted the agency he lead for 12 years, former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is jabbing his successor, George P. Bush, for failing to push back against the audit’s findings.

 

A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.
A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.

Groundwater Districts Seek Help Tracking Disposal Wells

As oilfield waste disposal wells proliferate in Texas, groundwater managers are keenly interested in where they're going and how carefully they construct them. But they say they're struggling to track permits for new disposal wells, and they're asking the industry and regulators for further help.

David Keller, an archaeologist at Sul Ross State University and head of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, looks out over land in Brewster County, near the site of a planned pipeline that would send Texas gas to Mexico.
David Keller, an archaeologist at Sul Ross State University and head of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, looks out over land in Brewster County, near the site of a planned pipeline that would send Texas gas to Mexico.

In Pristine Big Bend, a Pipeline Could Run Through It

Companies run by two billionaires are teaming up to build a 143-mile pipeline to carry natural gas through the Big Bend region and into Mexico. An unlikely coalition of environmentalists, landowners and others is fighting a long-shot battle to thwart the project.

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, and U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, and U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.

Texas Members of Congress Spar Over Crude Oil Export Ban

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WASHINGTON — Texas members of Congress Gene Green and Joe Barton went head-to-head Thursday on a bill that would lift a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. It was imposed to alleviate energy scarcity during the OPEC oil embargo.

 

DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.
DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.

New OSHA Penalties for DuPont After Deadly Leak

Just weeks after blasting DuPont for safety violations following a deadly chemical plant incident last November, federal regulators slapped the manufacturing giant with a new fine for safety violations at its plant in La Porte.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Texas is Suing the EPA — Again

Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over the Environmental Protection Agency's rejection of parts of a Texas clean air program, launching the state’s second battle against EPA regulations in less than two weeks.

 

 

Shale Drilling Leaks More Methane Than Feds Thought

Gas producers in North Texas’ Barnett Shale are responsible for significantly more methane pollution than previously estimated, according to a new series of studies. The research adds to a growing body of research into the true climate benefits of shifting away from coal-fired electricity in favor of natural gas, now abundant thanks to fracking.

 

 

State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland on April 10, 2013.
State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland on April 10, 2013.

Amid Local Control Fight, a GOP Proposal Cities Like

GOP lawmakers have lobbed a lot of legislative bombs at local control this year. But city officials are crossing their fingers that one Republican proposal – what consumer advocates call the session’s most important bill for natural gas utility customers – will pick up steam before time runs out.

A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.
A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.

Texas House Again Takes Aim at Denton's Fracking Ban

Four days after the Senate approved landmark legislation that would pre-empt local control over a variety of oil and gas activities, the Texas House advanced another response to Denton's vote to ban hydraulic fracturing.

EPA Closely Watching Bill to Speed State Permits

Texas appears poised to enact environmental legislation that could trigger an unintended consequence: more federal oversight. The Environmental Protection Agency, long the state’s political punching bag, says it has concerns with a fast-moving proposal to speed up environmental permitting by curbing public protests.