Tribpedia: Energy

"Denton Fracking Bill" Headed to Abbott's Desk

Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013
Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013

The so-called “Denton fracking bill” is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The Senate on Monday approved a bill to pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of oil and gas activities — a measure that has stirred concerns in some towns that have sought to blunt the effects of drilling close to homes, schools and businesses.

Texas Republicans Push Energy Changes in Congress

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At issue is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile of over 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in Texas and Louisiana. Congressional lawmakers are uncertain of the reserve's role in an age of abundance, now that the shale oil revolution has changed the American energy landscape.

The nation's more than 600 coal-burning power plants are the main target of President Obama's Clean Power Plan, his most determined effort yet to tackle the effects of global warming by reshaping the nation’s power sector.
The nation's more than 600 coal-burning power plants are the main target of President Obama's Clean Power Plan, his most determined effort yet to tackle the effects of global warming by reshaping the nation’s power sector.

Lawmakers Move to Speed Permits, Limit Protests

Business-friendly Texas still isn't quite friendly enough, Republican lawmakers say, and they're pushing legislation to curtail public input and speed up permits issued by state environmental regulators.

Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013
Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013

UT Survey Finds Support for City Fracking Decisions

A hefty slice of Americans support local control over hydraulic fracturing, according to new University of Texas at Austin survey. Of Americans familiar with the revolutionary method of bolstering oil and gas production, most said that cities should be able to ban its use within their borders.

Video: The Future of Energy

On 4/24, I talked about the future of energy policy in Texas with Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU's Cox School of Business; state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee; former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza; and state Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, a member of the House Energy Resources Committee. 

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.

Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle

In the latest chapter of a long running legal fight, a Fort Worth oil and gas company gets permission from the Texas Supreme Court to pursue defamation damages from a Parker County man who accused it of fouling his well.

 

A micro-home at Community First Village, a 27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites. Gridmates, a nonprofit, is using crowdfunding to foot electricity bills at the village.
A micro-home at Community First Village, a 27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites. Gridmates, a nonprofit, is using crowdfunding to foot electricity bills at the village.

Austin Nonprofits Crowdfunding Power to the People

Trying to create a "new direction in the energy sector," a computer scientist in Austin is using crowdfunding to help low-income Texans pay their electricity bills. 

Kaylen Holmesly, a 7th grade resident of Azle, Texas, testifies before the Texas Railroad Commission and voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake on January 21st, 2014.
Kaylen Holmesly, a 7th grade resident of Azle, Texas, testifies before the Texas Railroad Commission and voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake on January 21st, 2014.

Study: Gas Activities "Most Likely" Caused Texas Quakes

Gas industry activity “most likely” triggered a series of earthquakes that shook two North Texas towns from late 2013 through early 2014, new peer-reviewed research shows.   

 

 

State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, lays out HB 40 that would curb local control over oil and gas activities on April 17, 2015. With a 122-18 vote, the House sent the bill to the Senate.
State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, lays out HB 40 that would curb local control over oil and gas activities on April 17, 2015. With a 122-18 vote, the House sent the bill to the Senate.

Texas House Approves "Denton Fracking Bill"

UPDATED: The Texas House on Friday approved House Bill 40, which would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of oil and gas activities. 

Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.
Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.

Barry Smitherman Lands Job at Law Firm

Barry Smitherman, the only person to serve both on the Texas Railroad Commission and the state’s Public Utility Commission, will practice energy law at Vinson and Elkins, the international law firm announced Tuesday.

Homeowner Adam Leija demonstrating how CPS energy's "home manager program" works.
Homeowner Adam Leija demonstrating how CPS energy's "home manager program" works.

Legislation Aims to Boost Electricity Conservation

Some state lawmakers are trying to cut Texas' energy use by encouraging demand response – programs under which utilities reward customers for powering down air conditioners, pool pumps or other electricity guzzlers when demand peaks. But they face strong industry opposition.

Most of the 183 pump jacks scattered throughout Luling are unadorned, such as this one in the middle a shared yard.
Most of the 183 pump jacks scattered throughout Luling are unadorned, such as this one in the middle a shared yard.

See How Local Drilling Rules Vary Across Texas

The debate over whether some Texas city drilling ordinances go too far has become a much-discussed issue during the Texas legislative session. Use our tool, with data from the Texas Municipal League, to see if your city has an ordinance.

Blood Lessons: Oil Refining Remains a Deadly Industry

How many people die at oil refineries each year? Longstanding federal record-keeping practices make it incredibly tough to answer that simple question. Review the deaths at refineries in the 10 years before and after the infamous Texas City explosion. This tool is part of a collaboration between The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle.

Dave Leining, who was badly injured in the 2005 BP refinery explosion, stands outside of the refinery which is currently owned by Marathon Petroleum on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in Texas City.  The trailer where Leining was working flew apart, burying him and co-workers in rubble.
Dave Leining, who was badly injured in the 2005 BP refinery explosion, stands outside of the refinery which is currently owned by Marathon Petroleum on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in Texas City. The trailer where Leining was working flew apart, burying him and co-workers in rubble.

Blood Lessons: Survivors Remember Texas City Disaster

Ten years after the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion, hear from two workers who survived it — but lost many of their friends. These videos and vignettes are part of a collaboration between The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle.

A BP employee stands near a safety sign during a BP memorial service inside the plant in Texas City for the employees that were injured and killed in the BP plant explosion in Texas City,Texas January 30, 2005.
A BP employee stands near a safety sign during a BP memorial service inside the plant in Texas City for the employees that were injured and killed in the BP plant explosion in Texas City,Texas January 30, 2005.

Blood Lessons: Unsafe Conditions Persist at Refineries

For years after the 2005 Texas City explosion, the disaster was scrutinized, producing volumes of findings and recommendations on how best to prevent more men and women from dying in oil refineries. But 10 years later, there is little evidence that the 15 lives lost on that March day bought much of anything, a joint Texas Tribune/Houston Chronicle investigation shows. 

Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.
Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.

Blood Lessons: Could Texas City Tragedy Happen Again?

The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle spent months examining whether the nation’s oil refineries learned the lessons of the deadly explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005 — one of the most studied industrial accidents in U.S. history. Ten years later, their investigation shows, the death toll at U.S. refineries has barely slowed.