Tribpedia: Environment

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Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst

Darwyn Hanna grows pecans and runs cattle on some of the land he owns in Bastrop County. He is contesting a water marketer's bid to pump about 15 billion gallons a year from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop County, saying the plan would devalue his property.
Darwyn Hanna grows pecans and runs cattle on some of the land he owns in Bastrop County. He is contesting a water marketer's bid to pump about 15 billion gallons a year from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop County, saying the plan would devalue his property.

As drought continues to grip Central Texas, those looking to provide water to the region’s fast-growing cities and suburbs see a solution in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which they say has enough water to support growth for centuries in the area. But others fear the resource will be drained at their expense. 

 

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.

Water Planners Focus on Bigger Texas, Not a Hotter One

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.

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.

Climate Scientists: Texas is Missing an Opportunity

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.

 

 

The Disappearing Rio Grande Expedition

The Rio Grande's future has never been more uncertain. Reporter Colin McDonald and photojournalist Erich Schlegel are traveling the river's length, documenting its culture and its biology from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

Methane Inquiry Closes, but Questions Linger

Last month, the Railroad Commission of Texas rejected an argument that drilling activity was to blame for methane migrating into a North Texas neighborhood's water supply. But independent geoscientists remain divided on the issue.

Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas.
Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas.

Railroad Commission Sides With Driller on Well Protest

UPDATED: The Railroad Commission on Thursday sided with Marathon Oil Company’s bid to dismiss a groundwater conservation district’s protest of its application to inject waste into part of South Texas’ Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer.

Gov. Rick Perry is shown on Nov. 15, 2013, at an Austin kickoff rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's re-election campaign.
Gov. Rick Perry is shown on Nov. 15, 2013, at an Austin kickoff rally for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's re-election campaign.

In Letter, Perry Faults Obama's Energy Policies

In a letter to President Obama, Gov. Rick Perry accuses the president of waging a war on coal and kicking the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline. Perry suggests that Washington should follow Texas’ lead in spurring energy production.

Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.
Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.

WCS's Hiring of Legislative Aide Draws Ethics Concerns

Betsy Madru, state Sen. Kel Seliger's former legislative director, now works for Waste Control Specialists, which runs a low-level radioactive waste site in Seliger's district. She says she understands why some would have questions about her move, but she added there was nothing improper.

Men work on the railroad tracks at the Union Pacific railyard in El Paso on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.
Men work on the railroad tracks at the Union Pacific railyard in El Paso on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

Proposed Border Rail Project Gets Mixed Reviews

As Mexican officials contemplate relocating a major railway that connects the state of Chihuahua to Texas, trade experts in El Paso have mixed views on whether the investment is needed immediately.

Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.
Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.

What's the Magic Number on Texas' Water Needs?

How much water does the state need in the coming decades? It depends on whom you ask. State water planners say that Texas needs 2.7 trillion more gallons of water a year by 2060. But some water law and planning specialists say that figure is far too high.

 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst accepted the microphone from Texas landowner Tommy Henderson on April 28, 2014, during a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement officials and news outlets on Red River land northeast of Byers, Texas. Dewhurst expressed support for ranchers in their fight with the BLM over land they say they own.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst accepted the microphone from Texas landowner Tommy Henderson on April 28, 2014, during a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement officials and news outlets on Red River land northeast of Byers, Texas. Dewhurst expressed support for ranchers in their fight with the BLM over land they say they own.

For State Politicians, BLM Dispute is Fertile Turf

Several Texas politicians have helped draw national attention to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's plans to manage a stretch of Red River land. Area lawmakers who have been working this year on a resolution welcome the extra attention.

EPA Seeks to Clarify Federal Water Law

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are backing a rule change that would better define bodies of water protected by the Clean Water Act. That could mean increased government oversight of streams and wetlands across Texas.

Hugh Daigle, assistant professor in the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, is the lead researcher on a federally funded project investigating methane hydrates.
Hugh Daigle, assistant professor in the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, is the lead researcher on a federally funded project investigating methane hydrates.

Hugh Daigle: The TT Interview

The University of Texas at Austin professor of petroleum and geosystems on the idea of tapping methane hydrates — an abundant source of natural gas found in rocks buried beneath the ocean's surface. 

LCRA's Max Starcke Dam, just east of Marble Falls, Texas. It is one of six dams the agency operates.
LCRA's Max Starcke Dam, just east of Marble Falls, Texas. It is one of six dams the agency operates.

In Central Texas, Drought Threatens Hydropower

The ongoing drought in Central Texas is claiming an innocent bystander: hydroelectricity. As the Lower Colorado River Authority limits water releases downstream, hydroelectricity — a power source that spurred the LCRA's creation almost 80 years ago — has faded further into obscurity.

The Rio Grande and a towering border fence separate Eagle Pass, Texas from Piedras Negras, Mexico, Saturday, February 4, 2012.
The Rio Grande and a towering border fence separate Eagle Pass, Texas from Piedras Negras, Mexico, Saturday, February 4, 2012.

Opponents of Border Coal Mine Face Final Test

UPDATED: Opponents of a proposed open pit coal mine on the border will see this week if their last chance at stopping the venture has legs. Representatives for the project say fears have been overblown.