Tribpedia: Environment

Groundwater Districts Seek Help Tracking Disposal Wells

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.

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.

In Texas, Drought is Done

For the first time in more than five years, Texas no longer is in a drought. While less than 3 percent of the state remains “abnormally dry,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought has disappeared from every other part of the Texas. Just three months ago, more than 35 percent of the Lone Star State was in some form of drought.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

West Texas Site Wants Nation's Spent Nuclear Fuel

The country has been trying to figure out for decades what to do with the high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The operators of a nuclear waste dump in West Texas have told federal officials they'd be happy to take it.

 

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 on June 17.
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 on June 17.

Regulators Pan Study on Methane Gas in Wells

No one disputes that high levels of methane have shown up in several Parker County water wells. But the source of the gas has stirred a heated debate. The Railroad Commission says a new academic study pointing to drilling isn't enough for it to reopen the case.

The Lost Pines Forest in Bastrop State Park, which was devastated by a fire in 2011.
The Lost Pines Forest in Bastrop State Park, which was devastated by a fire in 2011.

New Culprit Threatens a Park's Rebirth Years After Fire

As shrubs and seedlings take hold in Bastrop State Park, which was devastated by a fire three years ago, park officials face a new quandary: An abundance of whitetail deer is threatening the new growth. 

A view of the Houston Ship Channel from the back of the Sam Houston tour boat in Feb. 2014.
A view of the Houston Ship Channel from the back of the Sam Houston tour boat in Feb. 2014.

Politics of Climate Change in Texas Have Shifted

Texas leaders weren't always so skeptical about climate change. But the state's rightward shift, coupled with a booming oil and gas economy, have changed the tenor of the debate. Scientists and environmental advocates say that's a growing problem for Texas, the country's biggest climate polluter. This story was produced in collaboration with The World, a program by Public Radio International.