Tribpedia: Environmental Problems And Policies

Tribpedia

Texas contains an abundance of natural resources, but efforts to impose environmental regulations have faced roadblocks for many decades. Texas holds a large share of the nation's oil and chemical manufacturing industries, so state policymakers must balance economic considerations with the need to curtail environmental risk. Oil, gas and chemical manufacturing industries employ thousands of Texans and contribute billions ...

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Boater Education Courses Target Invasive Species

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Christopher J. Churchill, a biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey, displays several zebra mussels found along the shoreline of Lake Ray Roberts, near Sanger, Texas, Jul. 18, 2013.
Christopher J. Churchill, a biologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey, displays several zebra mussels found along the shoreline of Lake Ray Roberts, near Sanger, Texas, Jul. 18, 2013.

One way that invasive aquatic species like the zebra mussel can spread across Texas waterways is via boats that aren't cleaned. New legislation will require boater education courses to address the importance of boaters cleaning the vehicles. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

Slideshow: Bracken Bat Cave

Every summer night, a swirling vortex of Mexican free-tailed bats emerges from Bracken Cave, the largest such colony in the world. It's a sight the cave's protectors say is threatened by a developer's plans. 

Texas Department of Public Safety patch worn on a uniform during an April 7, 2011 graduation ceremony in Austin.
Texas Department of Public Safety patch worn on a uniform during an April 7, 2011 graduation ceremony in Austin.

West Plant Blast Focus of Criminal Investigation

The Texas Rangers and the McLennan County sheriff's office are launching a criminal investigation into the fertilizer plant explosion last month in West.

The Big Brown power plant in Fairfield, Texas
The Big Brown power plant in Fairfield, Texas

Sierra Club Takes Aim at Coal Plants in East Texas

A battle over Texas coal is heating up, as the Sierra Club is launching a targeted effort to close down 1970s-era coal plants owned by power-generation giant Luminant. It will be one of the club's biggest anti-coal campaigns in the nation.

Odor Control tanks stand outside the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Wichita Falls, on Friday, January 25, 2013.
Odor Control tanks stand outside the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Wichita Falls, on Friday, January 25, 2013.

Water-Reuse Projects Move Forward, Despite Concerns

Several Texas cities have plans to implement potable reuse projects, which put treated wastewater through extra chemical and biological processes before it eventually becomes part of the drinking supply.

Construction finishing on a two million gallon water tank in a 13,000-acre water well field owned by the Colorado River Municipal Water District near Wickett, Texas. The land and existing infrastructure, purchased from Luminant Generation using state funds, as well as newly constructed water wells and pipeline, can pump up to 30 million gallons of water out of the field a day.
Construction finishing on a two million gallon water tank in a 13,000-acre water well field owned by the Colorado River Municipal Water District near Wickett, Texas. The land and existing infrastructure, purchased from Luminant Generation using state funds, as well as newly constructed water wells and pipeline, can pump up to 30 million gallons of water out of the field a day.

Texas Bills Would Dedicate $2 Billion for Water

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State Rep. Allan Ritter, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, filed two bills on Thursday that would allocate $2 billion from Texas' Rainy Day Fund to create a fund for water-supply projects. It's the largest amount proposed to date.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson speaks at the announcement of an electronics recycling initiative with Dell Computer and others in Austin on July 20, 2011.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson speaks at the announcement of an electronics recycling initiative with Dell Computer and others in Austin on July 20, 2011.

AG Hopeful as EPA Chief Exits

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has waged a vociferous legal battle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its regulation of industries and pollution, said he is hopeful for change at the EPA with the departure of its leader, Lisa Jackson.

Methane Gas May Go to Waste in Texas

Methane, a byproduct of landfill waste, can be used to generate electricity or power industrial equipment. But in Texas, future methane-capturing landfill projects may be at risk. 

Austwell, TX
Austwell, TX

In Texas, Extreme Weather is the New Normal

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Increasingly hot summers and new extreme weather patterns have helped activists raise awareness of climate change. But in Texas, weather that once would have been considered extreme has become commonplace.

Drilling rig in DeWitt County
Drilling rig in DeWitt County

Drilling Regulators Using Old Technology as Industry Booms

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Oil and gas drilling continues to buoy the state's economy, but the Railroad Commission, the agency charged with regulating the industry in Texas, is struggling with what one commissioner called technology "stuck somewhere in the mid-'90s."

Food Blogger's Tale Gets Scorn Heaped on State Agency

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been receiving hate mail from around the country thanks to the gastronomic adventures of an Austin-area food blogger. It all started when the man’s unlikely dinner literally went bump in the night.

Casa Grande from Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, Texas - Feb. 25, 2012
Casa Grande from Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, Texas - Feb. 25, 2012

Texas Parks, Towns Embrace Dark Sky Movement

In West Texas, the dry desert air makes for bright stars. But light pollution remains a problem as fast-growing cities, plus a distaste for regulation, mean that light diffuses into the night sky. A few towns in West Texas and the Hill Country are trying to change that.

LCRA's Proposal to Help Rice Farmers Faces Pushback

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The Lower Colorado River Authority, the utility that controls the water in the Highland Lakes, has come under fire from Central Texans for a proposal to send water downstream to rice farmers, who were cut off earlier this year due to drought conditions.

John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.
John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.

Texas Sierra Club Fight Over Radioactive Waste Heats Up

The battle between the Sierra Club and Harold Simmons' Waste Control Specialists nuclear disposal site is intensifying as Andrews County joins the fray with a lawsuit against the environmental group.

Texas A&M University scientist Anna Armitage looks at a mangrove shrub on Pelican Island along the Texas coast.
Texas A&M University scientist Anna Armitage looks at a mangrove shrub on Pelican Island along the Texas coast.

Getting to the Root of the Increase in Texas Mangroves

A research team is studying  how changes in land development and vegetation are affecting the ability of Texas coast wetlands to absorb carbon dioxide. An increase in mangrove population is raising new questions for the team.

Houston Ship Channel - March 16, 2012,  Baytown, TX
Houston Ship Channel - March 16, 2012, Baytown, TX

Along Gulf Coast, a Downside to Surging Oil Production

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Oil production along the Gulf Coast has helped cut U.S. crude imports by 20 percent since 2005. But environmentalists say the increased production isn't without drawbacks, including strain on the state's rail, pipeline and highway systems.