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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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

Texas is a great place to see the stars, especially in the dry desert air of the Big Bend area. 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, along with state parks, are trying to change that.

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. The county says the Sierra Club is hurting its revenues, while the Sierra Club maintains it's standing up for residents of the area.

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 the population of mangrove trees raises new questions for the team about how climate change is affecting the Texas Coast.

Why Longhorns Owe Their Survival in Part to Oklahoma

As Bevo arrives in Dallas ahead of Saturday's Red River Rivalry football game, it's worth remembering that longhorn cattle might have gone extinct nearly a century ago but for the quick actions of some federal employees, who assembled a herd on an Oklahoma wildlife refuge.

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.

Pipeline Case Still Hanging in Texas Courts

On Friday, a Beaumont county judge will rule on yet another case involving TransCanada, the company building the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite all the court action, some say recent eminent domain rulings still haven't clarified where private-property rights end. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

A Greenstar Recycling Center  employee removes plastic bags from a sort line in Garland, Texas, September 13, 2012.
A Greenstar Recycling Center employee removes plastic bags from a sort line in Garland, Texas, September 13, 2012.

Dallas Aims to Recycle Almost All Garbage by 2040

The Big D has a big plan to go green. Dallas environmental advocates are confident the city can accomplish its ambitious plan to have the city recycling nearly all of its garbage by 2040. But the city is still navigating the concerns of advocacy groups and the business community, from unintended consequences to unfunded mandates.

The pines on the south side of Texas Hwy 21 erupt in flames and smoke during the wildfires on September 6, 2011.
The pines on the south side of Texas Hwy 21 erupt in flames and smoke during the wildfires on September 6, 2011.

Wildfire Season Intensifying, Report Says

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Wildfire season across the American West and Texas is getting longer and more destructive every year, according to a new report from the research organization Climate Central. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Prescribed burning on Walker Ranch in Crockett County - January 25, 2009
Prescribed burning on Walker Ranch in Crockett County - January 25, 2009

A Year After Wildfires, Calls for More Prescribed Burns

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It may seem counter-intuitive, but more landowners and public safety officials have begun calling on the state to respond to last year's devastating wildfires by lighting more fires — so-called prescribed burns that help remove the dry grass and brush that fuel the blazes. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Fight Over Salamanders a Preview of Debates to Come

A federal proposal to list four Central Texas salamanders as endangered species has provoked a fierce debate about how humans affect the natural world. But the back-and-forth also foreshadows future fights likely to take place as more species come up for review. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Electricity transmission lines in Houston.
Electricity transmission lines in Houston.

Electricity Concerns Persist After Pollution Ruling

Texas Weekly

With temperatures projected to soar during the final days of August, the state of the Texas electric grid will once again be on policymakers’ minds — though some reliability concerns may be eased since a federal court struck down an EPA rule that could have affected coal plants.

A Bastrop resident points to flames as smoke billows over Texas 71 in Bastrop Country during the wildfires on September 5, 2011.
A Bastrop resident points to flames as smoke billows over Texas 71 in Bastrop Country during the wildfires on September 5, 2011.

Forged in Flames: An Oral History of the Labor Day Fires

A year ago, much of Central Texas was in danger because of raging wildfires. Drought-sticken green spaces had provided the perfect tinder for far-reaching blazes. These are the stories of Central Texans who lived through the Labor Day wildfires.

Scored pine tress outside of Bastrop where a wildfire came through on September 6, 2011.
Scored pine tress outside of Bastrop where a wildfire came through on September 6, 2011.

Bastrop Park Initiative Puts Emphasis on Seed Banking

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The wildfires that burned through Central Texas last Labor Day weekend, ravaged the area’s pine forests. The Texas Forest Service wants to plant 4 million loblolly pine seedlings in Bastrop State Park over the next few years, to help restore the forest to its original splendor. But, as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, the stored seedlings were almost thrown away before the fires struck.

Cameras developed for analyzing comet tails might also serve as early wildfire detection.
Cameras developed for analyzing comet tails might also serve as early wildfire detection.

Space-Tech Cameras May Help Spot Wildfires

In the year since wildfires destroyed thousands of homes across Central Texas, officials have looked for ways to reduce the threat of fires. They've since found one, in technology developed not for fighting fires but for exploring outer space.

The rubble of a house remains after last weeks' wildfire remains untouched on September 9, 2011.
The rubble of a house remains after last weeks' wildfire remains untouched on September 9, 2011.

A Year After Fires, Communities Focus on Prevention

Sept. 4 marks one year since wildfires ravaged Central Texas, causing officials and residents to rethink how they manage their land. Since then, some communities have taken it upon themselves to make their surroundings safer in the event of another wildfire.

Melvin Pulver of Spicewood lost his mobile home and everything else in the fire a year ago.
Melvin Pulver of Spicewood lost his mobile home and everything else in the fire a year ago.

Central Texans Recount an Escape From Roaring Fires

It’s been nearly a year since wildfires tore through Central Texas, burning more than 1,600 homes, killing two people and uprooting countless lives.

Over the course of the last year, KUT News has been collecting stories from the people who lived through the fires. There have been many tales of heartbreak, loss, heroism and affirmation. And many that describe the sheer terror of being confronted with such a fast-moving “monster.”

The story of how one man survived the Pedernales fire Sept. 4 through quick thinking and a little luck is told by Spicewood residents Melvin Pulver and Debbie Opdahl.

Conservative activists around Texas are citing a 1992 U.N. resolution called Agenda 21 in protesting various local development initiatives. Agenda 21 is a non-binding resolution that promotes sustainable development.
Conservative activists around Texas are citing a 1992 U.N. resolution called Agenda 21 in protesting various local development initiatives. Agenda 21 is a non-binding resolution that promotes sustainable development.

U.N.-Backed Agenda 21 Angers Many in Texas

Where did a Lubbock County judge get the idea that the U.S. might cede sovereignty to the U.N.? In Texas, activists fearful of such a prospect have long cited a 20-year-old resolution called Agenda 21. Public officials around the state are hearing it cited more often amid protests of certain urban development projects.

An almost completely burned sign stands amid rubble at Bastrop State Park on Sept. 13, 2011.
An almost completely burned sign stands amid rubble at Bastrop State Park on Sept. 13, 2011.

A Year Later, Tracing the Roots of the Central Texas Wildfires

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As the anniversary of last year's Central Texas wildfires draws near, KUT News and StateImpact Texas revisit what led to the worst fires in state history, and how the state has changed since last summer. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.