Tribpedia: Environmental Problems And Policies

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 ...

Texas Bills Aim to Douse HOAs' Limits on Xeriscaping

A xeriscaped garden in Austin, TX
A xeriscaped garden in Austin, TX

Texas homeowners associations often require members to keep plush lawns. But some are easing their rules as the drought continues, and two Texas lawmakers have introduced legislation to prevent the groups from restricting xeriscaping. It may be a tough fight.

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, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, filed two bills on Thursday that would allocate $2 billion sum from Texas' Rainy Day Fund to create a fund for water-supply projects. Several competing proposals are floating around the Legislature, but this is the the largest sum 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, on Thursday said he is hopeful for change at the EPA with the departure of its leader, Lisa Jackson..

Utility Commission to Consider New Power Line Rules

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It's a common occurrence: A tree or branch falls on a power line, cutting off electricity to nearby residents. On Thursday, though, the state's Public Utility Commission will vote on rules aiming to make that a little less likely in the future. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

 

Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly reported the date of the PUC meeting. It is Thursday Dec. 13.

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. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

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." Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

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.

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.