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 ...

Drought Not the Only Factor in Texas Tree Deaths

The 2011 drought wreaked havoc on the state's trees, but according to a new report, few of them died directly from dehydration. Rather, trees weakened by the drought likely fell prey to a different culprit: diseases and insects.

Seen is the ASARCO Smelter site on Sunday July 8, 2010 in El Paso, Texas. The site began operations as a lead smelter in 1887 and started producing copper in 1910. Plagued by a series of environmental problems and a slump in the price of copper, Asarco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 and shut down.
Seen is the ASARCO Smelter site on Sunday July 8, 2010 in El Paso, Texas. The site began operations as a lead smelter in 1887 and started producing copper in 1910. Plagued by a series of environmental problems and a slump in the price of copper, Asarco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 and shut down.

El Paso Plant’s Old Smokestacks Have Avid Fans

Two smokestacks in El Paso — remnants of the smelting company ASARCO — remind many residents of a legacy of environmental damage. But to a local group, the smokestacks, which are currently slated for demolition, are historical landmarks worth saving.

Pain in Midwest Could Be Texas Farmers' Gain

Though Texas has partly recovered from extreme drought conditions thanks to heavy rains, the Midwest is enduring one of its worst dry spells in decades. And as conditions in the Midwest drive food prices up, some say Texas farmers stand to benefit.

Life by the Drop: Drought, Water and the Future of Texas

Drought may be a part of life in Texas, but last year's crisis left an indelible mark on the state and raised tough questions about its future. In a special report on the 2011 drought, KUT News, StateImpact Texas and Texas Monthly examine how the state will manage a growing population amid a shrinking water supply. Visit StateImpact Texas for more on the series.

South Padre Island,  January 28, 2012
South Padre Island, January 28, 2012

Even in Coastal Areas, Drought Leaves Lasting Concerns

As last year’s drought intensified, the Colorado River brought less fresh water to the Gulf of Mexico. For the latest installment in KUT News, StateImpact Texas and Texas Monthly's series on water issues, Mose Buchele looks at Matagorda Bay, where water quality has suffered — and the economy, too. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

The Brazos River in Knox County during the summer of 2011.
The Brazos River in Knox County during the summer of 2011.

In a More Urban Texas, Farmers Face Uncertain Future

The state's recent drought has permanently changed life for some Texans, but in many ways, the scarcity just underlined a crisis already looming in the state. For the latest installment in KUT News, StateImpact Texas and Texas Monthly's series on water issues, Mose Buchele looks at Wharton County, where water concerns have imperiled a generation of rice farmers.

Former MDI Superfund site east of downtown Houston.
Former MDI Superfund site east of downtown Houston.

Urban Redevelopment Renews Concerns Over Industrial Sites

The federal government has spent millions of dollars cleaning up so-called brownfields, old industrial properties contaminated by toxic waste. But as Dave Fehling of KUHF News reports for StateImpact Texas, the re-development of some of the state's urban cores has revived concerns over some of the sites. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Heat in Texas Will Spark New Battles

Texas Weekly

As summer begins, the spotlight will be on the dunes sagebrush lizard (will it get an endangered listing or not?), former EPA regional head Al Armendariz (who's testifying in Washington) — and, of course, the perpetual question of whether the electric grid has enough juice.

A crane lifts SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft on to a barge after the vehicle twice orbited the Earth in December of 2010.
A crane lifts SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft on to a barge after the vehicle twice orbited the Earth in December of 2010.

Proposed SpaceX Launch Site in Texas Draws Concerns

SpaceX, which just sent the first private spacecraft to the International Space Station, has proposed building a launch pad in Texas. But the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is concerned the proposed launch area is too close to endangered species.

Michael Burgess: The TT Interview

The Republican congressman from Lewisville on his objections to a law setting higher efficiency standards for lightbulbs and how he intends to stop the Department of Energy from enforcing the standards. "It’s the government exercising power nobody ever intended to give them in the first place," he says.

AMARILLO, Texas (5/11/12) -- Entrance to plants about 15 miles northwest of Amarillo.
AMARILLO, Texas (5/11/12) -- Entrance to plants about 15 miles northwest of Amarillo.

Helium Sales Legislation Would Impact Panhandle

A site near Amarillo that's operated by the federal government produces about a third of the world's helium, which is needed for MRIs and semiconductors. Lawmakers are looking to keep vital sales of the nonrenewable gas from being interrupted, and there is already a focus being placed on conservation. 

If Dos Republicas is able to mine substandard coal in Maverick County, it will be carried by train from the site in rural Maverick County through the center of Eagle Pass, Texas - Saturday, February 4, 2012
If Dos Republicas is able to mine substandard coal in Maverick County, it will be carried by train from the site in rural Maverick County through the center of Eagle Pass, Texas - Saturday, February 4, 2012

Major Player in Fight Against Coal Company Bows Out

In a surprise move, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas has withdrawn its opposition to a planned Eagle Pass coal mine that opponents allege would pollute the area's air and water supply. 

The BP refinery in Texas City
The BP refinery in Texas City

Houston Lawyer Turns to Class-Action Suits to Battle Refineries

In the past, settlement money involving large-scale industrial accidents has largely gone to the state. But as Dave Fehling of KUHF News reports for StateImpact Texas, one Houston lawyer representing thousands of Texas residents says he has found a way to enforce environmental laws better than the government can. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Combs Says Plan Protects Lizards, Oil and Gas Interests

A Senate commitee heard testimony on the negative consequences of adding the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard to the endangered species list — a decision oil and gas companies say will hurt the industry. Comptroller Susan Combs spoke in support of a plan that allows continue oil and gas production under certain terms if the lizards are deemed endangered.