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 ...

Weekend Insider: STAAR Tests, BP Spill Money

This year, new standardized tests are designed to be more rigorous and cover more subjects. Some parents are choosing to "opt out" and keep their children home on testing day. But there are questions of legality, and failing to show up for the test could mean a failure to graduate. Morgan Smith explains. Texas is poised to receive millions of dollars for coastal restoration from BP to help clean up after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Kate Galbraith tells us how state officials are sorting through more than 150 proposals for spending the money.

Read more on these stories in this weekend's editions of The New York Times and at The Texas Tribune.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.

Texas Ranchers Brace for New Cattle ID Rules

In Texas, the largest cattle state, branding cows with a symbol like the "Rocking R" is practically a cultural necessity. But state and federal regulators are keener on another form of identification — ear tags — that's easier to standardize. Cattlemen have some qualms about the changes — and they say branding isn't going away anytime soon.

McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park

Texas Parks Facing Long-Term Budget Woes

Texas Parks and Wildlife launched a public fundraising campaign last month to fill a significant budget shortfall. And as Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, the next few years could prove even rougher for state parks if the drought and extreme heat persist.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/2/12

The first week of 2012 started with the first presidential voting of the cycle, and our coverage included Dehn's videos of Rick Perry's "reassessment" and "next leg of the marathon" speeches, Ramshaw's reporting on the rationale behind his decision and Root's analysis of just what happened in the hours after the Iowa results came in, plus Galbraith on the Texas critters that might be added to the endangered list, Tan's look at new laws regulating payday lenders, Hamilton on an impending battle over tuition increases at UT, and Murphy with a new data map using the latest Census numbers for Texas: The best of our best content from January 2 to 6, 2012.

Luxury houses against the fence line at Camp Bullis on the northern outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. Camp Bullis is a 28,000-acre U.S. Army training camp located in Bexar County, Texas and is used primarily as a field training site for military medics stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center at nearby Fort Sam Houston.
Luxury houses against the fence line at Camp Bullis on the northern outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. Camp Bullis is a 28,000-acre U.S. Army training camp located in Bexar County, Texas and is used primarily as a field training site for military medics stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center at nearby Fort Sam Houston.

Texas Military Bases Battle Encroachment of Cities

The ever-expanding suburbs of San Antonio have created light, noise and endangered species challenges for Camp Bullis, where all military medics train. Bullis says it is solving its problems. But other bases around Texas are also facing an array of encroachment issues, including endangered species and energy development.

Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.
Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.

On Refinery Row, an Effort to Expose Health Problems

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A Corpus Christi neighborhood sits right in the middle of several plants that have appeared on federal environmental watch lists. Terrence Henry of KUT News and NPR's StateImpact Texas spoke with one longtime resident of the area trying to get families to speak out about the health problems they've faced living on what some call Refinery Row.

Drought Raises Concerns About Texas Water Quality

As lake and river levels continue to drop due to the intense 13-month drought, concerns about water quality are growing across the state. In one badly hit West Texas town, the water is virtually undrinkable — and other cities are struggling with higher amounts of salts in the water supply.

With the Drought, More Dust Storms

Despite last weekend's rains, the Texas drought lingers — and experts say the number of irritating and dangerous dust storms could increase across the state, especially in West Texas and the Panhandle. There's no danger of a 1930s-era Dust Bowl, they say, but there's not much relief in sight either.

Can Texas Make It Rain?

Speculation that the drought gripping the state could last through 2020 has scientists in Texas looking to so-called weather modification, which, as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, involves using the power of science to play Mother Nature.