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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TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/21/11

M. Smith on the continuing controversy over Beaumont's school administrators, Tan on the deepening divide over the consequences of the House budget, Hamilton on the latest in the fight over higher ed accountability, Grissom on young inmates in adult prisons, Aguilar on the voter ID end game, Tan and Hasson's Rainy Day Fund infographic, Ramsey on the coming conflict over school district reserves, M. Smith and Aguilar on Laredo ISD's missing Social Security numbers, Galbraith on environmental regulators bracing for budget cuts and Ramshaw on greater scrutiny of neonatal intensive care units: The best of our best content from March 21 to 25, 2011.

A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.
A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.

Texas Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals

A recently introduced bill would make Texas one of only a few states to require natural gas companies to disclose, for a public website, what chemicals they use in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing.

Texas Task Force to Battle EPA Regulations

Texas is summoning all of its political firepower to do battle against the Environmental Protection Agency. A newly announced task force of state and federal lawmakers will try to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases and abolishing the state's flexible permitting system for refineries and other big plants.

A conservation easement on this approximately 2,000-acre ranch in
Medina County is part of San Antonio's aggressive aquifer-protection
program
A conservation easement on this approximately 2,000-acre ranch in Medina County is part of San Antonio's aggressive aquifer-protection program

In San Antonio, a Focus on Land Conservation

Despite tough economic times, San Antonio is continuing an unusual and aggressive program to protect its aquifer, by using public money to purchase land or easements to prevent development in critical areas.

The bird’s eye-view from Scenic Mountain draws many visitors to Big Spring State Park in West Texas.
The bird’s eye-view from Scenic Mountain draws many visitors to Big Spring State Park in West Texas.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Agency Faces Big Cuts

State parks, hunting lands and even the parks agency's magazine could suffer if the Legislature enacts a hefty budget cut for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. 

Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.
Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.

Parks Director on the Legacy of the Gulf Oil Spill

With the one-year anniversary of the BP oil-rig explosion approaching, Ian Crawford of KUT News spoke with Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, about the state of the Gulf and why researchers may be studying its effects for decades.

A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.
A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas Won't Secede — But It Won't Shut Up Either

Texas leaders aren't talking about secession, after an outbreak of conversation a couple of years ago. But the germ of the idea remains in the anti-federalist talking points that fueled Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign last year and provided the outline for his book, Fed Up!

Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.
Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.

Slideshow: Texas Native Grasses

A slideshow of Bill Neiman's seed-cleaning facility near Junction.

Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.
Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed, at his seed-cleaning facility in Junction, TX, Jan. 18, 2011.

Native Grasses Take Root (Again) in Texas

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From the highways of Texas to the San Jacinto Battleground, state agencies now aim to maximize the use of native grasses rather than opting for whatever was cheapest or fastest-growing, as they did decades ago.

EPA Says Texas Firms Won't Face Delay on Permits

The Environmental Protection Agency took public comment in Dallas on Friday on its new rules for greenhouse gas regulations. Because Texas has refused to establish a greenhouse gas permitting process, the EPA will directly issue permits to companies here — but as Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, federal officials say there won’t be a delay for companies wanting to them.

Bill Renews Debate Over Groundwater Rights

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Upping the stakes in a long-running debate over groundwater and property rights, state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, filed a bill this week that would give Texas landowners ownership of the groundwater beneath their property. As Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, the filing comes as the Texas Supreme Court considers a similar issue.

Texas Companies Navigate Environmental Agencies' Differences

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The politics and rhetoric of the Environmental Protection Agency's multi-front battle with Texas make for a grand spectacle. Behind the scenes, however, there are signs that big industrial plants are trying to move past the stalemate on their own, talking with federal regulators and, in some cases, preparing to meet the demands of the agency.

Other States Want to Use Texas Waste Dump

A public hearing in Austin on Thursday will address a proposed rule allowing 36 states to ship their low-level radioactive waste to West Texas. As Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, the rule has raised the eyebrows of environmentalists and the new governor of Vermont.

Texas vs. EPA Permitting Battle Intensifies

The legal wrangling between Texas and the federal government over the state's air-pollution permitting system for big industrial plants is intensifying, as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief in a federal court yesterday defending the system.

John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas's state climatologist
John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas's state climatologist

Texas' State Climatologist Discusses Coming Changes

The Texas state climatologist on the reasons for rising temperatures, why international science on climate change is fundamentally sound (no matter what state officials say), what he thinks of our fight with the EPA and how long the drought in Central Texas is likely to continue.

Texas Leads Resistance to EPA Climate Action

Come January, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions around the country for the first time — but not if Texas can help it. Attorney General Greg Abbott last week lodged legal challenges in a federal court against EPA actions on multiple fronts, including a reiteration of the state's long-standing argument against the agency's scientific foundation for determining the dangers of greenhouse gas pollution.