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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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.

U.S. Airforce conduct search and rescue - Galveston Island, Texas, after Hurricane Ike Sept. 13.
U.S. Airforce conduct search and rescue - Galveston Island, Texas, after Hurricane Ike Sept. 13.

Hurricane Ike Awakened Region to Dire Flooding Threats

Two years after Hurricane Ike’s surge crossed Galveston like a speed bump on its way to Houston, planners and academics are staring down multibillion-dollar public policy dilemmas. To describe Ike as a “wake-up call” understates and trivializes the matter. Like other coastal areas around the nation and around the world, the Houston-Galveston region is only now grappling with complex and costly questions of how to protect sprawling seaside development from the combination of subsidence and an expected sea-level rise from global warming.

EPA Asks Texans About Coal Ash Regulation

Texans are being asked to sound off as the Environmental Protection Agency considers regulating the dumping of coal ash. A public hearing on the issue will be held later today in Dallas. David Martin Davies of Texas Public Radio reports.

New Coal Ash Rules Could Have Big Impact in Texas

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering new regulations for coal ash — the waste left over from coal-fired power plants. As Matt Largey of KUT News reports, those new rules could have a big impact in Texas, the nation’s number one coal consumer.
The BP refinery in Texas City
The BP refinery in Texas City

Beleaguered BP Texas City Refinery Faces Two Lawsuits

BP's problem-plagued Texas City refinery — where a 2005 explosion killed 15 and injured 170 — now faces two civil lawsuits stemming from its release this spring of more than 500,000 pounds of cancer-causing pollutants over 40 days. One suit seeks $10 billion on behalf of 2,000 exposed workers; the other, filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, seeks more than $1 million in fines. Both aim to punish the company for one of the largest chemical emissions events the state has ever seen.

Lynn County Judge H.G. Franklin looks out over his land, which is enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program.
Lynn County Judge H.G. Franklin looks out over his land, which is enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program.

Federal Program Hopes to Prevent Another Dust Bowl

Texas has the most acres of any state enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which seeks to prevent another Dust Bowl by paying farmers to plant grass instead of crops. But the program has fallen on hard times, and its participants worry they will, too.

The Hearts Bluff Mitigation Bank as pictured with the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir
The Hearts Bluff Mitigation Bank as pictured with the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir

Denied Wetlands Permit Raises Property Rights Issues

In 2004, two brothers thought they had found the perfect ecologically friendly business venture: create a wetlands preserve on 4,000 acres of neglected farmland along the Sulphur River in Northeast Texas and make a pile of money selling mitigation credits to developers who build over environmentally sensitive lands elsewhere. Seven years later, the only thing stopping them from realizing that dream is the state of Texas, which has plans to submerge their property under 80 feet of water.

Tom Stehn, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge's Whooping Crane Coordinator, carries an emaciated crane to treatment.
Tom Stehn, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge's Whooping Crane Coordinator, carries an emaciated crane to treatment.

Federal Suit Against the TCEQ Proceeding

The Endangered Species Act lawsuit over the last remaining naturally migrating flock of whooping cranes will move forward, a federal district judge ruled Wednesday.

Texas beach
Texas beach

Report: Texas Beaches Getting Cleaner

Texas beaches aren't awash in oil like the sands are in some other Gulf Coast states, but they could be cleaner, a group of environmental advocates said today as it released an annual review of the nation's beaches.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of July 19, 2010

Ramshaw's question about an insurance company denying coverage for an infant vaccine prompts a reversal; Stiles' new app lets you poke through mid-year campaign reports on donations and spending; Ramsey finds foreshadowing of the state's big fall races in the campaign finance reports; Aguilar interviews Henry Cisneros about current politics; Dawson finds Texas environmentalists getting advice from an unexpected place; Galbraith on "demand response" that might cut the need for power plants and on the next wave of electric cars; Aguilar on increasing trade through Texas ports of entry; M. Smith on affirmative action battles in higher education; Titus on Mexican college students' drift from border universities to UT-Austin and Texas A&M; and Hamilton on controversy over private, for-profit colleges: The best of our best for the week of July 19 to 23, 2010.

Coalition of Enviros Pragmatically Approaches Sunset

Texas environmentalists have adopted a pragmatic strategy for winning tougher control of industrial air pollution through the Sunset Advisory Commission's review process: They’ve teamed with a former commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to craft recommendations. They’re speaking with a unified voice. And they're pursuing limited changes in existing practices.