Kate Galbraith Reporter

Kate Galbraith has covered energy and environment for the Tribune since 2010. Previously she reported on clean energy for The New York Times from 2008 to 2009, serving as the lead writer for the Times' Green blog. She began her career at The Economist in 2000 and spent 2005 to 2007 in Austin as the magazine's Southwest correspondent. A Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University from 2007 to 2008, she has an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics. She is co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush, a book about how the oil and gas state won the race to wind power.

Recent Contributions

Executive Director Leaves Railroad Commission

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John Tintera, executive director of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, is leaving less than one week after the election of a new chairman, Barry Smitherman, to lead the agency.

State Climatologist Has Eye on the Sky for Texas

John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas' state climatologist and professor at Texas A&M University, spoke recently at a climate conference in Austin.
John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas' state climatologist and professor at Texas A&M University, spoke recently at a climate conference in Austin.

John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas' state climatologist since 2000, has seen his duties explode in the last 18 months amid public clamor for information on the drought. 

Bad News Expected Today for Texas Rice Farmers

Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.
Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.

Texas rice farmers near the Gulf Coast are anxiously awaiting word on whether they'll get water from the Lower Colorado River Authority for a rice crop this spring. The LCRA says the farmers' prospects are not good — which will relieve other Texans who also have a stake in the water.

A Rush for Water Wells as Texas Drought Drags On

Workers with Bee Cave Drilling install a jackhammer bit on the drilling rig while putting in a water well on a private lot in Spicewood, Texas on February 6, 2012.
Workers with Bee Cave Drilling install a jackhammer bit on the drilling rig while putting in a water well on a private lot in Spicewood, Texas on February 6, 2012.

As the drought drags on, many Texans are getting their own water wells drilled. But the growing demand has some worried that the groundwater could start drying up, too.

BP Spill Money for Texas: $100M — and Counting

The beach in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge on South Padre Island.
The beach in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge on South Padre Island.

Unlike other Gulf states, Texas beaches did not get soaked with oil after the BP spill two years ago. Nonetheless, $100 million — and possibly far more, depending on the courts and Congress — is about to start flowing to Texas from BP for coastal restoration.

Fracking Disclosures to Include Water Totals

Field distribution water tank used in the fracking process of natural gas well drilling in DeWitt County, Texas, complete with life buoy and "No Swimming" sign.
Field distribution water tank used in the fracking process of natural gas well drilling in DeWitt County, Texas, complete with life buoy and "No Swimming" sign.

Starting Feb. 1, drillers will have to report many of the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing. But a less-publicized part of the regulation is what some water experts are most interested in: the mandatory disclosure of the amount of water needed to “frack” each well.