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.
A nasty drought is gripping all of Texas, but Midland's situation is especially precarious. Since the beginning of October, barely one-tenth of an inch of rain has fallen, and regional reservoirs are getting close to empty.
The regional fire coordinator for the Texas Forest Service, near the front lines of a 100,000-acre blaze that swept through Stonewall and King Counties last weekend, says more bad fire weather is on the way later this week.
Drought and strong winds mean that the number of wildfires is way up this year. But the Texas Forest Service, the lead fire-fighting agency, is also facing heightened scrutiny in the Legislature — and, of course, budget cuts.
Unrest in the Middle East, rising oil prices and frustration with federal energy policy — for many Texans, today’s headlines must seem like déjà vu. While the situation is far less severe than the aftermath of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the parallels are unmistakable.
This week, committees in both chambers heard testimony about bills to encourage recycling of plastic grocery bags. But environmentalists fear that the legislation would prevent local communities from banning plastic bags altogether, as three Texas cities have done.