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.
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.
The Texas Senate passed a much-discussed piece of groundwater legislation, voting 28-3 to approve a bill stating that landowners in the state have a "vested ownership interest" in the groundwater beneath their land.
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.
In a meeting this morning punctuated by harsh denunciations of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Railroad Commission voted unanimously to clear a natural gas driller, Range Resources, of charges that it contaminated two water wells in Parker County. The EPA, however, said it stands by its charges against the driller.
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.
At a state Senate hearing this morning on Texas's rolling blackouts earlier this month, ERCOT released the first list — albeit a very partial one — of power plants that failed during the Feb. 2 crisis.
The Texas electric grid operator is facing questions on a range of fronts, including its policy of not disclosing information about the power grid's day-to-day operations and its inability to ensure adequate weatherization of power plants.