ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Defendant Pleads Guilty in Webb County Water Trial

El Cenizo and its neighboring border town of Rio Bravo in South Texas have a brand-new water treatment plant that was supposed to provide nearly 10,000 people here with clean drinking water. But it’s never been run properly, critics say.
El Cenizo and its neighboring border town of Rio Bravo in South Texas have a brand-new water treatment plant that was supposed to provide nearly 10,000 people here with clean drinking water. But it’s never been run properly, critics say.

On the fourth day of a criminal trial involving undrinkable water in two border communities, one of the two defendants pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

 

State's Role in Unhealthy Water Probed

Water enters another phase of treatment inside the Rio Bravo treatment plant, which was finished in 2006 with $12 million in state funds.
Water enters another phase of treatment inside the Rio Bravo treatment plant, which was finished in 2006 with $12 million in state funds.

State environmental regulators should have done more to protect the safety of drinking water for two small border communities in Webb County, defense lawyers argued Thursday in the criminal trial for two former water treatment plant employees.

Paxton Asks EPA to Halt Global Warming Plan

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke on June 22, 2105, at an event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation discussing the impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke on June 22, 2105, at an event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation discussing the impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Renewing his vow to sue if the answer is no, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday officially asked the Environmental Protection Agency to halt a sweeping plan designed to combat climate change while existing legal challenges from other states play out.

UT, Japan Partner to Cut Data Center Energy Use

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos speaks at a press conference at the University of Texas at Austin, where officials announced a new partnership with the Japanese government aimed at boosting energy efficiency at data centers.
Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos speaks at a press conference at the University of Texas at Austin, where officials announced a new partnership with the Japanese government aimed at boosting energy efficiency at data centers.

The University of Texas at Austin and the Japanese government are joining forces to tackle a growing problem of the digital age: As data centers crop up across the U.S., they're sucking up a lot of electricity. 

General Land Office Touts Move Online

Land Commissioner George P. Bush shakes hands with Texas Alliance for Life Director Joseph Pojman at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 24, 2015
Land Commissioner George P. Bush shakes hands with Texas Alliance for Life Director Joseph Pojman at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 24, 2015

The Texas General Land Office says it held the first online oil and gas lease auction in the state’s history on Tuesday, netting some $20 million for public schools. Land Commissioner George P. Bush is taking credit for the move.

 

 

New Law Will Help More Texans Go Solar

Nipendra Patel in front of his home in the Bastrop community of The Colony. Patel's roof is marked with studs meant to support solar panels, but the neighborhood's developer blocked their installation.
Nipendra Patel in front of his home in the Bastrop community of The Colony. Patel's roof is marked with studs meant to support solar panels, but the neighborhood's developer blocked their installation.

A loophole in state law allowed some developers to block solar installations on homes in new neighborhoods. Now it's been plugged. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series.

Grid Operator Asks Texans to Temporarily Curb Electricity Use

Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.
Grid technicians monitor screens at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' state-of-the-art backup control center in Bastrop.

The operator of the electric grid that covers most of the state called for Texans to temporarily curb their electricity use for a few hours on Thursday afternoon as record-breaking demands strain the state’s energy resources.

 

The Meadows Foundation and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation have supported energy coverage, and the Burdine Johnson Foundation has supported coverage of the environment.