ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Obama Unveils Climate Rules, With Texas-Wide Implications

Calling climate change “one of the key challenges of our lifetimes and future generations,” President Obama on Monday unveiled the final version of his state-by-state effort to combat the phenomenon by reshaping the nation’s energy sector – a plan that has roiled Republican leaders in Texas.

 

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.

Grid Operator Asks Texans to Temporarily Curb Electricity Use

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.

 

Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.
Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.

Jerry Patterson to George P. Bush: Focus Less on "Derriere"

Upset about the way a recent state audit painted the agency he lead for 12 years, former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is jabbing his successor, George P. Bush, for failing to push back against the audit’s findings.

 

A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.
A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.

Groundwater Districts Seek Help Tracking Disposal Wells

As oilfield waste disposal wells proliferate in Texas, groundwater managers are keenly interested in where they're going and how carefully they construct them. And they're asking the industry and regulators for further help.

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.

 

Jerry Patterson to George P. Bush: Focus Less on "Derriere"

Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.
Then-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told an audience about his political plans at a Texas Tribune event on Feb. 14, 2013.

Upset about the way a recent state audit painted the agency he lead for 12 years, former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is jabbing his successor, George P. Bush, for failing to push back against the audit’s findings.

 

Groundwater Districts Seek Help Tracking Disposal Wells

A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.
A 2011 image of the Mogford oil well well, which spewed hydrocarbons onto ranchland in Dimmit County. Some experts linked the "breakout" to nearby oilfield waste injections.

As oilfield waste disposal wells proliferate in Texas, groundwater managers are keenly interested in where they're going and how carefully they construct them. And they're asking the industry and regulators for further help.

Texas Facing Major Climate Change Impacts, According to New Study

The Brazos River in Knox County during the summer of 2011.
The Brazos River in Knox County during the summer of 2011.

A sharp increase in heat-related deaths and storm-related losses. A decrease in worker productivity and crop yields. A new climate change study paints a bleak picture for Texas over the coming decades — if nothing is done to address the much-debated warming trend.

New OSHA Penalties for DuPont After Deadly Leak

DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.
DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.

Just weeks after blasting DuPont for safety violations following a deadly chemical plant incident last November, federal regulators slapped the manufacturing giant with a new fine for safety violations at its plant in La Porte.

Texas is Suing the EPA — Again

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over the Environmental Protection Agency's rejection of parts of a Texas clean air program, launching the state’s second battle against EPA regulations in less than two weeks.

 

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.

In Big Bend, Pipeline Opponents Claim Small Victory

A sign opposing the Trans-Pecos pipeline hangs in a neighborhood near where the pipeline could run near Alpine.
A sign opposing the Trans-Pecos pipeline hangs in a neighborhood near where the pipeline could run near Alpine.

A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and other disgruntled landowners is claiming a small victory in its long-shot battle to block a hefty pipeline planned to carry natural gas beneath 143-miles of largely untouched Big Bend-area land into Mexico.

 

The Drought is Over in Texas

For the first time in more than five years, Texas no longer is in a drought. While less than 3 percent of the state remains “abnormally dry,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought has disappeared from every other part of Texas.

In Pristine Big Bend Region, a Pipeline Could Run Through It

David Keller, an archaeologist at Sul Ross State University and head of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, looks out over land in Brewster County, near the site of a planned pipeline that would send Texas gas to Mexico.
David Keller, an archaeologist at Sul Ross State University and head of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, looks out over land in Brewster County, near the site of a planned pipeline that would send Texas gas to Mexico.

Companies run by two billionaires are teaming up to build a 143-mile pipeline to carry natural gas through the Big Bend region and into Mexico.  An unlikely coalition of environmentalists, landowners and others is fighting to thwart the project.