ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

The beginning of the seawall on the western edge of Galveston, Feb 14, 2016.
The beginning of the seawall on the western edge of Galveston, Feb 14, 2016.

Texas Congressman Working on Bill to Speed Hurricane Protection Plan

Two days after U.S. Sen. John Cornyn filed legislation seeking to expedite a hurricane protection plan for Texas, U.S. Rep. Randy Weber said he expects to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. House in the coming weeks.  

This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Houston Overstepped in Regulating Air Pollution

In a victory for a coalition of large industrial facilities, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the city of Houston illegally subverted state law by passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution. 

Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.
Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.

West Texas Site Applies for Nuke Waste License

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The company operating a low-level nuclear waste dump in West Texas on Thursday applied for a license to begin accepting highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Houston Overstepped in Regulating Air Pollution

This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.

In a victory for a coalition of large industrial facilities, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the city of Houston illegally subverted state law by passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution. 

West Texas Site Applies for Nuke Waste License

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Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.
Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.

The company operating a low-level nuclear waste dump in West Texas on Thursday applied for a license to begin accepting highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

Child Abuse Case Resurfaces in Railroad Commission Race

A 2011 photo of Melissa and Gary Gates with seven of their 13 children on the Gates' 150-acre property in Richmond, Texas. From left to right: Melissa, Marcus, Gary, Cassie, Sarah, Cynthia, Andy, Raquel and Lexi.
A 2011 photo of Melissa and Gary Gates with seven of their 13 children on the Gates' 150-acre property in Richmond, Texas. From left to right: Melissa, Marcus, Gary, Cassie, Sarah, Cynthia, Andy, Raquel and Lexi.

Sixteen years ago, CPS staffers accused Gary and Melissa Gates of abuse and removed their 13 children from their home. That case fizzled quickly, but the allegations and ensuing legal fight continue to provide fodder for Gates' political opponents.

 

Lawmakers Pledge Support for Hurricane Plan

The beginning of the seawall on the western edge of Galveston, Feb 14, 2016.
The beginning of the seawall on the western edge of Galveston, Feb 14, 2016.

Meeting for only the second time in two years, a panel of Texas lawmakers pledged financial and political support to efforts at developing a plan to protect the Houston-Galveston region from a devastating storm surge.

Vista Ridge Pipeline Opponents Win Small Victory

A map of the proposed pipeline that will deliver 16 billion gallons of water annually from underneath Burleson County to San Antonio, about 140 miles away.
A map of the proposed pipeline that will deliver 16 billion gallons of water annually from underneath Burleson County to San Antonio, about 140 miles away.

A controversial plan for a 142-mile pipeline to carry water to San Antonio suffered a small defeat this week when the state water development agency staff said it wasn't eligible for an $885 million low-interest construction loan.

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.

Years Later, Benefits from State Subsidy to Chevron Hard to Find

Chevron was expected to build an office building at 1600 Louisiana Street in downtown Houston. More than two years after receiving state support for the project, company company officials say they have no plans to build the tower in the near future.
Chevron was expected to build an office building at 1600 Louisiana Street in downtown Houston. More than two years after receiving state support for the project, company company officials say they have no plans to build the tower in the near future.

Texas announced in 2013 it was giving Chevron millions of dollars toward building a new office tower and creating 1,752 jobs. More than two years later, the site of the building remains a grassy lot and Chevron has laid off hundreds of workers.

Texans in Congress Largely Silent on Hurricane Protection

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, May 12.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, May 12.

With a price tag sure to reach into the billions, building seawalls and floodgates to protect Houston and Galveston from a killer storm will almost certainly require a massive infusion of federal money, state officials agree. 

In Texas Drilling Country, Oil Plunge Means Too Many Rooms at the Inn

Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.
Cotulla Motel employee Jared Ramirez bags ice on April 7, 2016. Ramirez began working at the motel after work in the oil fields dried up.

Cotulla, population 4,000, built 20 hotels during a yearslong oil boom, calling itself the "Hotel Capital" of the Eagle Ford Shale. A plunge in oil prices has prompted questions about whether that was a good idea. 

Take In a View of the New Texas Space Race

SpaceX recently achieved a milestone when it successfully landed an unmanned rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. Revisit our interactive project on the plans for commercial space flight in Texas, including SpaceX’s controversial facility in the southernmost part of the state.