ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.

Harris County in Crosshairs of Pollution Lawsuit Limits

In a session that's been kind to business interests, local control might be about to take another hit as the Senate tentatively approves legislation that could make it harder for counties to sue polluters.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.
Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.

Curbing Local Control, Abbott Signs "Denton Fracking Bill"

Saying Texas needs to avoid a “patchwork of local regulations” that threaten oil and gas production, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed legislation that would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of drilling-related activities.

 

Curbing Local Control, Abbott Signs "Denton Fracking Bill"

Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.
Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.

Saying Texas needs to avoid a “patchwork of local regulations” that threaten oil and gas production, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed legislation that would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of drilling-related activities.

 

Texas House Again Takes Aim at Denton's Fracking Ban

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.
State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Four days after the Senate approved landmark legislation that would pre-empt local control over a variety of oil and gas activities, the Texas House advanced another response to Denton's vote to ban hydraulic fracturing.

Texas Republicans Push Energy Changes in Congress

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At issue is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile of over 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in Texas and Louisiana. Congressional lawmakers are uncertain of the reserve's role in an age of abundance.

Watchdogs Question Fraser's Energy Holdings

State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, on the Senate floor on April 23, 2015.
State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, on the Senate floor on April 23, 2015.

As the Texas Legislature ponders ethics reforms to increase transparency and reduce conflicts of interests among its members, a key state lawmaker is facing new questions about whether his private business affairs are impacting his public duties.

Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas on June 17, 2014.

In the latest chapter of a long-running legal fight, a Fort Worth oil and gas company has received permission from the Texas Supreme Court to pursue defamation damages from a Parker County man.

 

Nonprofits Crowdfunding Power to the People

A micro-home at Community First Village, a 27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites. Gridmates, a nonprofit, is using crowdfunding to foot electricity bills at the village.
A micro-home at Community First Village, a 27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites. Gridmates, a nonprofit, is using crowdfunding to foot electricity bills at the village.

Trying to create a "new direction in the energy sector," a computer scientist in Austin is using crowdfunding to help low-income Texans pay their electricity bills. 

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.

Texas to Sue Feds Over "Clean Power Plan"

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the grand opening of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's new Austin building on April 21, 2015.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the grand opening of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's new Austin building on April 21, 2015.

Attorney General Ken Paxton says he plans to sue the Obama administration over the proposed “Clean Power Plan,” its sweeping plan to combat climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power plants.