ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

In West Texas, abandoned well sinks land, sucks tax dollars

The land is sinking three-fourths of an inch every month around this abandoned well outside of Imperial in Pecos County, and huge cracks have opened in the area. The Texas Department of Transportation paid most of the $315,000 bill to plug the well in 2009 and has spent at least $1 million fixing a nearby farm-to-market road.
The land is sinking three-fourths of an inch every month around this abandoned well outside of Imperial in Pecos County, and huge cracks have opened in the area. The Texas Department of Transportation paid most of the $315,000 bill to plug the well in 2009 and has spent at least $1 million fixing a nearby farm-to-market road.

Land around a West Texas roadway used to be flat. Now, it’s fissured, sinking and has cost taxpayers more than a million dollars — all because of a water well that was left unplugged. 

 

At confirmation hearing, Rick Perry vows to pursue "sound science" on climate change

Former Gov. Perry is sworn in before testifying at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on his nomination to be Energy secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 19, 2017.
Former Gov. Perry is sworn in before testifying at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on his nomination to be Energy secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 19, 2017.

Testifying before a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday, Secretary of Energy nominee Rick Perry said he believed humans contributed to climate change and that he no longer supported the dissolution of the Department of Energy. 

Rick Perry prepares to re-enter political arena with confirmation hearing

Former Gov. Rick Perry gives the closing keynote address at the the Texas Public Finance Conference in Austin on Feb. 3, 2016.
Former Gov. Rick Perry gives the closing keynote address at the the Texas Public Finance Conference in Austin on Feb. 3, 2016.

More than five years after his infamous "oops" moment, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is facing another high-pressure moment in the national spotlight this week: his confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Secretary of Energy.

New in Trib+Water: TWDB looks back at 2016

In this week's edition of the Trib+Water newsletter: The TWDB reviews its challenges and accomplishments in 2016, a Travis County utility deals with the aftermath of its contamination of a nature preserve and an interview with L'Oreal Stepney of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas electric generators bash EPA over proposed clean air rule

A view of northern Mexico from the South Rim of the Chisos Mountain in Big Bend National Park. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new clean air rule aimed at easing hazy conditions in Big Bend and other national parks and wilderness areas in Texas and surrounding states. It is pursuing the so-called BART rule after Texas successfully challenged a similar regulation in court.
A view of northern Mexico from the South Rim of the Chisos Mountain in Big Bend National Park. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new clean air rule aimed at easing hazy conditions in Big Bend and other national parks and wilderness areas in Texas and surrounding states. It is pursuing the so-called BART rule after Texas successfully challenged a similar regulation in court.

Environmental groups praised and power generators bashed a proposed federal environmental regulation on Tuesday aimed at improving visibility in national parks and wilderness areas in Texas and surrounding states.

Rough Patch: How plunging oil prices reversed fortunes in Texas

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.

Amid the recent plunge in oil prices, The Texas Tribune visited various parts of Texas to see how they were being impacted. Read stories from West Texas, South Texas and the Panhandle.

Revisit our series on energy efficiency efforts

A wind farm generates electricity off the coast of Copenhagen. Wind energy accounted for 42 percent of Denmark's generation last year. Four decades ago, the country depended almost entirely on imported oil.
A wind farm generates electricity off the coast of Copenhagen. Wind energy accounted for 42 percent of Denmark's generation last year. Four decades ago, the country depended almost entirely on imported oil.

Take a look back at our series on global and local efforts to conserve energy and limit pollution through energy efficiency.

Abandoned Texas oil wells seen as "ticking time bombs" of contamination

Ty Edwards, assistant general manager of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, points to brackish water flowing from one of several flowing abandoned wells— originally drilled for oil, but later used for irrigation — that no state agency plans to plug.
Ty Edwards, assistant general manager of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, points to brackish water flowing from one of several flowing abandoned wells— originally drilled for oil, but later used for irrigation — that no state agency plans to plug.

Texas is among several states grappling with a surge of abandoned drilling sites and dwindling funds to clean them up.

 

In Corpus Christi, the latest water emergency was different

The shelves in the bottled water section of a Walmart in Corpus Christi were nearly empty on the morning of Dec. 15, 2016.  City officials announced a ban on using the city’s water the evening before due to a chemical making its way into the supply.
The shelves in the bottled water section of a Walmart in Corpus Christi were nearly empty on the morning of Dec. 15, 2016. City officials announced a ban on using the city’s water the evening before due to a chemical making its way into the supply.

Corpus Christi has been struggling with water problems since last summer. But this latest incident — and its root cause — are different.  

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