Environment

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey's interview with Rick Perry's chief consultant, Stiles on the massive amount of cash that cities are collecting from red-light cameras, Grissom on the coming debate over the Democrats' two-step primary/caucus process, Thevenot on the State Board of Education's latest controversial plan, Aguilar on immigrants deported for minor infractions, Ramshaw on the social conscience (or lack thereof) of medical schools, M. Smith on a nascent voter registration effort in Harris County, Hamilton's interview with the newest state senator, Philpott on Bill White's feistier week, Galbraith on how tighter EPA rules will affect Texas and Hu on questions about the governor's transparency: The best of our best from June 21 to 25, 2010.

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Seeing Green

The Environmental Protection Agency's campaign against Texas' air pollution permitting process is well-known, but federal regulators are also working to tighten a number of other rules relating to power plant waste, ozone and greenhouse gas emissions. Texas businesses fear that the new regulations will dent the state's fragile economic recovery. Environmentalists are, predictably, delighted.

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Get Smart

Thanks to a 2007 state law and federal stimulus grants, smart-grid projects are proliferating across Texas, allowing customers to monitor their electricity usage and control costs. Some utilities are saving money too.

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Jacob Villanueva

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

M. Smith's interview with the new chair of the Texas GOP, Philpott on Republicans and Tea Partiers living in harmony, Aguilar on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's not-yet-released strategic plan, Ramshaw's tragic tale of out-of-state kids in Texas treatment centers, Grissom on how budget cuts could impact juvenile justice, Stiles' awesome new population app, Galbraith on the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer, Hamilton's interview with the commissioner of higher education and the debut of Hu's new video debate series: The best of our best from June 14 to 19, 2010.

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Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Keeping Up With the Jones Act

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas, filed a bill today to waive the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 — a move sure to please Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston.

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TribBlog: Grading the Grid

A consulting firm's report on the Texas grid operator, ERCOT, includes comments about "dead wood" among the workforce. It recommends staffing cuts and an independent board.

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Takeover Imminent

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has tweaked some of its air quality rules in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to wrest control of Texas' permitting authority. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

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YouTube

TribBlog: Joe Barton Says Sorry to BP Chief [Updated]

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton apologizes to BP chief executive Tony Hayward, saying that the $20 billion escrow account for spill victims set up by the White House and BP on Wednesday amounts to a "shakedown." Later Thursday, he retracted his apology to BP, and apologized himself.

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panoramio.com

Panhandling for Water

Within Texas, the Ogallala Aquifer accounts for about 40 percent of all water use, but its levels are declining sharply. In a dry growing season, the High Plains Water District recorded an average drop of 1.5 feet. Meanwhile, the 2007 state water plan projects that the Ogallala's volume will fall a staggering 52 percent between 2010 and 2060.

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Bob Daemmrich

TribBlog: Texas v. the EPA, Round 2

In the latest bout of the state's legal contretemps with the Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today that Texas will challenge the federal agency's decision to disapprove its qualified facilities program.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw and the Houston Chronicle's Terri Langford on incidents of abuse and mistreatment at residential treatment centers, M. Smith on the state Republican Party platform and 10th Amendment embracers, Galbraith on a pipeline project raising crude concerns and the most important word in water law, Ramsey on former officeholders who are now lobbyists and the possibility of a speaker's race, Grissom on a fight over solar power in Marfa, Hamilton and Aguilar on the TxDOT audit, Philpott on budget cuts affecting school districts and my conversation with Dallas County D.A. Craig Watkins: The best of our best from June 7-11, 2010.

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Keystone Pipeline System

Crude Concerns

In the wake of the Gulf spill, anxiety is building about a proposed pipeline that would run through East Texas, ferrying Canadian oil to Port Arthur and Houston for refining.

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TribBlog: Waiting on the Water War

The city of Fort Stockton and Fort Stockton Holdings, the company owned by Clayton Williams Jr. and family, have agreed to postpone a hearing on the company's permit to pump trillions of gallons of water from the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer.

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Bob Daemmrich

T. Boone Pickens: The TT Interview

The oilman told the Tribune that BP's CEO has made some verbal "boo-boos" but that offshore work must continue: "You know, we can drill those wells in the deep water."

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Brandi Grissom

Solar Opposites

In the West Texas outpost of Marfa, Malinda Beeman is waging war. Her target: a company that plans to erect at least 1,000 three-story mirrored satellite dishes designed to harness energy from the blisteringly bright desert sun.

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Victims of the Spill

Hundreds of oil-covered animals have been rescued from the Gulf of Mexico so far. As Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, the volume of casualties is steadily increasing.

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Wikipedia

Navigating "Navigable"

Congress is known for having arcane battles, but the biggest fight these days in water law is over a single word in a 1970s-era measure designed to reduce pollution in America's waterways. Texas environmentalists and ranchers are anxiously awaiting the outcome.

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