Environment

How the Human-Powered Gym Works

At Texas State University, one 30-minute workout can generate enough electricity to power a laptop for three hours. Watch as the director of campus recreation explains how elliptical machines and treadmills are harnessed into alternative energy.

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TribBlog: Environmentalists v. Exxon

ExxonMobil will be sued by two environmental groups over the release of large amounts of air pollutants from its Baytown oil refinery, the nation's largest, according the Center for Public Integrity.

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Djakhangir Zakhidov

DISHed Out

As he has taken on natural gas companies and the agencies that regulate them, DISH mayor Calvin Tillman has become a media darling, an unlikely face of oil and gas reform and a public speaker crisscrossing the country. Now he’s ready to give up — and to leave town entirely.

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Leaky Pipes

A Texas Railroad Commissioner is proposing to replace steel natural gas pipes with plastic. Mose Buchele of KUT News reports.

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Todd Wiseman

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom, Hamilton, and Philpott on the Texas Democratic Party's state convention, the two-step, the forecast, and the ticket; Galbraith on the political and environmental battle between state and federal environmental regulators, and on a new age of nukes in Texas; Burnson on signs of the times in San Antonio; Ramshaw on hackers breaking into the state's confidential cancer database; Aguilar's interview with Katherine Glass, the Libertarian Party's nominee for governor; Acosta on efforts to stop 'Murderabilia' items that sell because of the association with killers; Ramshaw and the Houston Chronicle's Terri Langford on the criminal arrest records of workers in state-funded foster care centers; Hu on accusations that state Sunset examiners missed problems with workers compensation regulators because they didn't ask the right questions of the right people; Ramsey and Stiles on the rush to rake in campaign cash, and on political races that could be won or lost because of voter attraction to Libertarian candidates; and Aguilar's fresh take on South Texas' reputation for corruption. The best of our best from June 28 to July 3, 2010.

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Courtesy of HBO

Josh Fox: The TT Interview

Josh Fox's movie "Gasland," which premiered on HBO last week, uncovers widespread concerns about water contamination associated with a new form of natural gas drilling known as fracking. Fox talks about how devastating it felt to drive around Fort Worth (home to the Barnett Shale), how refreshing it was to come across west Texas wind farms, and how federal regulators are tightening up.

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Balking at Bacteria

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has voted not to allow higher levels of E. coli bacteria in the state's water sources, despite staff concerns that the current rules are unnecessarily stringent.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Air Splitting

The battle over Texas' environmental regulations came to a head as the Environmental Protection Agency shot down the state's air-pollution permitting regime for large plants. It's the latest episode in a larger cultural and political fracas pitting Texas against Washington — and business against government — that continues to take center stage in the race for governor.

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EPA to TCEQ: Step Off

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t think Texas is doing enough to keep its air clean, so today the agency is expected to tell the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the feds will take over air quality permitting for about 39 plants. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

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Oil and Water and Hurricanes

The National Weather Service is expected to upgrade Tropical Storm Alex by the end of the day, kicking off an Atlantic hurricane season that will be different from previous ones in the Gulf of Mexico because of — you guessed it — that pesky leaking oil off the Louisiana coast. Ben Freed of KUT News Radio reports.

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Graphic by Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Company

The Nuclear Option

Seventeen years ago, Texas turned on its last nuclear reactor, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. In another decade, several more reactors could get built here — if events in Washington go the power companies' way.

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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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