Marc Morrison

State of Readiness

Could a BP-style oil spill happen closer to our shores, threatening our fisheries and beaches? Of course. But Texas reformed its process for dealing with such a catastrophe two decades ago, and state officials say we're better prepared than other states to respond to — or better still, prevent — a major spill.

Full Story 

What We Learned From the Oil Spill

As work crews struggle to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Mose Buchele of KUT News reports how others are already looking ahead at what lessons might be learned from this environmental disaster. Full Story 

A Bonanza for Cleanup Firms

An oil spill of historic proportions like the one spreading through the Gulf of Mexico is bad news for most everybody, but it’s also a boon for those in the environmental cleanup business. Mose Buchele of KUT News caught up with some big winners at an industry convention in Austin. Full Story 

Oil Spill: AGs Look for Legal Remedies

Texas Attorney General Abbott and his colleagues in other Gulf Coast states are casting their legal eyes on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports. Full Story 

Oil Spill: Texas Considers the Worst Case

Crude oil is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and threatening a growing environmental catastrophe. Texas is expected to avoid the brunt of the spill, but that doesn’t mean it’s not affected. Nathan Bernier of KUT News looks at the worst-case scenario. Full Story 

Oil Spill: How Will It Affect Shrimping and Fishing?

People who catch shrimp and fish along the Texas Gulf Coast are waiting to see if the oil spill drifts closer and taints the water they depend on to make a living. Fritz Jaenike, the General Manager of Harlingen Shrimp Farms in the Rio Grande Valley, the oldest shrimp farm in Texas, talks to Jennifer Stayton of KUT News. Full Story 

Spill, Baby, Spill

A trio of pieces from our partners at public radio station KUT in Austin examines the potential impact on Texas of the disastrous oil spill off the Louisiana coast. Ericka Aguilar reports on Attorney General Greg Abbott’s meetings with other Gulf Coast states on potential legal action against British Petroleum, Nathan Bernier asks whether the oil might make its way to Texas — possibly driven by a hurricane, and Jennifer Stayton looks at the effects on fisheries. 

Full Story 

Burn It Before It Spreads

Crews set fire to an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday in a last ditch effort to keep the spill from the eaching the coast. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has dispatched response teams and a special fire boom to help corral the mess, which resulted from the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig. David Brown of KUT News talked to Patterson about the clean-up efforts. Full Story 
Jacqueline Mermea

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

E. Smith interviews Gov. Rick Perry for the Trib and Newsweek, Philpott dissects the state's budget mess in a weeklong series, Hamilton looks at whether Bill White is or was a trial lawyer, M. Smith finds experts all over the state anxiously watching a court case over who owns the water under our feet, Aguilar reports on the battle between Fort Stockton and Clayton Williams Jr. over water in West Texas, Ramshaw finds a population too disabled to get on by itself but not disabled enough to get state help and Miller spends a day with a young man and his mother coping with that situation, Ramsey peeks in on software that lets the government know whether its e-mail messages are getting read and who's reading what, a highway commissioner reveals just how big a hole Texas has in its road budget, Grissom does the math on the state's border cameras and learns they cost Texans about $153,800 per arrest, and E. Smith interviews Karen Hughes on the difference between corporate and political P.R. — and whether there's such a thing as "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The best of our best from April 19 to April 23, 2010.

Full Story 
Graphic by Jacob Villanueva, Matt Stiles

A Watershed Case

On the surface, it’s about an oat-and-peanut farm and two South Texas men who wanted enough water to operate it. But underneath lies a century-old tug-of-war over who really owns the water beneath the land.

Full Story 

Fort Stockton vs. Claytie

A West Texas town is challenging an oil tycoon and former GOP gubernatorial nominee over the depletion of its municipal water source. Whether David defeats Goliath is up to an 11-member groundwater conservation district.

Full Story 

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on the fall of Norma Chávez; M. Smith and Ramsey on the runoffs, the results, and the aftermath; Hu on the Tea Party's birthday party; Thevenot and Stiles on the path between schools and prisons; Ramshaw on prosecutors' reaction to helping hands from Austin; Hamilton on self-appointed lawyers; Galbraith on property rights and power lines; Aguilar and Grissom sit down with the mayor of Juárez to talk about his crime-ridden city; Kraft on telling the stories of Texans and other Americans who died in Vietnam; Ramsey on slots and horses and casinos; and Hamilton goes on a field trip with Jim Hightower to hear the history of populism. The best of our best from April 5 to 9, 2010.

Full Story