Tribpedia: Energy

Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.
Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.

Oil Price Tremors Not Rattling Texas. Yet.

A steep drop in crude oil prices threatens to slow drilling in some U.S. oilfields, but officials in Texas' hottest shale plays say they're not worried. 

Paul Baumann's property, owned by his family for generations, is directly next to a proposed drilling waste dump in the small town of Nordheim. He, along with other concerned citizens, are protesting the dump as they fear it will pollute and ruin their way of life.
Paul Baumann's property, owned by his family for generations, is directly next to a proposed drilling waste dump in the small town of Nordheim. He, along with other concerned citizens, are protesting the dump as they fear it will pollute and ruin their way of life.

Drilling Waste Plan Roils South Texas Town

Nordheim, population 307, is the site of one of the first organized protests in the heart of the Eagle Ford. Many of its residents are fighting to keep out a massive disposal facility for oil and gas waste — a sight that could become more common as energy producers search for places to dispose of their leftovers.

 

A worker at Mission Solar in San Antonio inspects the protective coating of a fully assembled solar panel for bubbles that could hinder efficiency. The company runs Texas' biggest solar panel manufacturing plant.
A worker at Mission Solar in San Antonio inspects the protective coating of a fully assembled solar panel for bubbles that could hinder efficiency. The company runs Texas' biggest solar panel manufacturing plant.

In Texas, a Bright Outlook for Solar Manufacturer

Texas’ biggest solar panel manufacturing plant is ramping up production. It’s part of San Antonio’s effort to become a solar energy hub – by building solar farms to help power the area and luring the companies that manufacture their parts.  

A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.
A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state.

State Revives Low-Income Energy Efficiency Plan

Texas regulators say they have a plan to provide low-income Texans with the tools to help them interact with "smart" meters and improve energy efficiency at their homes – tapping $18.5 million of ratepayer money long earmarked for such a program.

 

Although leadership at the Texas Railroad Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency often feuds, staff at each agency has found ways to work together, says Milton Rister, executive director of the Railroad Commission.
Although leadership at the Texas Railroad Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency often feuds, staff at each agency has found ways to work together, says Milton Rister, executive director of the Railroad Commission.

Texas and the EPA Find Agreement Underground

In their efforts to regulate the wells that hold Texas' oilfield waste, state officials have found a surprising ally in the federal Environmental Protection Agency, long a political punching bag in Texas. 

 

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 on June 17.
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 on June 17.

Drillers, but Not Fracking, Tied to Tainted Water

Oil and gas activities – but not hydraulic fracturing – tainted drinking water wells atop North Texas’ Barnett Shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus formation, according to a new study.  

 

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.

Tainted Well Prompts Free Speech Dispute

A tainted water well in North Texas has already stirred national debate about the impacts of oil and gas production. Now it stars in a free speech dispute that has landed in the Texas Supreme Court.

Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.
Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.

Series: Bypassed by the Miracle

Check out Bypassed by the Miracle, our seven-part series on the people and communities that have missed out on Texas' economic success or are finding that it comes at a price. 

John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.
John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste.

Texas' Nuclear Waste Dump Gets Wiggle Room

UPDATED: Texas’ only radioactive waste site has permission to dramatically expand its capacity, take in new types of waste and reduce its financial liability should its owner suddenly close up shop.

 

 

The Boom at Rudkin Productions. The newspaper caters to bored oil workers in South Texas.
The Boom at Rudkin Productions. The newspaper caters to bored oil workers in South Texas.

Eagle Ford Sees Another Kind of Boom: Publishing

Drillers’ mad dash to the Eagle Ford has spurred a printing boom, as publishers court new advertisers and audiences — including industry executives, natives of transformed communities and oil workers with little to do in isolated towns.

Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.
Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.

Christi Craddick: The TT Interview

The Railroad Commission's new chairman on the agency's dual role as an industry watchdog and champion, the push to ban fracking in Denton and the commission’s efforts on earthquakes and disposal wells.

 

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Disposal Well Plan Seen as First Step in Addressing Earthquakes

Two candidates for the Railroad Commission welcomed the agency's newly proposed requirements for disposal well applications, saying they were a good first step in addressing the spate of earthquakes that have shaken up parts of North Texas.

Workers mop up tar sands oil from a creek in the wake of Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline spill, Mayflower, Arkansas.
Workers mop up tar sands oil from a creek in the wake of Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline spill, Mayflower, Arkansas.

Pegasus Pipeline's Partial Restart Concerns Some

The reactivation of a stretch of the 66-year-old Pegasus pipeline has stirred concerns among some Texans who live along its path. Some worry that the 2013 Mayflower spill is an example of what could go wrong in their backyards.