Tribpedia: Energy

Blood Lessons: Could the Texas City Tragedy Happen Again?

Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.
Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.

The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle spent months examining whether the nation’s oil refineries learned the lessons of the deadly explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005 — one of the most studied industrial accidents in U.S. history. Ten years later, their investigation shows, the death toll at U.S. refineries has barely slowed.

Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.
Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.

Texas Site Wants Nation's Spent Nuclear Fuel

The country has been trying to figure out for decades what to do with the high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The operators of a nuclear waste dump in West Texas have told federal officials they'd be happy to take it.

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.

Amid New Earthquakes, Researchers Head to Irving

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UPDATED: Irving has experienced scores of small earthquakes in recent months, and seismologists are headed to town to help figure out what’s behind the shaking.

 

Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.
Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.

Raw Gas Fuels Worry for Rural Homeowner

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Thousands of rural Texas homes get their natural gas from "farm taps," hooking up to nearby pipelines that carry raw gas on its way from wells to processing plants. One homeowner shut down his furnace when he learned of the risks.

Glenn Hegar (far right) stands with chief revenue estimators past and future. From left: Dale Craymer, Billy Hamilton and Tom Currah, the incoming estimator.
Glenn Hegar (far right) stands with chief revenue estimators past and future. From left: Dale Craymer, Billy Hamilton and Tom Currah, the incoming estimator.

As Oil Prices Plunge, Texas Eyes Are on Hegar

Incoming Comptroller Glenn Hegar is on the hot seat as a nosedive in crude oil prices – and the increasingly gloomy forecasts that have followed – cast a pall over the next legislative session. 

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.

Regulators Pan Study on Methane Gas in Wells

No one disputes that high levels of methane have shown up in several Parker County water wells. But the source of the gas has stirred a heated debate involving homeowners, academics, the Railroad Commission and the EPA.

A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.
A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.

Dissecting Denton: How One City Banned Fracking

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and, now, thanks to a group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on fracking. 

Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.
Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.

Battery Charge for Grid Needs Lawmaker Help

Battery storage could revolutionize the state’s electrical grid, making it more reliable and friendlier to renewable energy. The problem? It is likely to require a fundamental change in state law.

 

 

A view of the Houston Ship Channel from the back of the Sam Houston tour boat in Feb. 2014.
A view of the Houston Ship Channel from the back of the Sam Houston tour boat in Feb. 2014.

Politics of Climate Change in Texas Have Shifted

Texas leaders weren't always so skeptical about climate change. But the state's rightward shift, coupled with a booming oil and gas economy, have changed the tenor of the debate. This story was produced in collaboration with The World.