Tribpedia: Environment

One of four warning signs posted next to polluted Donna Lake.
One of four warning signs posted next to polluted Donna Lake.

Valley Residents Have Been Eating Toxic Fish for Decades

For more than two decades, federal and state health officials have known that residents of a poor community in the Rio Grande Valley are eating fish laced with unsafe levels of toxic chemicals, but they haven't found a way to stop it. Educational campaigns have helped some, but a long-term solution is proving elusive.

Border Patrol Agent Isaac Villegas makes his way through Carrizo cane, an invasive plant species that lines the banks of the Rio Grande in Roma, TX. while searching for a group of undocumented immigrants reported to have crossed the river on Mar. 8, 2016.
Border Patrol Agent Isaac Villegas makes his way through Carrizo cane, an invasive plant species that lines the banks of the Rio Grande in Roma, TX. while searching for a group of undocumented immigrants reported to have crossed the river on Mar. 8, 2016.

New Carrizo Eradication Effort Reignites Old Debate

A state plan to eradicate invasive Carrizo cane along the Rio Grande — cited by Gov. Greg Abbott as a border security priority — is finally getting some funding after sitting dormant for almost a year. But environmental groups are ramping up to protest use of herbicides and aerial spraying to wipe out the pesky plant.

Boats and residential development in League City near Clear Lake on Nov. 10, 2015.
Boats and residential development in League City near Clear Lake on Nov. 10, 2015.

Hell and High Water: Risks Grow for Low-Lying Cities in Houston Region

The Clear Lake area features some of the nation's fastest-growing cities. Several experts worry that these low-lying coastal areas are now more vulnerable to storms — and that the general public has little idea of the risk. Read more in our "Hell and High Water" project, done in collaboration with ProPublica.

An aerial photograph of the Stolthaven Oil Tanking facility along the Houston Ship Channel on Nov. 10, 2015. Shell's Deer Park facility can be seen in the upper right.
An aerial photograph of the Stolthaven Oil Tanking facility along the Houston Ship Channel on Nov. 10, 2015. Shell's Deer Park facility can be seen in the upper right.

Hell and High Water: A Concern Centered on Storage Tanks

Storage tanks along the Houston Ship Channel hold one of the world's largest concentrations of oil, gases and chemicals. These products are vital to the U.S. economy, but scientists fear there is a disaster waiting to happen when Houston's perfect storm comes. Read more about their concerns in our "Hell and High Water" project, done in collaboration with ProPublica.

Hurricane Ike water lines marked on building in The Strand area of Galveston Feb. 14, 2016.
Hurricane Ike water lines marked on building in The Strand area of Galveston Feb. 14, 2016.

Reveal Radio: A Monster Storm in the Making

Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, is a vital economic hub. So what would happen if hits the region in just the right spot? This episode of Reveal looks at a worst-case storm scenario for the region. This program is done in collaboration with The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, which co-produced the "Hell and High Water" multimedia project.

Flooding along the Blanco River in Wimberley in May 2015.
Flooding along the Blanco River in Wimberley in May 2015.

Flood Experts Call for Better Warning Systems

As the Blanco River rose rapidly in the early hours of May 24th, phones around Wimberley — most of which had 512 area codes — received urgent text alerts: danger, flooding, seek shelter. Laura McComb, who had a 361 area code, did not receive any such text.

The Fayette coal plant outside Austin is a major contributor of greenhouse gases.  In August, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, which targeted the nation's more than 600 coal-burning power plants. This is his most determined effort yet to tackle the effects of global warming by reshaping the nation’s power sector.
The Fayette coal plant outside Austin is a major contributor of greenhouse gases. In August, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, which targeted the nation's more than 600 coal-burning power plants. This is his most determined effort yet to tackle the effects of global warming by reshaping the nation’s power sector.

In Paris, Negotiators Ink Historic Climate Accord

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations, including the United States, struck an unprecedented climate agreement on Saturday that could have big implications for Texas — and also face big pushback from state leaders.

Physicist Paul Chu, head of the University of Houston's Center for Superconductivity, speaks at a research summit organized by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas on Nov. 13, 2015.
Physicist Paul Chu, head of the University of Houston's Center for Superconductivity, speaks at a research summit organized by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas on Nov. 13, 2015.

Texas Scientist Aims to Revolutionize Electricity Grid

Paul Chu, founding director and chief scientist at the University of Houston’s Texas Center for Superconductivity, discusses how energy storage could revolutionize the grid, and how Texas plays a role in advancing the technology. 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst accepted the microphone from Texas landowner Tommy Henderson on April 28, 2014, during a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement officials and news outlets on Red River land northeast of Byers, Texas. Dewhurst expressed support for ranchers in their fight with the BLM over land they say they own.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst accepted the microphone from Texas landowner Tommy Henderson on April 28, 2014, during a gathering of politicians, landowners, law enforcement officials and news outlets on Red River land northeast of Byers, Texas. Dewhurst expressed support for ranchers in their fight with the BLM over land they say they own.

House Clears Bill Aimed At Red River Confusion

Legislation aimed at resolving a dispute over who owns land along the Texas side of the Red River has cleared the U.S. House. But the White House has threatened to veto it.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller testifies during a hearing of the state Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs on Dec. 8, 2015. He defended a proposal to hike fees on services and licenses his agency provides.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller testifies during a hearing of the state Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs on Dec. 8, 2015. He defended a proposal to hike fees on services and licenses his agency provides.

Lawmakers Grill Miller on Ag Fee Hikes

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller faced pointed questions from lawmakers Tuesday over his plan to dramatically hike fees on a host of licenses, registrations and services that his agency provides. Miller stuck to his guns, saying he he no plans to halt it.

Paul McGuire, with the federal Bureau of Land Management, speaks with landowners in Clay County on April 28, 2014.
Paul McGuire, with the federal Bureau of Land Management, speaks with landowners in Clay County on April 28, 2014.

George P. Bush Wades into Red River Fight with Feds

The Texas land commissioner on Tuesday asked to joined seven North Texas families in a federal lawsuit that accuses the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of perpetuating an “arbitrary seizure” of land along a 116-mile strip of the river, whose changing course has fueled a century’s worth of property disputes along the state’s border with Oklahoma.

An Acadian Flycatcher with larval neotropical ticks around its eyes.
An Acadian Flycatcher with larval neotropical ticks around its eyes.

Songbirds Bring Exotic Strain of Ticks to Texas

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In her disease ecology lab in College Station, Sarah Hamer, peering through a microscope, examines an exotic tick the size of a poppy seed that's typically only found in Central and South America. How it made its way to Texas and whether it has the potential to transport tick-borne diseases that would affect human and animal health in the United States, are questions Hamer and a team of researchers are determined to answer.

Paul McGuire, with the federal Bureau of Land Management, speaks with landowners in Clay County on April 28, 2014.
Paul McGuire, with the federal Bureau of Land Management, speaks with landowners in Clay County on April 28, 2014.

Red River Landowners Take Battle with Feds to Court

Tired of waiting on lawmakers and bureaucrats to clear up their limbo, a group of North Texans has turned to the courts in an effort to reclaim thousands of acres of ranch and farmland along the Texas side of the Red River. It's land they’ve long tended — but the federal government claims it as its own. 

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Ag Agency's Fee Hikes Plant Seeds of Discontent

You can bet the farm on this: The Texas agricultural community isn't happy with the state Department of Agriculture's proposed fee hikes. Commissioner Sid Miller says he's prepared to "put on my rawhide underwear and take all the chewings."