Tribpedia: Environmental Problems And Policies

Texas contains an abundance of natural resources, but efforts to impose environmental regulations have faced roadblocks for many decades. Texas holds a large share of the nation's oil and chemical manufacturing industries, so state policymakers must balance economic considerations with the need to curtail environmental risk. Oil, gas and chemical manufacturing industries employ thousands of Texans and contribute billions ...

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.

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.

EPA Backs Texas Disposal Well Plan

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. 

 

Workers cut open bags of WaterSavr, an evaporation suppressant, to apply the powder to Lake Arrowhead. WaterSavr's manufacturers claim it will save 30 percent of water that would have otherwise evaporated from the reservoir.
Workers cut open bags of WaterSavr, an evaporation suppressant, to apply the powder to Lake Arrowhead. WaterSavr's manufacturers claim it will save 30 percent of water that would have otherwise evaporated from the reservoir.

Four Guys and a Boat Tackle a Texas-Sized Water Problem

Drought-stricken Wichita Falls is trying a bold experiment to address one of Texas' most vexing water problems. It consists of four guys, a motorboat and thousands of pounds of a white powder that suppresses evaporation.

Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.
Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.

Water Planners Focus on Bigger Texas, Not a Hotter One

As state water planners prepare to spend $2 billion in public funds to address Texas’ water needs in the coming decades, scientists say state leaders' skepticism on climate change will only impair such planning.

Texas remains one of the most significant contributors to global warming in the world. Year after year, Texas spews out more greenhouse gases than any other state in the country.
Texas remains one of the most significant contributors to global warming in the world. Year after year, Texas spews out more greenhouse gases than any other state in the country.

Climate Scientists: Texas is Missing an Opportunity

Texas-based climate scientists say that Texas could be a global leader in protecting against climate change. But if state agencies continue to fail to take climate change into account when planning for the state’s future, the scientists argue, Texans will suffer a direct impact.

 

 

The Disappearing Rio Grande Expedition

The Rio Grande's future has never been more uncertain. Reporter Colin McDonald and photojournalist Erich Schlegel are traveling the river's length, documenting its culture and its biology from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.

Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."
Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."

Another Loss for Texas in Its Challenge of EPA Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court largely rejected Attorney General Greg Abbott’s challenge of federal climate rules Monday, deciding that the EPA is allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from most large industrial facilities.

Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."
Gov. Rick Perry has said that a new federal proposal to cut carbon emissions is "the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans."

What Texas Could Do to Follow Climate Change Rules

Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas leaders say a federal proposal to combat climate change is a direct assault on energy providers. This Tribune analysis examines what Texas would have to do to reach the goals set forth in the proposal — if that proposal stays as is.

Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.
Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.

What's the Magic Number on Texas' Water Needs?

How much water does the state need in the coming decades? It depends on whom you ask. State water planners say that Texas needs 2.7 trillion more gallons of water a year by 2060. But some water law and planning specialists say that figure is far too high.

 

EPA Seeks to Clarify Federal Water Law

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are backing a rule change that would better define bodies of water protected by the Clean Water Act. That could mean increased government oversight of streams and wetlands across Texas.