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 ...

Bastrop Park Initiative Puts Emphasis on Seed Banking

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Scored pine tress outside of Bastrop where a wildfire came through on September 6, 2011.
Scored pine tress outside of Bastrop where a wildfire came through on September 6, 2011.

The wildfires that burned through Central Texas last Labor Day weekend, ravaged the area’s pine forests. The Texas Forest Service wants to plant 4 million loblolly pine seedlings in Bastrop State Park over the next few years, to help restore the forest to its original splendor. But, as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, the stored seedlings were almost thrown away before the fires struck.

Cameras developed for analyzing comet tails might also serve as early wildfire detection.
Cameras developed for analyzing comet tails might also serve as early wildfire detection.

Space-Tech Cameras May Help Spot Wildfires

In the year since wildfires destroyed thousands of homes across Central Texas, officials have looked for ways to reduce the threat of fires. They've since found one, in technology developed not for fighting fires but for exploring outer space.

The rubble of a house remains after last weeks' wildfire remains untouched on September 9, 2011.
The rubble of a house remains after last weeks' wildfire remains untouched on September 9, 2011.

A Year After Fires, Communities Focus on Prevention

Sept. 4 marks one year since wildfires ravaged Central Texas, causing officials and residents to rethink how they manage their land. Since then, some communities have taken it upon themselves to make their surroundings safer in the event of another wildfire.

Melvin Pulver of Spicewood lost his mobile home and everything else in the fire a year ago.
Melvin Pulver of Spicewood lost his mobile home and everything else in the fire a year ago.

Central Texans Recount an Escape From Roaring Fires

Nearly a year after wildfires tore through Central Texas, Spicewood residents Melvin Pulver and Debbie Opdahl recount how Pulver survived the Pedernales fire Sept. 4 through quick thinking and a little luck.

An almost completely burned sign stands amid rubble at Bastrop State Park on Sept. 13, 2011.
An almost completely burned sign stands amid rubble at Bastrop State Park on Sept. 13, 2011.

A Year Later, Tracing the Roots of the Central Texas Wildfires

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As the anniversary of last year's Central Texas wildfires draws near, KUT News and StateImpact Texas revisit what led to the worst fires in state history, and how the state has changed since last summer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.

As Climate Hurts Cattle, Ranchers Turn to Genetics

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For years researchers have been studying how to develop cattle that are heat and drought tolerant. And while crossbreeding isn't a new development, it's becoming more common among Texas ranchers as summers become drier and hotter.

A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.
A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.

Amid Fracking Boom, Concerns Over Cancer Rates

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Dramatic increases in oil and gas production, and the drilling technique called fracking, have been tied to elevated levels of air pollution in Texas, stirring concerns over health risks like cancer.

Jaime Gonzalez, community education director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, cut some blossoms off roughcone flowers Aug. 6 at a prairie in Deer Creek.
Jaime Gonzalez, community education director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, cut some blossoms off roughcone flowers Aug. 6 at a prairie in Deer Creek.

"Pocket Prairies" Preserve Houston's Native Plants

"Pocket prairies" have been popping up all over Houston, helping beautify the city while preserving the native plants that are now harder to find in Harris County.

In Fight Between Texas and EPA, Who's Winning?

A federal appeals court on Monday handed Texas a victory in its long-running battle with the Environmental Protection Agency. But after years of squabbling between the two sides, who's winning — and at what cost — remains unclear.

Amid Texas Drought, a Sweet Silver Lining

Triple-digit temperatures and parched lands may not be ideal for Texas farmers. But the dry conditions this summer have bestowed an unexpected gift on farmers' fruit and vegetable crops: enhanced flavor.

Study Links Gas Drilling to Earthquakes in Texas

Texans living near the Dallas-Fort Worth drilling area called the Barnett Shale may have recently noticed some tremors under their feet. A new study out this week from the University of Texas names the oil and gas industry as the culprit.

UT Professor on Defensive Over Fracking Study

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Controversy over a professor's failure to disclose financial ties to a drilling company while leading an academic study has erupted at the University of Texas at Austin. The professor, Dr. Charles "Chip" Groat, has called the charges unfounded and overblown.

Drought Not the Only Factor in Texas Tree Deaths

The 2011 drought wreaked havoc on the state's trees, but according to a new report, few of them died directly from dehydration. Rather, trees weakened by the drought likely fell prey to a different culprit: diseases and insects.

Pain in Midwest Could Be Texas Farmers' Gain

Though Texas has partly recovered from extreme drought conditions thanks to heavy rains, the Midwest is enduring one of its worst dry spells in decades. And as conditions in the Midwest drive food prices up, some say Texas farmers stand to benefit.

Seen is the ASARCO Smelter site on Sunday July 8, 2010 in El Paso, Texas. The site began operations as a lead smelter in 1887 and started producing copper in 1910. Plagued by a series of environmental problems and a slump in the price of copper, Asarco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 and shut down.
Seen is the ASARCO Smelter site on Sunday July 8, 2010 in El Paso, Texas. The site began operations as a lead smelter in 1887 and started producing copper in 1910. Plagued by a series of environmental problems and a slump in the price of copper, Asarco declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 and shut down.

El Paso Plant’s Old Smokestacks Have Avid Fans

Two smokestacks in El Paso — remnants of the smelting company ASARCO — remind many residents of a legacy of environmental damage. But to a local group, the stacks, now slated for demolition, are landmarks worth saving.