Tribpedia: Tom "Smitty" Smith

Texas Gets a D+ in Public Integrity Study

Texas scored a 68 out of 100, coming in at 27th place in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.

A National Guard soldier receives a seasonal flu shot in Virginia in 2009.
A National Guard soldier receives a seasonal flu shot in Virginia in 2009.

Off-Base?

The Texas commission charged with aiding economies hit by military base closures will spend millions for a vaccine plant in Bryan-College Station — even though the region’s military base closed nearly five decades ago.

Two new reactors, shown at the upper left-hand corner of this artist's rendering, could be added to the Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Somervell County.
Two new reactors, shown at the upper left-hand corner of this artist's rendering, could be added to the Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Somervell County.

The Nuclear Option

Seventeen years ago, Texas turned on its last nuclear reactor, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. In another decade, several more reactors could get built here — if events in Washington go the power companies' way.

Seeing Green

The Environmental Protection Agency's campaign against Texas' air pollution permitting process is well-known, but federal regulators are also working to tighten a number of other rules relating to power plant waste, ozone and greenhouse gas emissions. Texas businesses fear that the new regulations will dent the state's fragile economic recovery. Environmentalists are, predictably, delighted.

A Hostile Climate

The Obama administration's push to pass carbon control legislation got a boost yesterday with the release of a new version of the bill in the U.S. Senate. Here in Texas, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the state's GOP leadership continues to fight back against what they view as an energy tax bill.