Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: May 4, 2015

Featured

  1. Breathe easier: Houston’s air quality is improving, according to new report (Elizabeth Rhodes – Culture Map Houston, 5/1/2015)
    “In spite of all the traffic congestion around town, Harris County’s air quality appears to be improving, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. The State of the Air 2015, released earlier this week, found that Houston ranks as one of the cleanest cities in the nation for short-term particle pollution. The number of days spent with unhealthy ozone levels and year-round particle pollution improved, as well. The city has seen slight improvements in year-round particle pollution (soot) levels from 2014, which is in keeping with the national trend, according to the report.”
    http://houston.culturemap.com
  2. EPA Promotes Green Initiatives at Port of Houston (Eric Haun – Marine Link, 4/27/2015)
    “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the Port of Houston April 24 to highlight grants aimed at improving air quality. The port will receive about $900,000 in funding as part of EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant program for clean diesel projects at U.S. ports… The grant will help replace 25 older drayage trucks with trucks powered by certified engines that are model year 2011 or newer. These drayage trucks operate in the Port of Houston and along the Houston Ship Channel. The new trucks will also have GPS units to collect data on idling and port operations, which will allow fleet owners and operators to gauge opportunities for additional fuel savings and emissions reduction. These reductions are important to overall air quality in the Houston-Galveston area, which currently does not meet Clean Air Act standards for ozone.”
    www.marinelink.com
  3. Texas Considers New Regulations To Restore Oyster Habitat (Laurie Johnson – Houston Public Media, 4/27/2015)
    “First there was Hurricane Ike. Then the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Then a serious drought, followed by another smaller oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel. Combine all of that with a seemingly insatiable demand for fresh oysters and you have a classic case of short supply, inflated prices and the temptation for oyster fishermen to bend the rules. Lance Robinson manages the Coastal Fisheries division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He said a legal sack of oysters weighs 110 pounds. ‘In the absence of live oysters, some of the fishermen are adding dead shell into that sack to make up that difference, make up that weight,’ said Robinson… The TPWD is proposing a new rule to make it illegal for more than 15 percent of the bag to be composed of dead shell and undersized oysters. Robinson said besides the ethical concerns, there’s also an environmental reason to limit the amount of shell allowed in the sack.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org

EcoNotes

  • 1 May
    • Breathe easier: Houston’s air quality is improving, according to new report (Elizabeth Rhodes – Culture Map Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Aramco Services Company Volunteers Join the Galveston Bay Foundation in Restoring Oyster Reef on Galveston Island (Click2Houston)
      www.click2houston.com
    • University Of Houston Encourages Commuters To Bike To Campus (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • State Supreme Court Punts on Major Water Case (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Lawmakers Voting To Restrict City Regulation Of Oil & Gas (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Justices Again Avoid Underground Trespassing Question (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Tesla unveils suite of batteries for homes, businesses (Nichola Groom and Paul Lienert – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 30 April
    • Group focuses on improving FM 1960 corridor (Bryan Kirk – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Survey finds optimism about Houston economy despite oil downturn (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • American Lung Association Releases State of the Air 2015 Report; California Most Polluted (Rachel Cruz – HNGN)
      www.hngn.com
    • House Advances Bill to Speed Permits, Limit Protests (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Houston partnerships pay off…again! (Christina Wolfe – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
    • List: America’s most polluted cities (Independent Mail)
      www.independentmail.com
    • Decoding the causes and consequences of the 2014 oil price drop (Jason Bordoff and Akos Losz – Horizons)
      www.cirsd.org
    • Watershed conservation works to control flooding (Gainesville Daily Register)
      www.gainesvilleregister.com
    • House Advances Bill to Speed Permits, Limit Protests (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • This Isn’t Your Normal Bill to Gut the EPA (Jason Plautz – National Journal)
      www.nationaljournal.com
    • Texas Republicans Push Energy Changes in Congress (Zachary Vasile, Medill News Service – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Lawmakers Move to Speed Permits, Limit Protests (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 29 April
  • 28 April
    • The weird way that air pollution impacts how we think about innovation (Dominic Basulto – The Washington Post)
      www.washingtonpost.com
    • I-45 mega-project meetings move to Midtown Tuesday (Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle)
      http://blog.chron.com
    • Kingwood residents share thoughts on mobility plans (Jennifer Summer – The Kingwood Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Baylor University Geology Doctoral Candidate Receives Prestigious Award for Groundwater Research (Baylor)
      www.baylor.edu
    • Pinemont Deal Gets Green Light by METRO Board and Harris County Commissioners (Guidry News)
      http://guidrynews.com
    • Chipotle goes GMO-free in first for fast-food sector (Lisa Baertlein – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Texas needs network for sharing water supplies (WATR News)
      http://watrnews.com
    • Texas Big Game Awards to Recognize Texas Hunters and Land Stewards (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
  • 27 April
  • 26 April
  • 24 April
    • Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Drought persisting in part of Central Texas (Jared Plushnick – KVUE)
      www.kvue.com
  • 23 April
    • Lone Star Land Steward Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
  • 22 April
    • Williams: Houston group of Sierra Club donates money to USW oil workers strike fund (Nikki Whitehead – Sierra Club)
      http://texas2.sierraclub.org
    • Plant flares could pump out more pollution than previously thought (Jamie Smith Hopkins – The Center for Public Integrity)
      www.publicintegrity.org
    • San Angelo to get first graywater development (Monique Ching – Go San Angelo)
      www.gosanangelo.com
  • 20 April
  • 15 April
    • Double Bayou Watershed Partnership Holds Ninth General Meeting of Stakeholders (The Liberty County Vindicator)
      www.thevindicator.com
  • 13 April
    • Air quality video on HARC’s BeeTEX project (HARC News)
      www.harc.edu
  • 6 April

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 27, 2015

Featured

  1. Earth Day: Analyzing Houston’s Environmental Successes And Shortcomings (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media, 4/21/2015)
    “University of Houston professor Martin Melosi has been analyzing the city’s environmental issues for about 30 years. He says flooding has long been a concern for the region, but Houston has developed better responses like the bayous. ‘I do think that we have probably applied more modern technology and new modern approaches to dealing with it than we had 30 years ago,’ Melosi says. But he says Houston falls short in other areas, namely air quality. He says oil and gas and petrochemical operations contribute to the pollution. But as the growing population brings more vehicles, Melosi says Houston hasn’t kept pace with maintaining clean air.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  2. EPA Chief in Houston: Some Neighborhoods ‘Overburdened’ With Pollution (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 4/22/2015)
    “Manchester is a community about five miles southeast of downtown Houston. It’s right next door to a refinery and very near petrochemical plants along the Houston Ship Channel. It’s where the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, will meet Thursday with environmental activists, residents and property owners. The activists call Manchester a “vulnerability zone” for chemical disasters and pollution. The neighborhood was featured in a report by environmentalists: Who’s in Danger? Race, Poverty and Chemical Disasters. McCarthy’s visit comes on the heels of an EPA finding that emissions from the giant flares that plants often use to burn off excess chemicals release far more smog-causing pollution that previously estimated; up to four times more.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  3. Texas to receive millions to restore coast (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 4/20/2015)
    “Texas is likely to receive as much as $65 million to build nesting islands for brown pelicans, gulls and other birds and to protect critically endangered sea turtles as part of a larger campaign to restore the Gulf of Mexico, officials said Monday. The money is part of the latest round of funding for restoration projects after the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. State and federal trustees and BP made the announcement on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf. For the fourth round of funding, the company and trustees agreed to spend $134 million on 10 projects… Under the plan, Texas would receive $20 million to build three islands in Galveston Bay and one in Matagorda Bay from dredge spoil to increase nesting habitat for colonial waterbirds.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 25 April
    • Oil, gas, power, prices: big themes from energy meeting (Jonathan Fahey – Times Union)
      www.timesunion.com
  • 24 April
    • Texas Nature Challenge 2015: Get Outside and Start Exploring (Texas A&M Forest Service)
      http://txforestservice.tamu.edu
    • Recycling: Add cartons to items you can now recycle (Nan Kirlin – Gaston Gazette)
      www.gastongazette.com
    • TCEQ cleans up contaminated soil (KGNS)
      www.kgns.tv
    • Key facts about the drought that’s reshaping Texas (The Fabius Maximus Website)
      http://fabiusmaximus.com
    • Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Keep track of BP oil spill restoration projects with new web database (Mark Schleifstein – The Times-Picayune)
      www.nola.com
    • 2 conservation dogs from Texas sniff out invasive giant snails in Ecuador’s Galapagos (FOX News)
      www.foxnews.com
  • 23 April
    • EPA Chief in Houston: Some Neighborhoods ‘Overburdened’ With Pollution (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Houston billionaire couple pledges $10 million for Bayou Greenways project adding more park space and trails (Shelby Hodge – Culture Map Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Lone Star Land Steward Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Texas Parks and Wildlife Applauds “Land Stewardship: Providing Water for Texans” Week April 26-May 3 (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Legislation Aims to for More Oversight of Scrap Metal Recycling in Texas (StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Carbon rules in spotlight on power day at CERAWeek (Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle – San Antonio Express)
      www.expressnews.com
    • CERAWeek: Texas moving away from coal without federal mandates (Rhiannon Meyers – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • CERAWeek: Transition away from coal power is “inevitable,” EPA boss says (Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • CERAWeek: EPA should expect litigation deluge over carbon emissions rules (Matthew Tresaugue – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • Austin Nonprofits Crowdfunding Power to the People (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
      EPA Recognizes Memorial Hermann with 2015 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award (San Antonio Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
  • 22 April
    • EPA Chief To Tour Houston Neighborhoods Near Oil Refinery And Chemical Plants (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • NOAA Establishes Separate Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational Quotas for Private and For-Hire Fishermen (Wakulla)
      www.wakulla.com
    • Dr. Cheryl Martin, former Acting Director of ARPA-E, joining as non-resident Fellow (Center on Global Energy Policy)
      http://energypolicy.columbia.edu
    • Jackie Speier: Don’t forget how Earth Day came about (San Jose Mercury News)
      www.mercurynews.com
    • “Famous Trees of Texas” authors to hold book presentation in College Station (Texas A&M Service)
      http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu
    • Oil, Gas Mining Operations Cited in Okla., Texas Earthquakes (John Blosser – NewsMax)
      www.newsmax.com
    • SFA environmental science program ranks top 50 in U.S. (The Pine Log)
      www.thepinelog.com
    • EPA Awards Clean Diesel Grants to US Ports (Eric Haun – Marine Link)
      www.marinelink.com
  • 21 April
    • Earth Day: Analyzing Houston’s Environmental Successes And Shortcomings (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • How BP Gulf Disaster Is Potential Windfall For Habitat Restoration (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • $134M Proposed For 10 BP-Funded Oil Spill Recovery Projects (Jeff Amy and Janet McConnaughey – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • EPA reviews accurate flare emission levels (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • What Could Reduce The Risk Of Another Catastrophic Oil Well Blowout? (Dave Fehling – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Water, water everywhere — especially in Gulf of Mexico (John Austin – Jacksonville Progress)
      www.jacksonvilleprogress.com
    • Earth Day celebrates birth of environmental movement (Cathy Mounce – Gainesville Daily Register)
      www.gainesvilleregister.com
    • Base members educate students about Earth Day (Sheppard Air Force Base)
      www.sheppard.af.mil
    • Study: Gas Activities “Most Likely” Caused Texas Quakes (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas One Step Closer To Ending Local Fracking Bans (Andy Szal – Chem Info)
      www.chem.info
    • Study Links Swarm of Quakes in Texas to Natural Gas Drilling (NBC News)
      www.nbcnews.com
  • 20 April
    • Texas to receive millions to restore coast (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Galveston beach parks to get $41 million face-lift (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • County Attorney Vince Ryan comes to aid of endangered species in Friend of Court brief (Guidry News)
      www.guidrynews.com
    • Next stop for Cigna Sunday Streets is the Heights (The Leader)
      www.theleadernews.com
    • Issues with Houston’s Bike Facilities (Bike Houston)
      www.bikehouston.org
    • Lawmaker Urges Colleagues to Act on Climate Change (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas House of Representatives approves ‘ban on fracking bans’ (James Perkins – Shale Energy Insider)
      www.shaleenergyinsider.com
    • Five years after BP oil spill, some Gulf oystermen are losing hope (Eagle Ford Texas)
      http://eaglefordtexas.com
    • What Could Reduce The Risk Of Another Catastrophic Oil Well Blowout (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Will Texas Ever Change Railroad Commission Name? (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • TPWD Taking Public Comment on Shrimp and Oyster Regulation Proposals (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Deepwater Horizon Trustees Announce Agreement in Principle for Next 10 Early Restoration Projects (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
  • 19 April
  • 18 April
  • 17 April
    • BP prez ready for his ninth year to bike to Austin (Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
  • 15 April
    • San Marcos watching water well level as summer nears (Brett Thorne – Community Impact)
      http://impactnews.com
    • Protests and regulatory changes arrive with Deepwater Horizon anniversary (Jordan Blum – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com