Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 22, 2014

Featured

  1. Almost 100 Houston Schools Near Toxic Chemical Facilities, Analysis Shows (Florian Martin – Houston Public Media, 4/16/2014)
    Ninety-five schools in the Houston area are within a mile of one or more facilities that work with dangerous chemicals. That’s according to an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Effective Government. Sara Smith, program director at the advocacy organization Texas Public Interest Research Group, or TexPIRG, said there are 33 facilities in Texas that each potentially threatens more than a million people, and 20 of those are in the greater Houston area. Not surprisingly, an online interactive map shows the majority of toxic chemical facilities are east of Houston, in the Pasadena-La Porte-Baytown area. They are also more likely to be in low-income and minority communities.
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  2. Rivals work together to limit greenhouse gases (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 4/16/2014)
    After years of fighting over how to tackle climate change, Texas and the EPA have come together to issue a permit for carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions at a petrochemical plant in Corpus Christi. The permit will allow Equistar Chemicals to expand an existing facility while limiting emissions of greenhouse gases through changes in plant operations, federal and state regulators said Wednesday. It’s the first one issued since the state decided to take an active role in the relatively new permitting process for emissions linked to global warming.
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. How Oil and Budget Cuts Threaten ‘the World’s Most Endangered Sea Turtle’ (Mose Buchele – StateImpact, 4/18/2014)
    Around this time every year female Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles arrive like clockwork on Matagorda Island on the Texas Gulf Coast. The Island is a wildlife refuge maintained by the service. Jeremy Edwardson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, says it’s usually kept free of all human activity. But not this year. The traffic is part of the ongoing oil cleanup by state and federal agencies in the wake of a barge accident in the Port of Houston. Officials are worried cleanup efforts could hurt the turtles and other wildlife. But the alternative – just leaving the oil on the beach – is not really an option.
    http://stateimpact.npr.org

EcoNotes

  • 19 April
    • Texas A&M Mourns Loss of Gulf Coast Philanthropist and Former Student Bill Lyons ’59 (A&M Science)
      www.science.tamu.edu
  • 18 April
    • How Oil and Budget Cuts Threaten ‘the World’s Most Endangered Sea Turtle’ (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Key senator withholds support for reservoir plan (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • In Power Line Dispute, Rancher Questions Wiggle Room (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 17 April
  • 16 April
    • Almost 100 Houston Schools Near Toxic Chemical Facilities, Analysis Shows (Florian Martin – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Household Electric Bills Up 25% From March 2013 (Andrew Schneider – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Houston moves toward sorting plan for recycling (Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • City putting its recycling hopes in One Bin (Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Gala Recognizes Importance of Birds to the Katy Prairie (The Rancher)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Rivals work together to limit greenhouse gases (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Court Thwarts Sierra Club’s Hazardous Waste Challenge (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • New hurricane forecast maps to show flood risk from storm surge (Barbara Liston – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fall 10 pct since 2005: EPA (Valerie Volcovici – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Gulf Council Seeks Applicants for an Ad Hoc Red Snapper For-Hire IFQ Advisory Panel (The Outdoor Wire)
      www.theoutdoorwire.com
    • Project Aims to Help Citizens Better Communicate Urban Development Ideas to City Leaders (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
  • 15 April
    • Woodlands church receives Earth Care Congregation certification (Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Texas City Dike, East Beach reopen (Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Court says EPA can limit mercury (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Parent’s push results in school garden (Lindsay Peyton – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Major West Texas lake could become multi-million-dollar mud hole (Carrie Taylor – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • One Bin to Rule Them All: Houston Moves Toward All-in-One Garbage and Recycling (Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Media – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Elected Officials and Community Leaders Support Exploration Green’s Groundbreaking (Exploration Green! News)
      http://explorationgreen.wix.com
    • Exploration Green breaks ground in Clear Lake (Y.C. Orozco – The Bay Area Citizen)
    • www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • City of Houston Issues One Bin For All Request for Proposals (The City of Houston News)
      www.houstongovnewsroom.org
    • Could Wind Energy Ever Replace Fossil Fuels in Texas? (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      http://www.houstonmatters.org
    • Earth Day Houston (Write on Metro Blog)
      http://blogs.ridemetro.org
    • As Oil Glut Moves, Debate Ignites Over Exporting U.S. Crude (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Oysters under siege (Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Homeowner gets radical about saving, conserving water usage (Russell Ledbetter – The Courier of Montgomery County)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
  • 14 April
    • Artificial reef for oysters completed on coast (The Courier of Montgomery County)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • City of Houston adds food and beverage cartons residential curbside recycling program (Memorial Examiner)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Drought continues strangle-hold on much of Texas (Ron Smith – Southwest Farm Press)
      http://southwestfarmpress.com
    • To Deal With Drought, Texas Needs to Manage Growth (Sarah Goodyear – Next City News)
      http://nextcity.org
    • Criticism of Water Policy Flows From Conservatives (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Still Considering Solutions to Prevent Another West (Terrence Henry – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Artist Boat’s Coastal Waters Institute schooling teachers on estuarine ecology (The Galveston County News)
      www.galvestondailynews.com
    • Is It Possible to Live Without a Car in Houston? (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • A Proposal for Birdwatch Towers along Galveston Bay (Raj Mankad – Off Cite)
      http://offcite.org
    • CenterPoint Energy and Trees For Houston partner to give away 2,500 shade trees (The Friendswood Journal)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Spring Migration Takes Wing (Heidi Lutz – Galveston News)
      www.galveston.com
    • Houston solar power dim compared to other cities (Josh Cain – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
  • 13 April
  • 12 April
    • When the earth talks: Ground-breaking Hermann Park project brings the sounds of the planet to the surface (Joel Luks – Culture Map Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
  • 11 April
    • The air up there: Houston’s air quality is under federal fire (Molly Ryan – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Texas remains wary of regulation after West (Matthew Tresaugue and Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Hungry Monarch Caterpillars Seek “Alternative Fuels” in wake of Milkweed Shortage (My SA News)
      http://blog.mysanantonio.com
    • In the Garden with Urban Harvest: Backyard corn can be grown with little effort (Bob Randall, Ph.D. – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Sandhill cranes an amazing sight at Nebraska stopover (Gary Clark – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • A Unified Effort Against the Oil Spill (Peter Davis – Galveston News)
      www.galveston.com
    • Last Block Of Artificial Oyster Reef Slides Into Place (Andrew Schneider – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  • 10 April
    • Builders Try to Cross Buffalo Bayou on ‘Anything That Floats’ (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • More Houstonians Are Beating Traffic By Working From Home (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • ‘Virtual explorers’ invited to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico on NOAA expedition (NOAA News)
      www.noaanews.noaa.gov
    • Fungal disease fatal to bats spreads to half of US (John Flesher and Todd Richmond – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Digging Up Old Drilling Logs to Strike Not Oil, but Water (Jim Malewitz – The New York Times)
      www.nytimes.com
  • 9 April
    • State weighs draining boats to stem invasives’ drain on ecosystems (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Memorial Hermann Katy achieves Energy Star Recognition for efficiency leadership (The Rancher)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 15, 2014

Featured

  1. USACE to complete $1.3 million Half Moon Reef project (Sandra Arnold – DVIDS, 4/7/2014)
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District is scheduled to complete construction of the $1.3 million Half Moon Reef project April 11 to restore 12 acres of sub-tidal reef and habitat located within the northernmost extent of the Half Moon Reef in Matagorda Bay, Texas – one of the largest restoration projects around the country. The project is the second segment of a larger 60-acre reef restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy to restore one of the largest oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. The project funds will continue to be used to monitor and survey the reef’s progression. According to Mark Dumesnil, associate director of coastal restoration for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, experts anticipate that Half Moon Reef will provide ecosystem benefits within months of completion of the new habitat for oysters and other key marine life. Additional expectations include the reefs serving as a natural barrier to protect the shoreline from storms, decreasing erosion and helping to protect coastal communities from tropical storms.
    www.dvidshub.net
  2. Award-winning Exploration Green project to break ground in Clear Lake (Flori Meeks – Houston Chronicle, 4/8/2014)
    Several park and greenspace projects in the Clear Lake area and Galveston have been singled out for recognition by the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The council, an association of governments in a 13 Gulf Coast-area counties, presents Parks and Natural Areas Awards every year in the areas of policy tools, the planning process, on-the-ground projects over $500,000 and on-the-ground projects under $500,000. The 2013 award winners, announced earlier this year, include the Clear Lake City Water Authority’s Exploration Green project. This effort, recognized in the planning category, calls for transforming the former Clear Lake City Golf Course at 1202 Reseda Drive into a flood detention, conservation and recreation area. The Clear Lake City Water Authority, which owns the golf course property, has developed plans for creating detention ponds on the 200-acre site, along with wetland areas and natural habitats for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Plans also call for the creation of natural hike-and-bike trails, athletic fields and other recreation areas.
    www.chron.com
  3. Experts Fear Impacts of Oil Cleanup on Texas Gulf Coast (Mose Buchele – StateImpact, 4/11/2014)
    Recovery efforts continue weeks after a barge accident in the Houston Ship Channel dumped tens of thousands of barrels of oil into Galveston Bay. That oil kills wildlife and damages the environment. But some are worried the cleanup itself could also disturb the ecosystem along the Texas Gulf Coast. Nowhere is that threat more apparent than in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Every morning this week, hundreds of workers have gone out to Matagorda Island, a part of that refuge, to try to remove the oil. On a recent tour organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the response team appeared to work with great care, gingerly scraping thin layers of oil-drenched sand away with shovels, then depositing it into nearby excavators for delivery into larger dump trucks. Over ten tons of sand has been removed so far. The thin barrier island, like the rest of the National Wildlife Refuge, is not meant for people. Now it’s home to ATVs, bobcat excavators, dump trucks, helicopters, and hundreds of response personnel. They – and the oil – all arrived right as migratory animals are passing through on their annual trip.
    http://stateimpact.npr.org

EcoNotes

  • 14 April
    • Criticism of Water Policy Flows From Conservatives (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 12 April
    • Texas and the IPCC’s report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
      http://texasclimatenews.org
  • 11 April
    • The air up there: Houston’s air quality is under federal fire (Molly Ryan – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Last Block Of Artificial Oyster Reef Slides Into Place (Andrew Schneider – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Experts Fear Impacts of Oil Cleanup on Texas Gulf Coast (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Texas remains wary of regulation after West (Matthew Tresaugue and Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Old Drilling Logs Help Researchers Map Brackish Water (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • EPA defends enforcement plan to focus on biggest polluters (Valerie Volcovici – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • El Nino more than 50 percent likely by summer: U.S. weather forecaster (Josephine Mason – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Democratic senators press Obama for Keystone decision by May 31 (Ros Krasny – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • U.S. storm team predicts below-average Atlantic hurricane season (Kevin Gray – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 10 April
    • Artificial reef will help restore marine bounty in Matagorda Bay (St. John Barned-Smith and Heather Alexander – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • This is What the Oil Spill Looks Like on Matagorda Island (Terrence Henry – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Council Requests Emergency Rule Resulting in 11-day Recreational Red Snapper Season for 2014 (Outdoors 360)
      www.outdoors360.com
    • Nelson Byrd Woltz firm creating Memorial Park Master Plan; open house for comment is April 16 (Your Houston News)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • City Hall Farmers Market to Relocate in May (Molly Dunn – Houston Press)
      http://blogs.houstonpress.com
    • ‘Virtual explorers’ invited to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico on NOAA expedition (NOAA News)
      www.noaanews.noaa.gov
  • 9 April
    • Walls: High Island offers plenty for bird watchers (Jerry Walls – The Courier of Montgomery County)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Grid operator endorses $590M power project for Houston area (Ryan Holeywell – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • How the Coast Guard is Managing Oil Spill Volunteers (Dave Fehling – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Senior Center Teaches Everything from Organic Gardening to Smartphones (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • State weighs draining boats to stem invasives’ drain on ecosystems (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Data App: Track Texas Reservoir Levels (Ryan Murphy and Kate Galbraith – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org\
    • Volunteers Playing Pivotal Role in Galveston Bay Cleanup (Dave Fehling, KUHF News/StateImpact Texas – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Four Years After BP Spill, Settlement Money Slowly Trickles In (Shawna Reding – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • How the Coast Guard is Managing Oil Spill Volunteers (Dave Fehling – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
  • 8 April
    • Final rock to be dropped Friday in $5.4M artificial reef project in Gulf (Heather Alexander – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Award-winning Exploration Green project to break ground in Clear Lake (Flori Meeks – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Sprawling Houston sees increase in commuter cyclists (Madison Henry – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • What a Ban on Fracking in Denton Could Mean For the Rest of Texas (Alex Dropkin – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
  • 7 April
    • USACE to complete $1.3 million Half Moon Reef project (Sandra Arnold – DVIDS)
      www.dvidshub.net
    • Let’s Talk About ‘The Boom’ (Terrence Henry – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Bluebonnets are in full bloom (The Leader)
      www.theleadernews.com
    • Drought now affecting two thirds of Texas (Carrie Taylor – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Growing concern surrounds low water at North Texas lakes (Sebastian Robertson – KHOU News)
      www.khou.com
    • Timber theft investigation leads to arrest (Sarah Fletcher – KLTV News)
      www.kltv.com
  • 6 April
    • Oil spills in Galveston Bay a routine occurrence (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Scholars warn, educate public on impending county water crisis (Russell Ledbetter – The Courier of Montgomery County)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Deeper and deeper: Effects of Galveston Bay oil spill linger as clean-up continues (Katie Oxford – CultureMap Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Latest oil incident belies painful truth (Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle – My SA News)
      www.mysanantonio.com
    • Drought threatens Texas rice farmers’ futures (Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle – News-Journal)
      www.news-journal.com
  • 4 April
  • 3 April
    • Anadarko to pay more than $5 billion to settle environmental dispute (Jordan Blum – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
  • 2 April
  • 31 March
    • Houston Ship Channel Oil Slick Shows Up In Corpus Christi (Pat Hernandez – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Feds allow Exxon to restart Texas leg of Pegasus pipeline (Lance Murray – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Exxon Mobil not backing down from activist shareholders (Jordan Blum – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Cleaning up crab traps to save animals in the wild (Renee Bumpus – The Official Houston Zoo Blog)
      http://blogs.houstonzoo.org
  • 27 March
  • 26 March
    • Oil Spill Threatens Galveston Bay’s Fishing Industry (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 24 March