Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: May 25, 2015

Featured

  1. Harris County in Crosshairs of Pollution Lawsuit Limits (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune, 5/20/2015)
    “With Harris County in its crosshairs, the state Senate on Wednesday tentatively approved legislation that could make it tougher for Texas counties to sue big-time polluters. If finally passed, House Bill 1794 would notch another victory for a wide range of business groups in a legislative session that’s been kind to industry at the expense of environmentalists and advocates for local control. The proposal would set a five-year statute of limitations and cap payouts at about $2 million when counties sue companies that have fouled their water or air.”
    www.texastribune.org
  2. Plan to tap Lake Conroe for drinking water stirs conflict (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 5/19/2015)
    With memories of a disappearing lake still fresh, residents are rallying against a plan to wean rapidly growing Montgomery County off groundwater by tapping the reservoir for drinking water, calling on officials to ‘Save the Lake.’ It was not too long ago that a punishing drought had lowered the lake by as many as 9 feet below normal, leaving several waterfront homeowners with unwanted beaches and unusable docks and local businesses without customers. Now several lakeside homeowners associations are circulating a petition asking the Conroe-based Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to suspend its plan, set to take effect Jan. 1, while the potential consequences are studied further.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. Air Alliance Houston and Milby High School conduct toxics monitoring (Adrian Shelley – AirCurrent News, 5/19/2015)
    “Recently, Air Alliance Houston joined forces with students from Milby High School to conduct air monitoring in east Houston. This effort is the latest project in a semester long partnership we have had with Jeff Stear, an Engineering Teacher (Lead) in the IPAA/PESA Petroleum Academy at Milby High School. All semester, Milby students in Mr. Stear’s class have learned about the refining industry and its impact on their health. In the Environmental Protection Agency’s new refinery air toxics rule, the agency has proposed to require that refineries begin measuring the amount of benzene that leaves their facilities. This so-called “fenceline” monitoring would be performed using a type of sampler known as a passive sorbent tube. The monitor is called “passive” because it simply sits and collects air that moves over it. This is in contrast to “active” monitoring technologies like UV-DOAS, which can measure for hundreds of compounds in real time. Monitoring for benzene is important. As the Milby High School students learned, benzene is a known human carcinogen that has significant public health impacts here in Houston. If students are exposed to benzene where they live or go to school, then their health is at risk.”
    http://airalliancehouston.org

EcoNotes

  • 24 May
    • Free Concert and Fireworks Mark Historic Opening
      of METRO’s Green and Purple Light-Rail Lines (Guidry News)
      http://guidrynews.com
    • Texas House Approves TWIA Overhaul (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 22 May
  • 21 May
  • 20 May
    • Harris County in Crosshairs of Pollution Lawsuit Limits (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Animated map shows Houston mass transit on the move (John-Henry Perera – Houston Chronicle)
      http://blog.chron.com
    • Houston Ranks Low In National Parks Survey (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Scientists Say BP Spill Killed Dolphins, BP Says No It Didn’t (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Data App: Track Texas Reservoir Levels (Ryan Murphy and Kate Galbraith – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Halliburton, BP resolve remaining issues over Deepwater Horizon disaster (Olivia Pulsinelli – Houston Business Journals)
      www.bizjournals.com
  • 19 May
    • Air Alliance Houston and Milby High School conduct toxics monitoring (Adrian Shelley – AirCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Plan to tap Lake Conroe for drinking water stirs conflict (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Stormy weather can’t dampen party spirit as Katy Prairie Conservancy bash brings in $200,000 (Shelby Hodge – CultureMap Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Outgoing Houston Zoo CEO Discusses the State of the Zoo and the Return of Gorillas (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • The White House is buzzing with plans to save the bees (Liz Core – Grist)
      http://grist.org
    • To fight bee decline, Obama proposes more land to feed bees (Seth Borenstein – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Study: Lower than expected air pollutants detected at Marcellus drilling sites (Susan Phillips – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Texas Campaign for the Environment responds to Gov. Abbott signing HB 40 into law (Waxachietx Daily Light)
      www.waxahachietx.com
    • A Strange El Niño Is Bringing Rain To Texas (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Texas Governor Signs Bill That Makes Local Fracking Bans Illegal (Ari Phillips – Climate Progress)
      http://thinkprogress.org
    • Targeted drought funding builds on substantial drought relief efforts (USDA News)
      www.nrcs.usda.gov
    • Watch A Drone Save Texans From A Flash Flood (Kelsey D. Atherton – Popular Science)
      www.popsci.com
    • FHWA announces 2015 Environmental Excellence Award recipients (Chris Hill – Better Roads)
      www.equipmentworld.com
  • 18 May
    • Climate change altering frequency, intensity of hurricanes (Science Daily)
      www.sciencedaily.com
    • How a sales-tax holiday for guns would hurt Texas state parks (Evelyn L. Merz – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • You bought it at a farmers’ market. But was it locally grown? (Pam Walker – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Abbott Signs Law To Rein In Texas Cities That Try To Regulate Drilling (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Forty Miles From Houston: A Sustainable Subdivision In The Land Of Texas Oil & Gas (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Ban on fracking bans would do much more to cut local authority, critics say (Bill Dawson and Greg Harman – Texas Climate News)
      http://texasclimatenews.org
    • Farmers are asking if El Niño is here to stay, and when will the rains end (Logan Hawkes – Southwest Farm Press)
      http://southwestfarmpress.com
    • Fact-checking Texas fracking, pollution, earthquakes (W. Gardner Selby – Austin American-Statesman)
      www.politifact.com
    • Major Agreement Paves Way for New Transportation Solutions (Jo-Carolyn Goode)
      http://stylemagazine.com
    • The EPA Myth of “Clean Power” (Canada Free Press)
      http://canadafreepress.com
    • Wetlands continue to reduce nitrates (ASWM News)
      www.aswm.org
    • Clean Water Act loophole corresponds to loss of wetland (ASWM)
      www.aswm.org
    • 5 things to know in Texas energy this week (B. Candace Beeke – Houston Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • DOE analyzes Texas Clean Energy coal gasification project (Barry Cassell – Electric Light & Power)
      www.elp.com
    • Five U.S Cities Named ‘Most Water Wise’ (The Auto Channel)
      www.theautochannel.com
    • Abbott Signs “Denton Fracking Bill” (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • House passes bill to stop EPA water rule (Timothy Cama and Cristina Marcos – ASWM News)
      www.aswm.org
  • 14 May
    • Bucket by bucket, drought fades in Dallas area, around state (Michael E. Young – The Dallas Morning News)
      www.dallasnews.com
    • Texas Water District, USDA Partner to Show Producers Way to Use Water Wisely (USDA News)
      http://blogs.usda.gov
  • 13 May
  • 12 May
    • Studies: Science-based response lacking in chemical disasters (Purdue University)
      www.purdue.edu
  • 6 May
    • EPA sets rules to protect from drinking water toxins (Jim Lynch – The Detroit News)
      www.detroitnews.com
  • 5 May
    • EPA regulator says set to release key herbicide report, lauds biopesticides (Carey Gillam – Reuters)
      www.reuters.com
  • 4 May
    • Horribly bleak study sees ’empty landscape’ as large herbivores vanish at startling rate (Fred Barbash and Justin Wm. Moyer – The Washington Post)
      www.washingtonpost.com

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: May 18, 2015

Featured

  1. Texas Passes On New Park Benches Equipped With Air Analyzers (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 5/13/2015)
    “In a growing number of cities across the country, the federal government is installing what look like park benches in public places. But they’re not just a place to sit. They actually have a scientific purpose… That’s right. [They are] air pollution monitoring station[s] disguised as a park bench[es]. It’s the brainchild of some scientists at the federal Environmental Protection Agency.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  2. Some enviro-friendly items hurt recyclers’ bottom line (Sarah Scully – Houston Chronicle, 5/8/2015)
    “As low commodity prices have left recyclers short on cash to invest in technological upgrades, product manufacturers are coming out with new types of packaging that make business even tougher. These products include lighter-weight plastic bottles, resealable pouch containers and other items that are popular with consumers and often better for the environment because they require less energy to produce and transport. Water bottles are made with less plastic now, for example, and thin plastic film is replacing heavier packaging. But poor consumer education means that items like trash, grocery and dry cleaning bags end up in recyclers’ sorting facilities where they don’t belong and can jam machines.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. Houston-Harris County Partnership Targets Illegal Dumping (Florian Martin – Houston Public Media, 5/13/2015)
    “The city has long fought illegal dumping in Houston. In its newest action on the issue, the City Council approved an agreement with Harris County to install at least 25 cameras in council districts with the highest number of reported incidents. Mayor Annise Parker said offenders are prosecuted aggressively… But it’s difficult to catch someone who dumps trash somewhere on the side of the road. The cameras are one tool to address the issue. As part of the agreement with the county, the city will pay $250,000 for the equipment, but Harris County Constable for Precinct 1 Alan Rosen’s office will review the footage.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org

EcoNotes

  • 17 May
  • 15 May
    • U.S. green groups sue in challenge to oil train safety rules (Ayesha Rascoe – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 14 May
    • UH Researchers: Climate Change Helped to Reduce Ozone Levels (Guidry News)
      www.guidrynews.com
    • End of the Road for Tesla, Ride-for-Hire Bills (Jim Malewitz and Ryan McCrimmon – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Bring It On Houston! Bikes Welcome at All Hours on METRORail (METRO News)
      http://content.govdelivery.com
    • Climate change helped to reduce ozone levels, study says (Phys.org)
      http://phys.org
    • End of the Road for Tesla, Ride-for-Hire Bills (Jim Malewitz and Ryan McCrimmon – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Nuclear Science Center Evacuated After Chemical Spill (KBTX News)
      www.kbtx.com
  • 13 May
  • 12 May
    • A Sign of the Times as Metro Launches a New Bus Network (Mass Transit)
      www.masstransitmag.com
    • TPWD Temporarily Closes Alligator Gar Fishing in Trinity River Downstream of Dallas (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Amid Local Control Fight, a GOP Proposal Cities Like (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Officials call on Texas to go big on solar – Environment Texas to distribute 46,000 flyers on solar energy (Environment Texas)
      www.environmenttexas.org
    • ALA Report: air quality mixed in Texas, throughout USA (Elena Craft – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
  • 11 May
    • As EPA Pushes For Cleaner Air, Refineries Push Back (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Abbott declares State Of Disaster in Texas counties (Deer Park Broadcaster)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • What Tesla’s Powerwall Home Energy Storage Battery Means for Texas (Marita Mirzatuny – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
    • Gulf Coast ports and Texas freight facilities…here’s an opportunity for you! (Christina Wolfe – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
    • As poaching heats up, conservationists advocate sending South Africa rhinos to Texas (Amy Westervelt – The Guardian)
      www.theguardian.com
    • Auction Results for the Earth Day Art Contest (Sara Heald – Earth Day Houston)
      www.earthdayhouston.org
    • Winners announced for Texas State Fish Art contest (Lone Star Outdoor News)
      www.lsonews.com
  • 8 May
    • Some enviro-friendly items hurt recyclers’ bottom line (Sarah Scully – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • The story behind those endangered-species signs and stickers (Matthew Schneider-Mayerson – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Candidates, public see different routes to solve gridlock (Rebecca Elliott – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Water Flowing From Toilet to Tap May Be Hard to Swallow (John Schwartz – The New York Times)
      www.nytimes.com
  • 7 May
    • Collaboration key to new water technologies (Monique Ching – San Angelo Times)
      www.gosanangelo.com
  • 6 May
    • Houston farmers market named tops in Texas and one of 50 best in the USA (Elizabeth Rhodes – CultureMap Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Data App: Track Texas Reservoir Levels (Ryan Murphy and Kate Galbraith – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 5 May
    • In recycling, economics trump good intentions (Sarah Scully – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Water districts challenged to increase conservation (Robin Foster – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
  • 4 May
    • Tear down the Pierce Elevated. Make it Pierce Promenade. (John S. Jacob – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
  • 29 April
    • Recycling woes, less trash send Waste Management to a loss (Sarah Scully – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com