Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: May 1, 2015

Featured

  1. 5 Things to Know About Communities of Color and Environmental Justice (Jasmine Bell – Center for American Progress, 4/25/2016)
    “Environmental racism and failing infrastructure have plagued communities of color for decades. The environmental justice movement seeks to rectify the problems created from these issues by ensuring the fair treatment of all people from different races, ethnicities, and incomes with the laws, regulations, and policies that affect their environment. The water contamination in Flint, Michigan, is just one window into the failures of infrastructure and environmental quality that have threatened communities across the country for generations. It has been more than 100 days since President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency due to the contaminated water in Flint. This column provides a snapshot of the environmental justice issues that communities of color across the country face every day.”
    www.americanprogress.org
  2. Past week, over $50 million in environmental grant applications in Greater Houston Region were submitted to TCEQ to fund projects that will reduce flooding and improve habitat, quality of life and economic development (The Katy News, 4/20/2016)
    “This past week over $50 million in grant proposals benefiting the eight-county Greater Houston Region were submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to be considered for funding under the RESTORE Act, part of the gulf oil spill recovery plan. The total amount available for funding under TCEQ’s current request for RESTORE applications is $56 million (www.restorethetexascoast.org). As part of a two-year effort to create the first-ever 8-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston RCP), over 50 partners collaborated together to submit the 14 respective projects, ranging in amounts from $750,000 to over $12 million. These projects allow for hundreds of acres in restored prairies, riparian corridors along 14 creeks and bayous, coastal wetlands, reforestation and nature-based pedestrian trails (see attached Joint Letter of Support from the Gulf-Houston RCP Steering Committee and map of the project locations).”
    http://thekatynews.com
  3. Texas Court: Houston Overstepped with Air Pollution Rules (Jordan Rudner – The Texas Tribune, 4/29/2016)
    “In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the BCCA Appeal Group, a coalition of companies including ExxonMobil, the Dow Chemical Company, and ConocoPhillips, against the city of Houston, which sought to penalize companies in criminal court when those companies violated state emission guidelines. Attorneys for the city of Houston argued that the city was simply trying to enforce the standards set out by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a state agency, by putting in place a parallel enforcement mechanism that would impose fines on the companies even if the Commission chose not to act.”
    www.texastribune.org

EcoNotes

  • 1 May
  • 29 April
    • Texas Court: Houston Overstepped with Air Pollution Rules (Jordan Rudner – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Congressman Plans Bill to Speed Hurricane Protection (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Texas Lawmaker Warns of Outer Space Death Pulse (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Solar Together: A Proposal (Colin McCormick and David Sandalow – Center on Global Energy Policy)
      http://energypolicy.columbia.edu
  • 28 April
    • “Bridge to Clean Air” Project Completes First Phase (Adrian Shelley – airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Grassland To Gas Land: How Texas Ranches Could Help Offset Climate Change (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Texas Breakdown: 68 Million Pounds of Pollution Released During Industrial Malfunctions and Maintenance Last Year (airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Another year of conservation impacts: new IRNR and TWRI annual reports (Texas Water Resources Institute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
    • Rebuilding monarch numbers: landowners, agencies and cities pitch-in (Eva Vigh – Texas Water Resources Institute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
    • New USDA research: feral hogs threaten turkey populations (Texas Water Resources Institute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
    • Record year for whooping cranes in USFWS surveys (Texas Water Resources Institute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
    • HARC’s People and Nature Speaker Series, Featuring Michael E. Webber (HARC Blog)
      www.harcresearch.org
    • METRO police to enhance service with body cameras (Memorial Examiner)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • NOAA Announces New Gulf Red Snapper Catch Limits, Targets and Seasons (The Fishing Wire)
      www.thefishingwire.com
  • 27 April
    • Plants Emitting Pollutants Illegally, Report Finds (Kiah Collier, Texas Tribune – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • How Driverless Cars Could End Up Harming the Environment (Jason Bordoff – The Wall Street Journal)
      http://blogs.wsj.com
    • Renowned climate and energy expert Dr. Phil Sharp joins columbia SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy (Center on Global Energy Policy)
      http://energypolicy.columbia.edu
  • 26 April
    • Seed Paper – It Grows on You! (Ryan Draper – The Houston Zoo Blog)
      www.houstonzoo.org
    • Reliant Program Raises More Than $450,000 for EarthShare of Texas (EarthShare)
      http://earthshare-texas.org
    • Billionaire green donor launches U.S. millennial voter drive (Valerie Volcovici – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Groundwater quality changes alongside expansion of hydraulic fracturing (Phys.org)
      http://phys.org
    • From coast to coast, seas shape economy — and political debate (Emily Yehle – E&E Publishing)
      www.eenews.net
    • U.S. fight against Zika mosquito depends on local effort (Liz Szabo – USA Today)
      www.usatoday.com
    • Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Council Approves Over $580,000 in Conservation Grants (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • Exciting Things Are Happening in the Southeast! (NOAA’s Marine Debris Blog)
      https://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com
    • Senate testimony: Challenges and opportunities for oil and gas development in different price environments (Center on Global Energy Policy)
      http://energypolicy.columbia.edu
    • Damage Estimates Rise for Houston-Area Flooding (Juan A. Lozano and David Warren – Claims Journal)
      www.claimsjournal.com
    • Opponents call EPA smog restrictions ‘unachievable’ (Robert Walton – Utility Dive)
      www.utilitydive.com
    • Texas joins group challenging federal ozone rule (Leah Durain – 12 News)
      www.12newsnow.com
    • Storm cleanup waiting on TCEQ approval (The Daily Tribune)
      www.dailytribune.net
    • Check and clean those windshield wipers often (Pat Peschka – The Hutchinson News)
      www.hutchnews.com
  • 25 April
    • 5 Things to Know About Communities of Color and Environmental Justice (Jasmine Bell – Center for American Progress)
      www.americanprogress.org
    • How A Deadly Cloud In Houston Decades Ago Led To ‘Shelter-In-Place’ (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Solar Energy War: Utilities Set Their Sights on Rooftop Solar – Motley Fool (Green Sight)
      www.greensight.com
    • Houston Zoo Staff Saving Wildlife in the Mariana Islands (Part III)! (The Houston Zoo Blog)
      www.houstonzoo.org
    • The Economic Value of Urban Forests (Builder)
      www.builderonline.com
    • Politics and Global Warming, Spring 2016 (Anthony Leiserowitz, Edward Maibach, Connie Roser-Renouf, Geoff Feinberg and Seth Rosenthal – Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)
      http://climatecommunication.yale.edu
    • Land restoration on the Gulf Coast is showing some progress (Adam Wernick – PRI)
      www.pri.org
    • What’s next for Japan’s energy and climate landscape (Center on Global Energy Policy)
      http://energypolicy.columbia.edu
  • 23 April
  • 22 April
    • How To Avoid Future Houston Flooding Crises? Build Higher And Away From Bayous (Florian Martin – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Texas A&M Forest Service supports soil and water stewardship week (Texas A&M Forest Service)
      http://tfsweb.tamu.edu
    • Colorful Wildflowers and Blooming Plants Abound at Texas State Parks (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
  • 20 April
    • Past week, over $50 million in environmental grant applications in Greater Houston Region were submitted to TCEQ to fund projects that will reduce flooding and improve habitat, quality of life and economic development (The Katy News)
      http://thekatynews.com
    • Wrecked wetlands lead to flooding. Here’s what you can do. (Jennifer Lorenz – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • After Texas Flooding, Health Hazards Emerge as Water Recedes (Gillian Mohney – ABC News)
      http://abcnews.go.com
  • 19 April
    • Houston gets an extension on meeting air standards, but for what purpose? (Marcelo Norsworthy – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 24, 2015

Featured

  1. “The new abnormal” – the latest Houston flood disaster’s climate context (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News, 4/20/2016)
    “This week’s catastrophic flooding in and around Houston – which claimed at least eight lives, officials reported – calls for climate context. It’s way too early, of course, for any scientific analyses of the sort that researchers call ‘attribution studies’ – attempts to calculate how much, if any, influence manmade climate change may have had on a particular weather event. Scientists, however, are increasingly pointing in general terms to links between warming temperatures due to carbon pollution, more water vapor in the air, and extreme downpours.”
    http://texasclimatenews.org
  2. Cheatham honored by Garden Club of America (Useful Wild Plants, Inc., 4/20/2016)
    “Scooter Cheatham, architect, community and regional planner, and president and founder of the non-profit organization Useful Wild Plants, Inc., has been selected to receive the prestigious Horticulture Commendation award at the Garden Club of America Zone IX (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi) convention on April 27 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Horticulture Commendation is awarded to individuals or organizations who are not members of the Garden Club of America but who have made a significant contribution to horticulture. Cheatham was nominated for the award by the Garden Club of Houston, one of the oldest and largest clubs in Zone IX states, for his extensive research, writing, and illustrations on the usefulness of plants and the importance of conserving and protecting these natural resources.”
    GCA PRESS RELEASE 04.20.16_2
  3. A Century Ago, How Houston Home Developers Reduced Flood Risk (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 4/22/2016)
    “The East End is one of Houston’s older neighborhoods, an area bordered by Buffalo Bayou downstream from where White Oak Bayou dumps into it. John Jacob lives here. He heads Texas A&M’s Coastal Watershed Program. So was he worried earlier this week as those two bayous surged with so much runoff? ‘No we are far from the floodplain,’ Jacob says. As he stood in his front yard, Jacob explained that a century ago, dirt dredged as they built the Ship Channel was put here to build the neighborhood where he now lives. So the homes are higher and out of the flood plain. “’n top of that (the homes are) built pier and beam. I have a crawl space underneath here,’ Jacob says, pointing to his porch that is a couple feet higher than the yard. Apparently, a hundred years ago, developers knew Houston flooded and went to great lengths to reduce the risk. But then there is what John Jacob saw this week: news video of people wading out of their much newer homes and apartments in places like the Greenspoint area, homes Jacob said were constructed right in the floodway of Greens Bayou, an area that he says is sure to flood.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org

EcoNotes

  • 22 April
    • LNVA funds a grant for BTA’s Neches River Adventures Environmental “Floating” Classroom (Big Thicket Association)
      PR LNVA.2016
    • Friday Weather Updates And Closures: Addicks Dam On Flood Watch (Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • A Century Ago, How Houston Home Developers Reduced Flood Risk (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • How To Avoid Future Houston Flooding Crises? Build Higher And Away From Bayous (Florian Martin – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • 7 Clean-Tech Companies That Solve More Than Environmental Problems (My SA News)
      www.mysanantonio.com
    • World-wide environmental movement to celebrate Earth Day (Stephenville Empire-Tribune)
      www.yourstephenvilletx.com
    • Owners of polluting VW vehicles could hear details of deal in June Wingate Wire (Wingate Wire)
      http://wingatewire.com
  • 21 April
    • REPORT: Houston air quality improved (The Pasadena Citizen)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Houston Metro Supports Flood Recovery Efforts (Mass Transit)
      www.masstransitmag.com
    • Environmental Experts Underscore Clean Power Plan Uncertainty (Sonal Patel – Power)
      www.powermag.com
    • Why Little Gas Leaks Are Adding Up To Big Losses For Texas (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Lawmakers fume over EPA-funded ads seeking pollution controls (Marc Heller – E&E Publishing)
      www.eenews.net
    • 2016’s ‘State of the Air’ report released (Lance Thomas – Investment Underground)
      http://investmentunderground.com
    • VW to offer to buy back nearly 500,000 U.S. diesel cars – sources (David Shepardson – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Climate change brings more pleasant weather to U.S.: for now (Will Dunham – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 20 April
    • “The new abnormal” – the latest Houston flood disaster’s climate context (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
      http://texasclimatenews.org
    • Cheatham honored by Garden Club of America (Useful Wild Plants, Inc.)
      GCA PRESS RELEASE 04.20.16_2
    • Houston Will Get More Heavy Downpours Because Of Climate Change Say Scientists (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Reliant Program Raises More Than $450,000 for EarthShare of Texas (Business Wire)
      www.businesswire.com
    • ‘State of the Air 2016’ – Health of More than Half of All Americans at Risk from Air Pollution (American Lung Association)
      www.lung.org
    • Texas Landowners Earn Lone Star Land Steward Awards for Conservation Efforts (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
  • 19 April
    • As Houston floods continue, residents question the city’s preparadness ( Michael Graczyk and Frank Bajak – The Christian Science Monitor)
      www.csmonitor.com
    • Houston flooding: Texas declares city a ‘disaster zone’ after five killed in historic floods (Rachael Revesz – Independent)
      www.independent.co.uk
    • New Flood Forecasting System May Help Warn Houston The Next Time (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • More road flooding expected in NW Harris Co. as reservoirs rise (Cindy George, Mihir Zaveri, and Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • After the flood: How to help (Andrea Waguespack – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • USGS Crews Measure Flooding in Central and Southeast Texas (USGS Newsroom)
      www.usgs.gov
    • Texas Game Wardens Aid in Houston Area Flood Response (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • The Toyota Texas Bass Classic: A Conservation Success Story (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • The granite goliath inspires imaginative excursions for kids of all ages. (Melissa Gaskill – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • Want healthier, happier kids? Take them outside! (Jennifer Bristol – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • Secrets of the Serpentarium: Texas A&M-Kingsville lab explores beneficial uses of snake venom. (Reeve Hamilton – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • Funds available for forest thinning through Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program (Texas A&M Forest Service)
      http://tfsweb.tamu.edu
  • 18 April
    • Storms leave Montgomery Co. subdivision in waist-deep water (Bridget Balch, Matthew Tresaugue, and Emily Foxhall – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Texas Parks and Wildlife Applauds “Land Stewardship Produces a Healthy Texas” Week April 24-May 1 (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • American Cities are Defending the Clean Power Plan – Even Against their Own State Politicians (Martha Roberts – Texas Clean Air Matters)
      http://blogs.edf.org
    • Is your vehicle allergic to spring? (Alex Osiadacz – KLTV)
      www.kltv.com
    • Texas State Net Impact is helping local businesses conserve energy and save money (Bailey Buckingham – The University Star)
      http://star.txstate.edu
    • Extremely Dangerous Roadway Conditions Prevent Safe Operations (Houston Style Magazine)
      http://stylemagazine.com
  • 17 April
    • Texans in Congress Largely Silent on Hurricane Protection (Neena Satija and Kiah Collier – Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org
    • What Starts Here Chills the World: UT’s efficiency places it at forefront of environmental sustainability (Laura Zhang – The Daily Texan)
      www.dailytexanonline.com
    • United Workers Youth Leader Receives Goldman Environmental Prize (Greg Sawtell – United Workers)
      www.unitedworkers.org
  • 15 April
    • The U.S. has been emitting a lot more methane than we thought, says EPA (Chris Mooney – The Washington Post)
      www.washingtonpost.com
  • 14 April
    • How Do We Get Our Drinking Water In The U.S.? (Zhai Yun Tan – NPR)
      www.npr.org
    • Texas fracking numbers are mind-boggling, but what do they really mean? (Jeff Mosier – The Dallas Morning News)
      http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com
  • 13 April
    • EPA: No Changes to Federal Lead Water Rule Until Next Year (Matthew Daly – ABC News)
      http://abcnews.go.com
  • 11 April