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

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 20, 2015

Featured

  1. County Attorney appeals trial court rulings in San Jacinto Waste Pits case (The Poutpourri, 4/17/2015)
    “Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today appealed trial court rulings in the case involving the contamination of the San Jacinto River. County Attorney Ryan filed a Notice of Appeal in the case of Harris County and the State of Texas v. International Paper. The case involves the contamination of the river by International Paper’s predecessor Champion Paper in the 1960s, when Champion’s Pasadena Mill disposed of dioxin-laced paper mill waste in pits dug on the river bank… The case was tried in October 2014, with a group of companies settling with Harris County and the State for $29.2 million before the jury returned its verdict. The County is appealing on the grounds that the jury was not permitted to hear key evidence from experts and witnesses who live and work near the river. ”
    www.yourhoustonnews.comCEC Note: EPA is hosting an information open house about the Superfund Site on April 30, 2015, in Channelview.
  2. Scientists Are Flying Over Texas Oil and Gas Fields To Measure Air Pollution (Mose Buchele – StateImpact, 4/13/2015)
    “A team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – has been circling over Texas, gathering data. The flights are part of a project to find out exactly how emissions from the state’s sprawling oil and gas fields pollute the air we breathe… The project tracks things like the excessive production of ozone, which has adverse affects on human health, and methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than even carbon dioxide. One thing they want to know is what fraction of the stuff being extracted really just ends up in the atmosphere — that’s called the ‘leak rate.’ It changes from oil field to oil field.”
    http://stateimpact.npr.org
  3. Checking in on The State of Houston’s Environment.
    (Houston Matters, KPFT, 4/17/2015)
    We continue our week-long series exploring “The State of Houston” with a conversation about the environment in Greater Houston. We talk with News 88.7 Energy and Environment Reporter Dave Fehling. We discuss concerns about clean air and clean water, new efforts to monitor chemical releases, ongoing disputes over landfills and other encroachment of our urban landscape into the rural landscape that surrounds it, and concerns about the impact of fracking (including earthquakes reported in North Texas, and the repercussions of the Denton fracking ban). We also talk about Houston’s recycling program and discuss other efforts to reduce carbon emissions in a community reliant on industry.
    www.houstonmatters.org
  4. Earth-Friendly Parking Lots Now a Reality with TrueGrid Permeable Pavement (University Chronicle, 4/15/2015)
    “New pavement solution made of 100-percent post-consumer recycled content reduces runoff, protects groundwater. Houston-based toy inventor Barry Stiles is the creative mind behind a new type of permeable pavement — one that significantly raises the bar for parking lots everywhere. Traditionally paved parking spaces are sites of major stormwater runoff. Because water cannot penetrate pervious pavements like asphalt and concrete, it instead runs across the surface, ultimately posing a danger to the quality of groundwater supplies and local ecosystems. However, parking lots can be made significantly eco-friendlier with the installation of TrueGrid, a plastic paving system that is 98 percent permeable — thus allowing water to absorb directly into the ground rather than running off the surface of the pavement.”
    www.ssuchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 18 April
    • Metro Delays Opening Of Houston’s Two New Light Rail Lines (Gail Delaughter – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  • 17 April
  • 16 April
    • Organic Groups Fight for Clean Compost (Katherine Proctor – Courthouse News Service)
      www.courthousenews.com
    • Checking in on The State of Houston’s Environment (Michael Hagerty – Houston Matters)
      www.houstonmatters.org
    • Nuclear reactor ship to start journey from Va. to Galveston (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • From The Toilet to the Tap The Future of Water is Here (The Spirit of Arkansas)
      www.katv.com
    • U.S. sued to curb deaths of sea turtles by shrimping industry (Barbara Liston – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar (Environment Texas)
      www.environmenttexas.org
  • 15 April
    • 10th Anniversary of Earth Day Houston: A Growing Success in Making Houston a Greener, More Sustainable City (airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Houston’s Bike Plan in a Nut Shell. (BikeHouston)
      www.bikehouston.org
    • Commentary: Charting a new future for the Gulf of Mexico (Laura Huffman – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center donates saplings from historic trees to Precinct 4 (The Kingwood Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Earth-Friendly Parking Lots Now a Reality with TrueGrid Permeable Pavement (University Chronicle)
      www.ssuchronicle.com
    • Demonstrators Take To BP Headquarters On Anniversary Of Oil Spill (Syeda Hasan – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Big Sit! an Easy Fun Way to Compete in Great Texas Birding Classic (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwd.texas.gov
    • EPA Mobile Lab Screens Austin Residents’ Soil (Newsroom America)
      www.newsroomamerica.com
    • Researchers Testing Air Pollution Over Fracking Sites (Andy Szal – Manufacturing News)
      www.manufacturing.net
    • Democrats Cave on Measure Overturning Fracking Regulations (Priscila Mosqueda – Texas Observer)
      www.texasobserver.org
    • Shark Fin Ban Back on the House Menu (Ryan McCrimmon – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 14 April
    • Texas Residents Worried Dioxin Could be Causing Cancer Cluster (Susan Carroll, Houston Chronicle – Chem Info)
      www.chem.info
    • As Deadline Nears for Texas Haze Rule, A Look at How Lawsuits Shape Regulation (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • TPPF: Federal government continues to limit energy production in Texas (Leigh Thompson – MRT)
      www.mrt.com
  • 13 April
  • 12 April
    • Sex, Drugs and Plant Biology: Why Much of Texas is Covered in Green Gunk (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
  • 11 April
    • Despite Rocky Start, Agriculture Chief Defends Record (Jay Root and Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 10 April
    • Hundreds of UH Volunteers Work to Keep Houston Beautiful April 11 (Melissa Carroll – University of Houston)
      www.uh.edu
  • 9 April
  • 8 April
    • Environmental group says appeals court ruling on EPA ‘dead zone’ strategy not all bad news (Mark Schleifstein – NOLA News)
      www.nola.com
  • 7 April
    • EPA Releases New Website Enabling the Public to Track Compliance Status of Public Water Systems (EPA News)
      http://yosemite.epa.gov
  • 6 April
    • UH Researchers Discover N-Type Polymer for Fast Organic Battery
      (Jeannie Kever – University of Houston News)
      www.uh.edu
    • Proposed Law Would Allow Houston To Regulate Mountains Of Coal (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • My Top 5: Air Alliance’s Sara DeMers Heald (365 Things To Do In Houston)
      http://365thingsinhouston.com
  • 4 April
    • First ‘Bayou Greenway Day’ highlights Houston’s waterways (Katherine Driessen – Houston Chronicle)
      http://m.chron.com
  • 2 April
  • 31 March
    • Work Begins To Create Plan To Turn Astrodome Into Giant Park (Pat Hernandez – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Your Household’s Garbage And Houston’s Leaking Landfills (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Legislation Aims to Boost Electricity Conservation (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 30 March
    • UH Students ‘Unfold’ Innovative Maps of Houston (Mike Emery – University of Houston)
      www.uh.edu
  • 27 March
    • Biking through downtown Houston just got easier thanks to new protected green lane (Nikki Ndukwe – Culture Map Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
    • Rockefeller family tried and failed to get ExxonMobil to accept climate change (Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian)
      www.theguardian.com