Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: August 29, 2015

Featured

  1. AgriLife Research study shows population changes cause woodlands encroachment (Texas Water Resources Institute, 8/2015)
    “Woody plant encroachment is one of the biggest challenges facing rangelands worldwide, but it consistently has been under-measured and poorly understood, according to Dr. Matthew Berg, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research postdoctoral research associate in the Texas A&M University Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. He is trying to change both the understanding and measurement with his latest study, which was published in the July issue of Rangeland Ecology and Management. Berg used time-series aerial imagery and historical census data to quantify changes in population, land ownership patterns and woody cover between 1937 and 2012 in three different settings in Central Texas:  a semi-urban watershed almost entirely within the city limits of Lampasas, rural watersheds in Lampasas County and a portion of Burnet County, and the adjoining rural watersheds in Mills County.”
    http://twri.tamu.edu
  2. $84 million set for south county road projects under fall bond plan (Bridget Balch – Houston Chronicle, 8/27/2015)
    “After a turbulent several months of debate surrounding the Montgomery County Road Bond that was voted down by the majority of Woodlands voters in May, the Commissioners Court has called a last-minute, compromise road bond for the November ballot that would not include the bond-sinking Woodlands Parkway extension and would give south county $84 million for a revised project list. The road bond that failed in May presented $350 million worth of road projects throughout the county, including the extension of Woodlands Parkway to Texas 249 – a project that drew opposition from many Woodlands residents who feared the extension would bring additional traffic through the heart of the master-planned community.”
    www.chron.com
  3. Judge Casts EPA Rule into Muddy Legal Waters (Jim Malewitz, Kiah Collier and Ally Mutnick – The Texas Tribune, 8/28/2015)
    “After a setback in court Thursday, can the federal government enforce its controversial “Waters of the U.S.” rule in Texas? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says yes. Texas says no. The agency on Friday said the regulation, aimed at better defining the scope of bodies of water protected under the federal Clean Water Act, took effect in Texas and several other states, rankling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The confusion started Thursday. Hours before the regulation was set to take effect, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota granted a request from 13 states — not including Texas — to block the rule, which would allow the federal government to regulate small streams and wetlands.”
    www.texastribune.org

EcoNotes

  • 30 August
  • 29 August
    • A Funding Boost For Texas’ Parks (Michael Stravato and Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 28 August
    • Judge Casts EPA Rule into Muddy Legal Waters (Jim Malewitz, Kiah Collier and Ally Mutnick – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Judge blocks EPA’s Clean Water Rule — but maybe only in 13 states (Kent Hoover – San Antonio Business Journal)
      www.bizjournals.com
    • Massive Bankruptcy Tests Texas Utility Regulators (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Seven proposed changes to Texas Constitution on November’s ballot (Casey Stinnett – Cleveland Advocate)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Kingwood Country Club Recognized for Environmental Excellence (The Tribune)
      http://ourtribune.com
    • Study links air pollution to children’s low GPAs (Science Blog)
      http://scienceblog.com
    • Kids Breathing Polluted Air Get Lower Grades: Study (Nick Tate – Newsmax)
      www.newsmax.com
    • Burn Ban Still in Effect, Extreme Caution Urged (Heather Wagner – The Llano News)
      www.llanonews.com
    • AgriLife Research study shows population changes cause woodlands encroachment (Texas Water Resources Institute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
    • TWRI Mills Scholar finds high flow events critical for lower Brazos fish (Leslie Lee – Texas Water Resources Insitute)
      http://twri.tamu.edu
  • 27 August
    • $84 million set for south county road projects under fall bond plan (Bridget Balch – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • EPA Resources Can Improve Your School’s Environment (EPA News)
      http://yosemite.epa.gov
    • Global sea levels climbed 3 inches since 1992, NASA research shows (Irene Klotz – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • METRO Forecast of Uptown Dedicated Bus Lane Shows Revised Ridership Numbers (Guidry News)
      http://guidrynews.com
    • METRO Board Recognizes Bus Operator for House Fire Rescue
      and Others for Workplace Lifesaving Actions (Guidry News)
      http://guidrynews.com
    • Correction: Drilling Waste-EPA story (Springfield News-Sun)
      www.springfieldnewssun.com
    • Real Energy and Cost Savings. Right Now. Here, in Texas. (Kate Zerrenner – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
  • 26 August
    • As Fracking Waste Piles Up in Texas, Environmental Groups Threaten To Sue For More Regulation (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Meeting with the EPA on the Refinery Rule (Bel Wranich – airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Texas Grid Survives Heat, but Could Use More Energy Efficiency and Demand Response (John Hall – EDF)
      http://blogs.edf.org
    • NJ judge approves Exxon $225 million cleanup settlement (Jonathan Stempel – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • New Bus Network’s First Week Brings Big Boost in METRO Ridership (Guidry News)
      www.guidrynews.com
  • 25 August
    • Bond compromise leaves Robinson Road project in limbo (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Houston Suburbs Challenge CenterPoint Gas Rate Hike (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • BLUE ECONOMY: A water filter that doesn’t need a filter (Michael Pollick – Herald-Tribune)
      www.heraldtribune.com
    • State Leaders Urge Texans to Conserve Water (Mitch Goulding – Time Warner Cable News)
      www.twcnews.com
    • May flooding’s severity partly due to climate change, scientists calculate (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
      http://texasclimatenews.org
    • Obama aims to boost homeowner renewable energy use (Julia Edwards – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
    • Texas Entomologists Find Redbanded Stink Bug to Be Dominant Species on Soybean (Entomology Today)
      http://entomologytoday.org
  • 24 August
  • 22 August
    • Hurricane Danny fizzles: Why are there fewer big hurricanes? (PatrikJonsson – The Christian Science Monitor)
      www.csmonitor.com
  • 21 August
  • 20 August
  • 19 August
    • Whooping Crane Decision Protects Texas Landowners (Pleasanton Express)
      www.pleasantonexpress.com
    • Trial Begins Over Undrinkable Water in Webb County (Neena Satija – Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org
    • A Houston Bayou Fought With Steel, Concrete And Boulders (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • City Of Houston Installing Warning Gates At Flood-Prone Underpasses (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Water bill scam targeting Houston customers (Mike Glenn – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Texas Kids: How They Fared In The 2015 Legislative Session (BJ Austin – KERA News)
      http://keranews.org
    • For Latinos, Environment Seems Just As Important As Immigration (Texas Public Radio)
      http://tpr.org
  • 18 August
    • Texas Sisters Raise $655k for Clean Water Charity by Selling Origami (Tiare Dunlap – People)
      www.people.com
  • 13 August
    • After 17 Years, Texas Poised to Resolve Oil Spill (Jim Malewitz – Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org

 

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: August 17, 2015

Featured

  1. Galveston Bay Oysters Under Assault, Gets Bad Grade For Pollution (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 8/12/2015)
    “It’s a day at the beach for families in La Porte. Bright sunshine sparkles on the waters of Galveston Bay where kids are swimming. But inside a nearby community center there was concern that the Bay, while in some ways better, is facing some troubling health issues. ‘We’ve got a very exciting report on the health of Galveston Bay,’ says Bob Stokes to small audience of local politicians and environmentalists… ‘So water quality gets a ‘B’ and that’s a positive story … We still have issues with old dumpsites where there is dioxin and PCBs,’ says Stokes. That’s why for pollution, the report gives the Bay a ‘D’, citing old toxic dumps and recent oil spills that could threaten wildlife and the safety of seafood. Also getting a ‘D’ was wildlife which the report said had deteriorated over the years.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  2. Uncertain future for Houston toxic river dump (Mark Collette and Matt Dempsey – Houston Chronicle, 8/10/15)
    “Removing industrial waste from a 14-acre Superfund site on the San Jacinto River could be just as dangerous as leaving it in place, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggested in a report published Monday. Harris County has fought three companies over the pollution for years, and the state is considering whether there is a link between elevated cancer rates in the area and the waste that fouled the river for decades.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. Tons Of Chemicals Leak From Shell Oil Refinery In Deer Park (Dave Fehling, 8/13/2015)
    “This past Sunday morning at the Shell Oil refinery in Deer Park, one the complexes big, spherical tanks over-filled with a flammable and toxic liquid. According to a report Shell made to state regulators, emergency relief valves began venting vapors into the air. For nearly an hour before workers stopped the over-flow, 180 tons of vapors leaked. The vapors contained butane, vinylacetylene, but by far the biggest component of the mix was butadiene… state air monitors a couple miles northeast of the refinery did detect it, showing butadiene spiking at noon though not above levels considered dangerous for short-term exposure. Butadiene is of special concern in Houston. It leaks from a number of chemical plants along the Ship Channel. A study done by the UT School of Public Health found children living within two miles of the Ship Channel in areas with elevated levels of butadiene in the air had substantially higher rates leukemia.”
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org

EcoNotes

  • 14 August
  • 13 August
    • Developers view to create ‘next Woodlands’ (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Tons Of Chemicals Leak From Shell Oil Refinery In Deer Park (Dave Fehling)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
    • After 17 Years, Texas Poised to Resolve Oil Spill (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • State of Texas: The Future’s So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades (Forrest Wilder – Texas Observer)
      www.texasobserver.org
    • EPA’s costly Clean Power Plan is wasted effort (Steve Davidson – Communities Digital News)
      www.commdiginews.com
    • Actual decisions needed on Iran (Richard Nephew – The Hill)
      http://thehill.com
    • Next Stop: Atlanta (Brian Butler – airCurrent News)
      http://airalliancehouston.org
    • Retail gasoline prices down a nickel across Texas (KCBD)
      www.kcbd.com
    • Pope’s climate push at odds with U.S. Catholic oil investments (Richard Valdmanis – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 12 August
  • 11 August
    • Galveston Bay gets a ‘C’ health grade in new report (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Stokes, Gonzalez: We must work harder to protect Galveston Bay (Bob Stokes and Lisa Gonzalez – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • UT, Japan Partner to Cut Energy Use at Data Centers (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • METRO Sells $115 Million of Bond for Vehicle Purchases (Jo-Carolyn Goode – Houston Style Magazine)
      http://stylemagazine.com
    • To beat the heat, METRO offers free rides to City’s cooling stations (News Fix)
      http://cw39.com
  • 10 August
  • 9 August
    • ERCOT’s Heat Challenges: Balancing Electric Supply And Demand Ed Mayberry – Houston Public Media)
      www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  • 8 August
  • 7 August
    • NOAA predicts calm 2015 hurricane season for U.S. (Jareen Imam – CNN)
      www.cnn.com
  • 6 August
  • 5 August
    • Katy City Park to house city’s first arboretum (Landan Kuhlmann – The Katy Rancher)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here (Eric Holthaus – Rolling Stone)
      www.rollingstone.com
  • 3 August
    • Obama Unveils Climate Rules, With Texas-Wide Implications (Jim Malewitz and Kiah Collier – Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 31 July
  • 29 July
    • City of Houston considers monthly surcharge for trash collection, recycling expenses (Joel Eisenbaum – Click 2 Houston)
      www.click2houston.com
    • Groundwater Districts Seek Help Tracking Disposal Wells (Jim Malewitz – Trib+Water)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 28 July
  • 24 July
    • How One City Will Change Its Entire Bus System Overnight (Josh Stevens – Next City)
      https://nextcity.org