Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: June 26, 2015

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  1. Texas Gulf dead zone caused by excessive rainfall, unlike Louisiana’s (Dylan Baddour – Houston Chronicle, 6/22/2016)
    “Headlines this month bring grim news of a massive ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. Is this something Houston should be worried about? Yes and no. Most of those headlines refer to a recent study from Louisiana State University, which forecast a dead zone in the Gulf one-third larger than average this summer. That’s big. It forms from chemical runoff in the Mississippi River, and it kills a lot of marine life. But that’s Louisiana. Texas is different. It has a different kind of dead zone, said Steve DiMarco, an oceanographer and veteran dead zone researcher with Texas A&M, and it’s also hitting record size this year after a rainy spring. When you put the two contiguous zones together, that’s a 600-mile swath of uninhabitable sea from Gulfport, Miss., to south of Corpus Christi.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  2. Heavy rains prompt Montgomery County officials to study ways to reduce flooding (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 6/19/2016)
    “A good 40 inches of rain has pelted Montgomery County this year – well ahead of the typical pace and too much at times for the usually tranquil streams in this rapidly growing area. So regional leaders are embarking on a nearly $1 million study to improve and expand the early flood warning capabilities for the county. Under the plan, the San Jacinto River Authority also would analyze water flows and explore ways to reduce the likelihood of flooding, such as scooping out parts of streams that can cause bottlenecks. The authority, which manages surface water in the river basin, is teaming with Montgomery County and the city of Conroe. The entities are asking the Texas Water Development Board to cover half the costs.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. Nature preserves, water project dot northeast Harris County canvas (Jennifer Summer – The Humble Observer, 6/19/2016)
    “Taking advantage of the natural landscape, wildlife and beauty of the northeast side of the Houston area; several groups are working to provide outdoor nature preserves for residents to enjoy in the future. The Greens Bayou Coalition and an outreach specialist from the Texas Water Development Board were on hand at the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Atascocita BizCom Thursday to explain a few of their upcoming projects.”
    www.yourhoustonnews.com

EcoNotes

  • 24 June
  • 23 June
  • 22 June
  • 21 June
    • Flesh-eating bacteria puts Houston man in hospital (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • How Houston Stacks Up On Transit Equity (Leah Binkovitz – The Urban Edge)
      http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu
    • Beekeepers And Concerned Citizens To Rally In Front Of Environmental Protection Agency With 2.64 Million Dead Bees (Elaine Hannah – Science World Report)
      www.scienceworldreport.com
    • Active Power New Spin on Critical Power Protection Reduces Toxic Lead Use and Carbon Emissions (Penn Energy)
      www.pennenergy.com
    • Battered by storms, and awash in history, Galveston’s state park beckons beach lovers. (Melissa Gaskill – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • Kayaking anglers use hands-free pedaling to reach fishing hot spots along the coast. (Dan Oko – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • Researchers delve into the marvelous, malodorous world of Texas skunks. (Russell Roe – Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      http://tpwmagazine.com
    • U.S. offshore regulator to unveil tougher environmental safeguards (Tracy Rucinski – Planet Ark News)
      http://planetark.org
  • 20 June
  • 19 June
    • Heavy rains prompt Montgomery County officials to study ways to reduce flooding (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Nature preserves, water project dot northeast Harris County canvas (Jennifer Summer – The Humble Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Texas facing massive well cleanup costs after oil bust (Chris Siron – The Dallas Morning News)
      www.dallasnews.com
  • 18 June
    • Tip line program lets Texans help protect natural resources (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • May: Another month for temperature records, 13th record-warm month in a row (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
      http://texasclimatenews.org
  • 17 June
    • Pressure mounts on car emissions – is green fuel the answer? – Business Green (Green Sight)
      www.greensight.com
    • Texas Budget Spared in Court Ruling on Drilling Tax Case (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
  • 15 June
    • Flood-damaged state parks in bad shape at time of peak usage (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • 80% of Ocean Plastic Comes From Land-Based Sources, New Report Finds (Lorraine Chow – EcoWatch)
      http://ecowatch.com
    • $1 million worth of city sewer sinkholes to be repaired in Liberty (Casey Stinnett – Dayton News)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
  • 14 June
  • 3 June
  • 26 May
    • UH Researcher Recognized for Work in Clean Energy (Jeannie Kever – University of Houston)
      www.uh.edu

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: June 19, 2015

Featured

  1. Galveston commissioners pull plug on proposed Bolivar wastewater treatment plant (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle, 6/7/2016)
    “Galveston County commissioners on Tuesday voted to kill a $13.8 million project to build a sewage treatment plant on the Bolivar Peninsula, blaming changing requirements by federal regulators. The decision disappointed many Bolivar Peninsula residents, who say reliance on septic tanks is creating environmental hazards and polluting the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. Commissioner Ryan Dennard, who had championed the project, said officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development constantly changed requirements for qualifying for the $13.8 million in federal money available to build the plant. ‘It is probably the single most-important thing that needs to happen to Bolivar for both health and environmental reasons,’ Dennard said of the project. Dennard nevertheless voted with other commissioners to kill the project because, he said, the hurdles were insurmountable.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  2. Oysters on a boat deckGalveston County declares oyster disaster (Harvey Rice – Houston Chronicle, 6/14/2016)
    “Oyster boat captains last year thought they were suffering through one of the worst years in decades for the Texas oyster industry as freshwater from heavy rains flooded Galveston Bay and killed oysters. This year is turning out to be much worse. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration for the Galveston Bay oyster industry, but the problem is not restricted to Galveston Bay. Persistent downpours throughout eastern Texas are swamping oyster beds with deadly freshwater all along the Texas Gulf Coast. The surge of oyster-killing freshwater for the second straight year is the latest in a series of setbacks for the Texas oyster industry, which supplies about 30 percent of all oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. Supreme Court rejects case challenging key White House air pollution regulation (Houston Chronicle, 6/14/2016)
    “The Supreme Court on Monday left intact a key Obama administration environmental regulation, refusing to take up an appeal from 20 states to block rules that limit the emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants that are byproducts of burning coal. The high court’s decision leaves in place a lower-court ruling that found that the regulations, put in place several years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency, could remain in effect while the agency revised the way it had calculated the potential industry compliance costs. The EPA finalized its updated cost analysis in April. In a statement Monday, the EPA praised the court’s decision not to review the case, saying the mercury standards are an important part of a broader effort to ensure clean air for Americans.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com

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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: June 12, 2015

Featured

  1. Delayed by Massive Rainfall, $72 Million Addicks & Barker Dam Rehabilitation Remains USACE Priority (Energy Corridor, 6/2016)
    “Delayed by repeated deluges of rain, two dams that for seven decades have prevented $10 billion in property damages – according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) – are being rehabilitated in a $72 million effort to reduce downstream flooding risk. The Corps began vital structural renovations in January for Barker Dam and Addicks Dam. While the runoff-full reservoirs have postponed work, the project remains at the front of the Corps’ national priorities, with completion still slated for 2019, according to USACE. The two dams protect some 1.2 million Houstonians from downstream flooding, the USACE estimates.”
    http://energycorridor.org
  2. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary expansion proposed (NOAA, 6/7/2016)
    “Building on more than 30 years of scientific studies, including numerous reports released in the last decade and in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, NOAA today announced a proposal to expand Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to protect additional critical Gulf of Mexico habitat. The plan lays out five expansion scenarios, ranging from no expansion of the 56-square-mile sanctuary, to one bringing it to a total of 935 square miles. In NOAA’s preferred scenario, the sanctuary would expand to 383 square miles to include 15 reefs and banks that provide habitat for recreationally and commercially important fish, as well as a home to 15 threatened or endangered species of whales, sea turtles, and corals. ”
    www.noaa.gov
  3. Cleanup plans could give San Jacinto River new life (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 6/6/2016)
    “The San Jacinto River’s west fork runs for 35 miles below the Lake Conroe dam, providing alternate glimpses of tall pines and gravel mines, willow oaks and busy overpasses. The waterway is prone to flood, not to inspire. But the sporadically beautiful river is getting a second look from state and local officials, who are making a new push to make it safe for swimming and wading again. The recently formed West Fork Watersheds Partnership is developing plans to reduce the river’s load of bacteria at a time of rapid development in surrounding Montgomery and Harris counties. The river is in ‘the sweet spot,’ exceeding state standards for bacteria, ‘but not so much that we can’t do anything about it,’ said Justin Bower, senior environmental planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, a regional body that is involved in the cleanup effort.”
    www.houstonchronicle.com

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