Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: October 21, 2014

Featured

  1. Harris County seeks accounting for decades of pollution (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune, 10/16/2014)
    Laced with the poisons of many years of industrial activity, waterways around Houston are considered toxic enough that adults are cautioned not to eat more than 8 ounces of fish or blue crabs taken from them. Pregnant women and children are warned to eat none at all. or more than half a century, parts of the San Jacinto River, Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay have suffered devastating environmental contamination. And for decades, nobody knew for sure who was responsible for dumping what. But in recent years, at least some of the most noxious pollution has been traced to wastewater from a paper mill that was dumped into Houston area waters beginning in 1965. On Thursday morning, a Harris County district court jury will hear opening statements in a lawsuit filed to wrest penalties from three of the companies allegedly responsible.
    www.texastribune.org
  2. Houston’s air is cleaner, but the goal post is moving (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle, 10/12/2014)
    Houston, for a time, held the unwanted title of the nation’s capital of bad air. These days, however, this land of unchecked growth, traffic-choked freeways and prolific smokestacks isn’t even the smoggiest place in Texas. As its best year for air quality draws to a close, the eight-county region has dropped below the Dallas-Fort Worth area and pulled even with San Antonio by measure of smog, or ozone, throughout the day. The pollutant remains a stubborn menace for Houston, but its steady retreat is remarkable, considering it wasn’t long ago when city leaders bragged about the stench from nearby oil refineries and chemical plants – calling it the smell of prosperity.
    www.houstonchronicle.com
  3. EPA Cleaning Up Smelly Industrial Site In Heart Of Neighborhood (Houston Public Media, 10/13/2014)
    Walk down Griggs Road in South-Central Houston and you might smell the former CES Environmental Services site before you get to it. Just a mile south is the University of Houston campus and two miles away is the Texas Medical Center. The site itself is about the size of three football fields. It holds several warehouses and several dozen storage tanks and tanker trucks. It was owned by a company called CES Environmental Services which recycled chemicals and sold a product to paper mills. Over the years, besides the smell, neighbors reportedly endured an explosion that sent shrapnel into their yards. And when the rains came earlier this spring and summer, the EPA says chemically-contaminated storm water ran into neighborhood ditches. Gary Moore, on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, arrived earlier this summer to try, once and for all, to clean the place up.
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org

EcoNotes

  • 17 October
    • Natgasoline clears EPA hurdle for $1 billion methanol plant in Beaumont (Eric Besson, Beaumont Enterprise – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • How Much ‘Excess Revenue’ Did CenterPoint Energy Make? (Dave Fehling – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Removing Risks from Your Homes Indoor Air (MENAFN News)
      www.menafn.com
    • Lawyers to debate $590 million Houston transmission project (Ryan Holeywell – Fuel Fix)
      http://fuelfix.com
    • Galveston Bay Foundation Hosts Eighth Annual Bike Around the Bay (Houston Newcomer Guides)
      http://houstonnewcomerguides.com
  • 16 October
    • Harris County seeks accounting for decades of pollution (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Officials, residents extol benefits of new Memorial Park Running Trails Center (Adam Yanelli – The Examiner)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Solar power leaders back EPA climate rule (Timothy Cama – The Hill)
      http://thehill.com
    • Construction on $1B Beaumont methanol plant to start Nov. 1 (Eric Besson – Beaumont Enterprise)
      www.beaumontenterprise.com
    • Video: A Revenue Stream or a Cause for Concern? (Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org
    • Mercer’s Third Annual Sustainable Landscape Conference Promotes … – The Paper Magazine (Green Sight)
      www.greensight.com
    • Blackwood Land presents second annual Houston Edible Garden tour (Your Fort Bend News)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • Nature Discovery Center names Reiner as interim executive director (Memorial Examiner)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • San Antonio acts to protect bat colony (Josh Baugh – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Texas conservationists plan $20.5 million bat deal (Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
  • 15 October
    • Hermann Park unveils Houston’s grandest public garden (Molly Glentzer – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
  • 14 October
    • EPA Funds Reduce Water Pollution, Increase E-Waste Recycling (Environmental Leader)
      www.environmentalleader.com
    • Celebrate Halloween This Year at a Texas State Park (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      www.tpwd.state.tx.us
    • Will Low Oil Prices Rattle The Texas Economy? (Mose Buchele – StateImpact)
      http://stateimpact.npr.org
    • Texans Concerned about EPA Water Regulations (My High Plains)
      www.myhighplains.com
    • BPA in the air: Manufacturing plants in Ohio, Indiana, Texas are top emitters (Brian Bienkowski – Environmental Health News)
      www.environmentalhealthnews.org
    • Your Texas Agriculture Minute: Time to dog pile EPA (Gene Hall – The East Montgomery County Observer)
      www.yourhoustonnews.com
    • States Can Produce Twice as Much Renewable Electricity as EPA Calculated, Science Group Finds (Union of Concerned Scientists)
      www.ucsusa.org
  • 13 October
  • 12 October
    • Houston’s air is cleaner, but the goal post is moving (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
      www.houstonchronicle.com
    • Biodiversity in our backyard (Lisa Gray – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
  • 11 October
    • America’s Second Favorite City: Houston wins huge honors from a national mag, but about that No. 1 pick (Elizabeth Rhodes – CultureMap Houston)
      http://houston.culturemap.com
  • 10 October
    • State parks need public, private funding (Carol Dinkins – Houston Chronicle)
      www.chron.com
    • Texas A&M AgriLife center in Dallas wins 2014 WaterSense Excellence Award (AgriLife TODAY)
      http://today.agrilife.org
  • 9 October
    • Natural-gas flaring unpopular with voters in West, poll finds (Jennifer A. Dlouhy – Express News)
      www.expressnews.com
    • FLUID DISCUSSION: Environmental summit puts focus on water (Christina R. Garza – The Brownsville Herald)
      www.brownsvilleherald.com
    • Halloween at the Hatchery Coming Up October 30 (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      www.tpwd.state.tx.us
    • Outdoor Annual App Update Available (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      www.tpwd.state.tx.us
  • 8 October
    • Whooping Cranes Beginning Their Fall Journey to Texas (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      www.tpwd.state.tx.us
    • State’s Early History Comes Alive in Texas State Parks (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
      www.tpwd.state.tx.us
    • How a Band of Austin Activists Convinced Walmart to Care About a Creek (Karen Brooks Harper – Next City News)
      http://nextcity.org
  • 3 October
    • Texas Sees Significant Decline in Rural Land (Marcos Vanetta and Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
      www.texastribune.org

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: October 14, 2014

Featured

  1. With huge damages at stake, trial over waste pits to begin

    (Matthew Tresaugue–Houston Chronicle, 10/5/2014) A half-century ago, the owner and operator of a Pasadena paper mill sent its waste for burial to a site along the San Jacinto River. The black bisque of cancer-causing chemicals eventually leaked from the pits, turning these murky waters into one of the nation’s most polluted places. Now, Harris County and the state of Texas want those responsible to pay for the mess. www.houstonchronicle.com. Photo by Brett Croomer/Houston Chronicle

  2. Shelly: Paying for Clean Air

    (Adrian Shelley–Houston Chronicle, 10/4/2014) Unspent state funds could help Houston cut vehicle pollution Recently, state lawmakers noticed something that organizations like Air Alliance Houston and Public Citizen have been pointing out for years. Hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to programs that clean the air by removing dirty vehicles from the road are going unspent.
    HoustonChronicle.com.

  3. Conservationists Disagree What To Do As Bayou’s Banks Wash Away (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 10/8/2014)
    Texas has thousands of miles of rivers and bayous. The banks of some of those waterways — including Buffalo Bayou in Houston — are crumbling and eroding. Which has led to a debate among conservationists: Should people try to engineer a change or let nature take its course?
    www.houstonpublicmedia.org
  4. H-GAC reveals $1.6 billion worth of projects in study (Community Impact Newspaper, 10/9/2014)
    The Houston-Galveston Area Council revealed its initial draft of the South Montgomery County Mobility Study to the public and local elected officials at a pair of September meetings. The study, which was initiated in October 2013, identified $1.6 billion worth of mobility improvements needed in south Montgomery County over the next 20 years. The study cited dozens of projects designed to ease congestion and handle the influx of residents moving into the south county area now and over the next two decades. The recommended projects include needed over and underpasses, lane widenings, new roadways, signal improvements and highway interchanges.
    http://impactnews.com
  5. LEED pays: LEED-certified buildings in Houston make more money and fill up faster (Video) (Jenny Agee-Aldridge – Houston Business Journal, 10/10/2014)
    The highest levels of LEED certification are quickly becoming the norm for new office buildings in the Houston area. And the next version of LEED will up the ante even more, in many cases favoring downtown and mixed-use projects. Building to LEED standards will cost you- — an additional 1 to 7 percent of your total construction budget depending on whom you talk to. But it could pay off in the end with higher selling prices and lower vacancy rates.
    www.bizjournals.com

EcoNotes