- Galveston, TX Weather :: 66F Overcast November 22, 201766F Overcast
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 66F Overcast November 22, 2017
- Shorthanded Dynamo fall to Sounders 2-0 in first leg of Western Conference Championship November 22, 2017The Houston Dynamo fell to the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference Championship on Tuesday.PHOTOS: Dynamo face Sounders in first leg of Western Conference ChampionshipSeattle won 2-0 in front of a sold-out crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown.Houston was forced to play a significant part of the game with […]
- Been waiting to relive Astros' 2017 World Series run? Your time has come November 22, 2017Have you been waiting to relive the Astros' historic 2017 title run?Your time has come.On Tuesday, Major League Baseball hosted the premiere of The 2017 World Series Documentary at Cullen Performance Hall at 7 p.m.The Orange Carpet event started at 6 p.m.Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.The Cullen Performance Hall is on the […]
- What you need to know about the Dynamo game November 22, 2017If you're planning to jump on the Dynamo bandwagon then tonight is the night to do it. Houston's Major League Soccer team is hosting Leg 1 (aka game 1) of the Western Conference Championship. That's the MLS equivalent of the Houston Astros making it into the ALCS.This is the only Western Conference Championship game that […]
- Houston Astros fans wait hours outside Academy Sports to meet Jose Altuve November 21, 2017Close to 200 diehard Jose Altuve fans wrapped themselves around the building at Academy Sports in Katy Sunday. They were sleeping in tents, in sleeping bags, they have heaters and hot cocoa and even some camping stoves as they huddle outside the store at I-10 and The Grand Parkway waiting for their hero to arrive.PHOTOS: […]
- A look at the AFC playoff picture: Texans hang on to slim hopes with 6 games left November 21, 2017The NFL playoff party is still several weeks away, but here we are with six games left on the regular season schedule and the Texans, who stand 4-6, are still mathematically alive in the AFC race.Yes, you heard me correctly.The Texans can make it to the playoffs if all things fall into place in the […]
- Dynamo in MLS conference finals after turnaround season November 21, 2017Last year, the Houston Dynamo finished at the bottom of the Western Conference. This season they're playing for the conference title.After a bit of a layoff, the Major League Soccer playoffs continue Tuesday when the two-legged conference finals start. In the East, the Columbus Crew host Toronto FC, while the Seattle Sounders visit the Dynamo […]
- Former Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car wreck November 20, 2017Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn has died in a car accident near Irving, Texas, Matt Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Terry Glenn played with the Cowboys from 2003-2007 during the start of Tony Romo's time as quarterback. He ranks 15th all-time in receiving yards for Dallas.Glenn played 12 seasons in the […]
- Atlanta's Georgia Dome demolished after 25 years of use November 20, 2017The only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four was reduced to rubble.A little more than 25 years after opening, the Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons and the scene for several historic sporting events, was imploded Monday morning. The adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened this summer.In the […]
- Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies at age 49 November 20, 2017Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer, the World Tennis Association (WTA) has announced.In a statement on its website, the WTA said the former world No.2 died peacefully "surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic."Novotna captured hearts of fans when she burst […]
- What to know about Jose Altuve autograph session November 20, 2017Here's a look at what you need to know about the Jose Altuve autograph session Monday at Academy.WHEN: Monday, Nov. 20, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.WHERE: Academy Sports + Outdoors at 23155 Katy Freeway, Katy, TX 77450WHAT: Free autographs from AL MVP Jose AltuveMUST-HAVE INFO FOR FANS: 300 passes will be distributed two hours before […]
- Shorthanded Dynamo fall to Sounders 2-0 in first leg of Western Conference Championship November 22, 2017
- Club 24 Celebrates Holiday Season with Galveston Bay Dinner Cruise November 22, 2017Kemah, Texas: One of the star attractions on the Texas coast is a Galveston Bay dinner cruise. Club 24 Plus has now made the three-hour dinner ...
- Home rule cities elect members to H-GAC Board of Directors November 21, 2017Home rule city representatives to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors includes Dickinson Councilmember William King III and ...
- Official Glen Campbell Webstore Launches Today With Exclusive Releases And Advance Pre ... November 21, 2017... Gentle On My Mind is on clear green vinyl and Galveston is on coke bottle clear vinyl. 100 bundles of the three classic LPs are available or each can ...
- Looking Back 11/23 November 21, 2017A member of the Army Corps of Engineers, he was involved in the enlargement of Ellis Island, the building of the breakwater in San Pedro, CA and reconstruction of the jetties at Galveston. After serving as district engineer at the expanding ports of Los Angeles and Galveston, he was selected by General ...
- Posts Tagged 'Texas A&M Galveston' November 21, 2017Anna Armitage of Texas A&M Galveston is studying how the transition from salt marsh wetlands to mangroves might change how hurricanes affect the ...
- Carnival Cruise Line to Increase Short Cruise Programmes November 21, 2017Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning May 2019, providing Texans with a convenient new vacation option. Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises, also beginning ...
- Step Back in Time During Galveston's Dickens on The Strand November 21, 2017English novelist Charles Dickens garnered great literary success with The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and the perennial favorite, A Christmas Carol, and now several of his descendants will be front and center during Galveston's world-famous Victorian holiday festival, Dickens on The ...
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast November 21, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Wednesday, November 22, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER ...
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast November 21, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Wednesday, November 22, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE. NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX. 321 AM CST TUE NOV 21 2017 ...A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast November 21, 2017National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 257 PM CST Tue Nov 21 2017. TXZ211-221000-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy.
- Club 24 Celebrates Holiday Season with Galveston Bay Dinner Cruise November 22, 2017
Travel through time!
- Registration opens for League City’s Citizens University November 21, 2017Citizens interested in learning more about municipal operations are invited to register for League City’s Citizens University.
- Texas A&M Board of Regents name Dr. Bill Merrell President Emeritus and Regents Professor November 21, 2017Dr. William “Bill” Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston has been honored with the distinguished titles of President Emeritus and as one of the 2017-2018 Regents Professors by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
- H-GAC Board of Directors November 21, 2017The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve the Audit Committee’s recommendation to retain the firm of Whitley Penn to conduct the annual audit of H-GAC's financial records for the fiscal year ending 2017.
- Jamaica Beach City Council November 21, 2017Jamaica Beach City Council on Monday voted unanimously to cast the city's ballots in favor of re-electing Victor Pierson to the Galveston Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.
- Health District Offering Free HIV, Syphilis and TB Testing on World AIDS Day November 20, 2017The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) continues the fight to end HIV by offering free testing, education and resources on World AIDS Day, December 1.
- Galveston County Commissioners Court November 20, 2017Galveston County Commissioners Court today voted 3-2, with Ken Clark and Darrell Apffel opposed, to move forward with utilizing Bracewell, LLC as disclosure counsel for the issuance of bonds and refunding bonds.
- Bayou Animal Services November 20, 2017Bayou Animal Services today announced that it has received a $500,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to support the construction of a new animal shelter.
- City of League City November 20, 2017The City of League City today announced service impacts in the city throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Texas Governor's Office November 20, 2017Texas Governor Greg Abbott today announced that he has extended the State Disaster Declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.
- Registration opens for League City’s Citizens University November 21, 2017
- Steel never settles — neither should Trump on trade 22 Nov 2017 11:55 The Hill America was built on steel. Born in the 1850s, the steel industry connected our country through rail and illuminated its cities with soaring skyscrapers. The resource that powers U.S. manufacturing and construction, steel builds our bridges, assembles our …
- washington Trump all but endorses GOP&#8217;s Moore despite sex accusations 22 Nov 2017 11:54 www.vindy.com Published: Wed, November 22, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m. Associated Press WASHINGTON Silent for more than a week, President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore on Tuesday, discounting the sexual assault allegations …
- Trump support of Moore a ‘huge gift’ for Dems 22 Nov 2017 11:53 msnbc New Report: Trump “vented about” and ... President Trump, who is himself accused of sexual assault, broke his silence on Roy Moore today, suggesting electing a Democrat is worse than electing an accused child molester to the U.S. Senate as a new report …
- North Korea calls terror relisting 'serious provocation' by Trump: state media 22 Nov 2017 11:53 Reuters.com SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea responded on Wednesday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to relist the county as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “grave provocation and aggressive violation”, North Korean state media reported. North Korean …
- Billionaire could get $5.6M in state funds for Trump Plaza demolition 22 Nov 2017 11:42 NJ.com ATLANTIC CITY -- A New Jersey redevelopment agency has given preliminary approval to a $5.6 million payment to billionaire investor Carl Icahn to help pay for the demolition of part of Atlantic City's former Trump Plaza casino. The Casino Reinvestment …
- Trump, Putin hold hour-long phone call on foreign affairs 22 Nov 2017 11:41 Tert Donald Trump has spoken on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss issues involving Syria, Iran, North Korea and Ukraine, the Independent reports, citing the White House. Mr Trump and Mr Putin spoke informally multiple times last week …
- Trump is still botching the Puerto Rico crisis 22 Nov 2017 11:39 The Week Magazine Sign Up for Our free email newsletters Americans are fleeing Puerto Rico in droves. The reason is that a grinding economic crisis became a full-blown humanitarian disaster after the Trump administration utterly botched the response to Hurricane Maria. At …
- Trump and Putin discuss fight against Taliban and other terror groups 22 Nov 2017 11:36 Khaama Press By Khaama Press - Wed Nov 22 2017, 2:43 pm The US President Donald Trump discussed the fight against Taliban and other terror groups during a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the White House said. “President Donald J. …
- If Trump wants to use nuclear weapons, whether it's 'legal' won't matter 22 Nov 2017 11:36 The Washington Post The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Nov. 14 held a hearing to examine the president's authority to order a nuclear strike amid rising tensions with North Korea. (Jordan Frasier/The Washington Post) No national decision is as consequential, …
- The Resistance to Trump: Year One 22 Nov 2017 11:35 The Nation Demonstrators march against Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries at Los Angeles International Airport, January 29, 2017. (AP Photo / Ryan Kang) In the year since Trump’s election, the president’s …
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
- Woman hit, killed by Houston garbage truck while crossing street
- Legislature advances annexation bill to Gov. Abbott
- 2 Teens Who Attacked Man Shot After Auto Accident in Galveston
- White nationalist rally, counter protest planned at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
- Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio
- Greenspoint Mall to close in 60 days, sources say
- Texas House approves “compromise” city annexation bill
- Asps — poisonous, stinging caterpillars — back in season
- Texas bathroom bill appears to be all but dead in special session
- Gator spotted on Galveston County road
- After 2015 legalization, Texans may be able to buy medical cannabis oil by January
- Conroe Chief of Police asked to leave doctor’s office
- Law Enforcement Increasingly Opposed to Abbott’s Agenda
- Meet the Expert Who Helps Texas Cops Justify Extreme Behavior
- Baytown woman charged in two La Porte road-rage incidents
- FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home
- Special Session a ‘Battle Royal’ for Dominionists Who Seek Christian Rule
- Zoo employee accused of sex with 14-year-old boy
- New requirement for Texas driver’s license begins soon
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- 4 officers taken to hospital after 2 patrol units run into each other, police say
- STATE LEGISLATURE PUTTING THE BRAKES ON TEXAS CITY ANNEXING SAN LEON WITHOUT SAN LEON RESIDENTS APPROVAL:
- 2 men charged in teen girl’s shooting death in Bacliff
- Weed company buys town in hopes of creating pot-friendly tourist destination
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls city governments the source of “all our problems in America”
- Man, 25, arrested for DWI after crashing into patrol car, deputies say
- Texas man snags “bucket list” 12-foot tiger shark off Padre Island
- Chauna Thompson, deputy terminated in wake of Denny’s choking death, appeals firing
- Humble ISD police officer accused of child pornography
- Angry woman robs cellphone store with large gun
- Dalia Dippolito discusses prison break in recorded jail call after recent conviction
- Tiny mermaid-painted shed drifted 200 miles in Gulf of Mexico
- Uber ride turns into nightmare for recent Texas A&M graduate
- ‘Sugar daddy’ banned from beaches after handing out provocative cards
- Business owners fight against crime in Chinatown
- 14-year-old girl clocked driving 107 mph during chase in Montgomery County
- Fight outside Spire Nightclub ends in crash, shooting
- When school’s out, rural Texas towns struggle to feed their hungry kids
- Guided bus tour of Houston’s strip clubs, massage parlors sheds light on human-trafficking business
- NASA looking to hire officer to protect earth from alien harm
- In Texas House, property tax proposals range from minor tweaks to abolishment
- Man exposes himself to woman outside fitness center, police say
- Man accused of robbing people who post items on buy, sell sites
- What it means for Texas colleges if Trump targets affirmative action
- ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl sentenced for stealing mother’s car, using her credit cards
- President Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia
- Wife shoots, kills husband after finding him with another woman, police say
- Humble restaurant employees accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls
- Family reunited with dog 3+ years after it went missing
- Angleton animal sanctuary facing fines after filing lawsuit
- Woman finds evidence bag full of marijuana at neighborhood park
- State Rep. Dawnna Dukes declines deal from Travis County District Attorney
- Report: Texas could lose billions if new immigration enforcement law stands
- Texas’ War on Local Control is Part of National Trend
- Wife of accused gunman dies after double shooting that led to innocent woman’s death
- ‘Ghost forests’ appearing from Canada to Texas
- Man charged after leaving crash that left motorcycle rider in critical condition, police say
- Flight in Vegas delayed by naked passenger, officials say
- Galveston’s Pleasure Pier ride Revolution shut down temporarily
- How often do shark attacks happen in Texas waters?
- Naked bank robbery suspect tosses stolen money
- Harris County officials continue crackdown on unlicensed after-hour bars
- Wife: Disagreement over Trump contributed to divorce from state attorney
- Kingwood native torches 8 cars after wedding called off, police say
- HPD officer hit by car, plunges 16 feet off Southwest Freeway
- Texas executes man who claimed his lawyers committed fraud
- Woman arrested on suspicion of posting ‘revenge porn’ online
- Statue honoring Alvin’s hometown hero, Nolan Ryan, topples
- Man arrested after showing porn to child at supermarket, authorities say
- Underage woman claims she was raped after being served at Houston-area restaurant
- The Woodlands teens accused of Florida crime spree after posting Snapchat videos
- La Marque residents asked to boil water after order issued
- Man who fled to Mexico after murder charge 21 years ago arrested trying to re-enter US
- Texas Senate passes bill to allow people to vote on whether a city can annex them
- Spring man caught filming up skirts arrested on child porn, invasive photography charges
- One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested, police say
- Despite Knowledge of Climate Change in 1970s, Texas Utility Companies Funded Climate Denial
- Venus Williams accuses 78-year-old man killed in crash of not wearing seat belt
- Scammers target college students eager for scholarship money
- Woman accused of kidnapping baby while hitchhiking
- Every Texan in the U.S. House just voted for sanctions against Russia
- Man accused of producing child pornography
- Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices
- Man accused of beating dog with crow bar
- 2 charged with prostitution after offering sex acts to undercover constables, authorities say
- Senate votes to start debate on health care bill
- Harris County pastor charged with sexual abuse of a child
- Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe
- Set for execution, death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay
- Concerns raised over new Harris County bail system
- Crooks return to rob dentist office after police leave
- 2 throw drugs out window during high-speed chase, police say
- 5 arrested after drugs, gun, money seized from Magnolia home
- 15 years later, Clara Harris remains in state prison for husband’s murder
- Woman, 91, kicked out of Sunnyside home
- Congressman: If female GOP senators were South Texas men, I’d challenge them to a duel
- Turning Tail
- Death toll in San Antonio immigrant-smuggling case rises to 10
- Ex-Mexican drug cartel leader gets 30 years in US prison
- Kushner’s statement on Russia: What to know
- Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate’s the hare, House is the tortoise
- Texas Senate panel targets mail-in ballot fraud after high-profile case
- Drunk Driver Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Crash
- Tanker Crew Rescues 5 In Capsized Boat
- Man Sentenced to 45 Years on Drug Charges
- After Texas “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds sanctuary city law
- Charges possible in disturbing Florida drowning case
- Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions
- Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits
- Carjacking suspect opens fire on officer during chase in SW Houston
- Man, 2 children killed in crash in NE Houston
- Katy woman arrested for DWI after man follows, records her erratic driving
- Mickey Mouse mask-wearing burglar caught on camera breaking into 2 stores
- Houston pastor Victoria Osteen says she does not endorse skin care product
- Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study
- Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control
- Woman, 93, dragged during carjacking at church, police say
- Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)
- Man admits to killing 14-year-old half-brother, authorities say
- Monkey on the loose in south Houston after attacking girl, police say
- ‘Million Dollar Ho’ arrested in Florida prostitution sting
- Turner reopens bids for recycling contract to 4 companies
- District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects
- Houston woman charged in connection with ransom scheme
- Pastor in The Woodlands accused of prostitution
- Academy Sports + Outdoors laying off 100 employees
- 1 dead after shooting at NW Harris County apartments
- Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador
- Conroe horse-riding trainer accused of sexually assaulting child
- Environmental groups sue EPA over lax Texas air pollution permits
- Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session
- Bodycam allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting drugs
- Key events in OJ Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star
- Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it
- Growing health trend bypasses doctors’ offices for diagnosis, treatment
- HPD chief answers questions about Josue Flores murder case
- Sarah Davis wants more information about “misconduct” at TABC
- Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical License of Doctors Who Perform Abortions
- Senate gives early OK to must-pass “sunset” legislation
- Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign
- Man wanted in 2016 fraud case
- Couple arrested for second time for impersonating Adele’s manager, police say
- Mexico says electronic device checks on US flights begin
- Dancing with Denial
- Teen shot at high school party at AirBNB house in southwest Houston
- Toll road drivers getting fed up with erroneous charges
- Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending
- Baby dies after being infected with cold sore virus through kiss, parents say
- 24 firearms stolen after Texian Firearms robbed twice in one day
- Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill’s collapse
- Florida man arrested after reporting cocaine stolen, deputies say
- Teens arrested after Facebook Live video of 23-year-old woman’s assault
- Girl, 17, fires shot at intruder while chasing him out of her house
- Police: Aunt charged after leaving young neice, nephew in hot car outside grocery store
- Texas Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda
- President Trump: ‘Let Obamacare fail’
- Why the murder charge against the Texas police officer who killed Jordan Edwards is rare
- What happens if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare?
- Four Texas Republicans in Congress were just outraised by Democratic challengers
- Angleton mulls proposal for RV park next to Stephen F. Austin statue
- Trump administration awards $2.3 million to Texas for border security
- Texas Democrats lay out their own special session priorities
- Gov. Abbott says property taxes are his top issue for special session
- Small Government Crusader Wants $35 Million to Fix a Battleship in His District
- OJ Simpson faces good chance at parole in Nevada robbery
- It’s a Trump Miracle! There are Signs of Life Among Texas Democrats
- IBM ups the ante in fight against Texas bathroom bill
- At some Texas universities, students accused of rape can transfer without a record
- Gas pump overcharges customers in League City
- Father survives after van crushed by 7,000-pound scrap metal
- Two killed in crash during police chase in NE Houston, police say
- At tail end of Texas redistricting trial, judges skeptical of state’s defense
- After dissident’s death, Ted Cruz hopeful about changing Chinese Embassy address
- Harris County Toll Road Authority faces lawsuit over fees charged to drivers
- 1 killed in shooting at Bella Terra shopping center in Fort Bend County, deputies say
- On day 5 of redistricting trial, Texas refutes claim that current political maps discriminate
- Trump Administration Preparing Texas Wildlife Refuge for First Border Wall Segment
- Second arrest made in death of 79-year-old Hedwig Village woman
- Greg Abbott’s Latino Problem
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formally launches 2018 re-election bid
- Licensing director is seventh official out at troubled Texas liquor agency
- Sketch released of man wanted in shooting that wounded 1-year-old
- Critics say Abbott catering to donors with special session priorities
- Former deputy constable facing sexual assault charges; other victims sought
- Man on Jet Ski catches goliath grouper off coast
- DPS trooper accused of prostitution
- Two arrested in connection with prostitution spas near The Woodlands
- MEET JOY: Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo
- Revised Senate health care bill draws Cruz’s support but still short votes
- Fight for Net Neutrality!!! Please click the link and make a phone call or we are all fucked. November 22, 2017submitted by /u/carson111000 [link] [comments]/u/carson111000
- Any wonder why cancer rates are soaring! November 22, 2017submitted by /u/esoterich78 [link] [comments]/u/esoterich78
- Just a reminder: "You know, it might have appeared that way, but from my close-up inspection there is no evidence of a plane crashing anywhere NEAR the Pentagon." - Jim McIntyre, CNN Pentagon correspondent #truenews November 22, 2017submitted by /u/Luvdechub [link] [comments]/u/Luvdechub
- The companies that want to control what you see online. November 22, 2017submitted by /u/jko831 [link] [comments]/u/jko831
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- Chicago Tribune: Bill and Hillary should be investigated. November 22, 2017submitted by /u/michaelst2256 [link] [comments]/u/michaelst2256
- "Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media." November 22, 2017submitted by /u/t4intedl0ve [link] [comments]/u/t4intedl0ve
- Is it any wonder that the FCC is trying to repeal net neutrality, when all the people in the FCC are made from corporate lobbying groups? This "revolving door" between industry and regulation is illegal in most developed countries! November 22, 2017submitted by /u/magnora7 [link] [comments]/u/magnora7
- Join the Battle for Net Neutrality November 22, 2017submitted by /u/User_Name13 [link] [comments]/u/User_Name13
- The man who found the Titanic and the Bismarck offered to help look for Malaysian Air flight 370. They refused his free, expert help November 22, 2017submitted by /u/AfterReview [link] [comments]/u/AfterReview
- From the beginning of mankind to 9/11, this guy explains the entire history of mankind through conspiracy theory eyes in 1 hour. Entertaining as hell! Bookmark it and watch it at your leisure. You won't regret it. November 22, 2017submitted by /u/psy_raven [link] [comments]/u/psy_raven
- Graph Measuring Opium Production In Afghanistan After 9/11 Shows That The Opioid Epidemic Was Designed To Happen November 22, 2017submitted by /u/DerekReddits92 [link] [comments]/u/DerekReddits92
- UBER is FUCKED. 57 MILLION users compromised. They wait until 2 days before the holiday to disclose. Uber says they paid hackers to "delete" compromised data lol November 21, 2017submitted by /u/StopChillin [link] [comments]/u/StopChillin
- Family Guy Knew About X-Men Director Bryan Singer November 21, 2017submitted by /u/TheEmptyDays [link] [comments]/u/TheEmptyDays
- Gotta get them adjusted to the mass surveillance state somehow November 21, 2017submitted by /u/cdddt____ [link] [comments]/u/cdddt____
- Fight for Net Neutrality!!! Please click the link and make a phone call or we are all fucked. November 22, 2017
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For years Texas’ chief toxicologist, Michael Honeycutt, has accused the EPA of scaring the public about the health risks of toxic chemicals. The EPA, he has said, “ignores good science which demonstrates that a chemical is not as toxic as they think it is,” uses “‘chicken little’ toxicity values” and doesn’t “do common-sense groundtruthing.” Honeycutt has repeatedly put himself outside the scientific mainstream by arguing that pollutants are not nearly as harmful as the evidence suggests.
Mercury? EPA is “overstating” the risks of exposure and ignoring the fact that the Japanese eat 10 times as much fish as Americans.
Arsenic? It couldn’t be unsafe because we’re not seeing increases in cancer rates that would be true if EPA’s assessment is “realistic.”
Ozone? EPA’s ozone rules are unnecessary because “Americans likely spend at least 90 percent of their time indoors.”
Now, the Trump administration is tapping Honeycutt to lead EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a body of experts that provides objective scientific advice to the agency. The board was created in 1978 by Congress and charged with the mission of providing impartial science free of political interference. His appointment — like that of Rick Perry, Susan Combs and Kathleen Hartnett White — continues the trend of the Trump administration headhunting Texas officials who’ve repeatedly attacked the very policies that they’re now charged with implementing.
In announcing his appointment on Tuesday, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt called Honeycutt a “wonderful scientist” and said he had been chosen out of 130 applicants. Honeycutt’s appointment, along with two others to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and Board of Scientific Counselors, will bring more geographic diversity to the boards, which historically have been dominated by appointments from the East and West coasts, he said.
“It’s a big mistake to appoint Michael Honeycutt to lead the Science Advisory Board,” Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, said in a written statement. “Dr. Honeycutt has made repeated public statements undermining the integrity of the science on ozone as well as other pollutants, including mercury, despite consensus from the medical community on the harms of exposure to such pollutants.”
Environmental and public health advocates say Honeycutt cherrypicks facts to fit his arguments, which often are contrary to scientific consensus and are often deployed to attack environmental regulation in the courts and in EPA rulemaking. Perhaps the best example of Honeycutt’s role concerns his work on smog.
For more than a decade, Texas has been in a tussle with the EPA over limiting emissions of smog-causing pollutants from power plants. EPA’s limits on ozone, a component of smog, have grown more stringent with time, and as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s chief toxicologist, Honeycutt has attacked the basic underpinnings of limits on smog. Reducing ozone levels, he has said, will not lead to any significant health benefits and if asthma “were actually tied to ozone, you would expect to see the instances of asthma decreasing, not increasing.” Those arguments are contrary to the overwhelming scientific evidence that higher ozone levels exacerbate respiratory illnesses, particularly in children and the elderly.
Last year, Honeycutt sent more than 100 emails to industry representatives, state air pollution regulators, university professors and scientists asking them to support his nomination to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. At the time, he wrote that it would be a “minor miracle” if he were selected. He was also considered for a position on the committee in 2015, which environmental groups petitioned. He “consistently takes positions favoring industry and a lax regulatory climate over public health protections” and his appointment to the committee would lead to “an appearance of a loss of impartiality,” seven environmental groups wrote.
Honeycutt, who joined TCEQ in 1996, will continue in his role at the agency, TCEQ spokesperson Andrea Morrow said. She said it would be “premature” to answer questions about any changes he might propose to EPA’s chemical assessment process.
The post Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board appeared first on The Texas Observer.
In late 2005, then-Governor Rick Perry was in the middle of a protracted battle with a coalition of environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, mayors and local leaders. TXU, the state’s largest utility, had announced that it wanted to build 11 new coal plants. At the time, natural gas and coal made up about 46 and 39 percent, respectively, of the energy mix of Texas’ main grid. The fracking boom had not yet hit Texas, and wind power provided a tiny percentage of the state’s energy needs.
TXU was betting big on coal having a bright future. John Wilder, the utility’s controversial CEO, claimed the new investments would shield Texans from spikes in natural gas prices, in particular because the volatile commodity’s price had quadrupled and experts projected the low prices of the 1990s would not return. The U.S. also had an abundant coal supply, he noted.
Perry loved the plan. It probably didn’t hurt that he was running for re-election at the time and had received about $200,000 from TXU since 2000. On the campaign trail, Perry claimed the coal plants would be cleaner than the national average and ordered the state environmental agency to expedite their review.
Now, 12 years later, Perry and TXU’s plan to invest in coal seems shortsighted. While TXU is moving away from coal investments, as energy secretary Perry is continuing to prop up old and dirty coal plants at a time when scientists are warning that countries need to reduce carbon pollution to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
Natural gas prices, of course, dropped considerably and coal has become more expensive to mine. Today, coal only makes up about 29 percent of the energy mix in Texas and the cost of building wind farms has decreased dramatically. Last week, Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy formerly known as TXU, citing “an oversupplied renewable generation market and low natural gas prices,” announced that it will retire three coal plants — Monticello, Big Brown and Sandow — by early 2018. Once those plants shut down, for the first time, wind will generate more power in the state than coal.
Ultimately, in 2006, facing pressure from environmental groups and business interests, TXU dropped its plan to build eight of the 11 coal plants. Perry’s order to fast-track the environmental reviews was also blocked by a court. And now one of the coal plants Perry wanted to see built — Sandow 5 in Milam County — is among those facing closure. Another, Oak Grove Plant Project in Robertson County, has low cash flows. The plants began operations in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
But Perry doesn’t appear to have learned from his experience in Texas. As energy secretary, Perry has proposed guaranteeing profits to plants in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest that stockpile coal. Perry claims the plan is necessary for grid reliability and cites the 2014 polar vortex as an example of why the government should subsidize coal plants. If the plan is implemented, it will cost taxpayers between $800 million and $3.8 billion every year through 2030 regardless of whether the plants are making money, according to one estimate.
“It’s basically putting your thumb on the scale in favor of coal and nuclear plants,” said David Schlissel, director of resource planning at the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis. “It’s a gift from the Trump administration to their friends in the coal industry.”
For Perry, the costs are secondary. “I think you take costs into account, but what’s the cost of freedom?” he testified before the House energy subcommittee recently. “What’s the cost to keep America free? I’m not sure I want to leave that up to the free market.”
Even if Perry’s plan to guarantee profits to the coal and nuclear industry is implemented, he won’t be helping Texas coal plants. That’s because the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Texas’ primary grid, is the only major wholesale electricity market that doesn’t fall under the supervision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will be responsible for implementing Perry’s plan.
In 2016, Schlissel authored a report that seems prescient now. He analyzed the economics of running seven Texas coal plants and predicted that the Monticello and Big Brown plants were bleeding money. Continued operation of the two “will be extremely unprofitable for Luminant,” he wrote.
Schlissel based his analysis on two main drivers: the increasing cost of producing coal-fired power and the decreasing price of power on the energy market. As natural gas plants and renewables produce energy at a cheaper rate, there’s less demand for coal-fired power. Since the cost of operating and maintaining coal plants doesn’t change dramatically when they produce less power, utilities then make less money per megawatt of coal energy. The double whammy has made coal uneconomic in Texas, Schlissel said.
“What’s killing these coal plants is not the Obama war on coal,” said Schlissel. “It’s the natural gas’ war on coal and all the wind available on [the grid].”
Schlissel wasn’t alone in predicting Luminant’s decision to shut down the three coal plants. In a 2016 report, ERCOT projected that between 8,000 and 18,000 megawatts of coal-fired plants will be shut down between 2017 and 2031. The group modeled eight scenarios and found that in all cases the Monticello and Big Brown plants would be shuttered.
Robbie Searcy, a spokesperson for ERCOT, said her group will study whether the three Luminant plants are needed for reliability and will make determinations about them by December. Luminant has said it hopes to close the plants by early 2018, but when they’re shut down will depend on ERCOT’s recommendation.
The post After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Huge releases of hazardous air pollutants during Hurricane Harvey could’ve been prevented if companies had simply shut down their plants ahead of time or used more advanced emission controls, experts say. According to an Observer analysis, about 40 petrochemical companies along the Texas coast released 5.5 million pounds of pollution as a result of Harvey. Among the pollutants were carcinogens such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene as well as hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds and smog-forming nitrogen oxides.
The excess emissions were mainly a result of facilities shutting down and restarting their operations in preparation for the hurricane and accidents such as the fire at the Arkema plant and a floating roof covering a tank caving in due to heavy rains at an ExxonMobil refinery. In many cases, the pollution releases were preventable, according to environmental experts who reviewed the Observer’s analysis.
For one, companies could have shut down in advance of the hurricane. At least seven facilities that emitted about 1.8 million pounds of chemicals chose to shut down on or after August 27, the day after Harvey made landfall near Rockport.
“Shutting down earlier with a slower shut down leads to less air pollution releases,” said Shaye Wolf, the climate science director at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity. “Shutting down during a storm is more dangerous for worker safety and flaring when there’s high winds is more difficult because you have to keep the flare lit.”
In other cases, the emissions could’ve been avoided if the facilities had installed new gas flaring technology, according to Wolf and Neil Carman, the clean air director at the Sierra Club and a former TCEQ inspector. Motivated in part by a 2015 EPA rule, many petrochemical plants have installed equipment to dramatically reduce toxic emissions from flaring. The rule’s implementation has been delayed till 2018.
Carman pointed out that of the 800 or so chemical facilities in Beaumont, Houston and Corpus Christi, only about 40 had reported excess emissions to TCEQ. “What that means is that there are ways to shut down without any extra air emissions,” said Carman.
The Observer’s analysis is based on about 80 initial emission reports filed by Houston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi companies with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) between August 24 and September 5.
The air pollutants from petrochemical facilities are “an additional toxic burden when people are already facing immense devastation,” said Wolf. Most of the pollutants that were released are respiratory irritants and can cause difficulty breathing and burning of the eyes and nose, Wolf said. Others such as benzene and toluene can cause developmental harms.
TCEQ did not respond to a request for comment.
It is unlikely that the facilities that reported emissions exceeding the amounts allowed by TCEQ will face any penalties. In the past, even in situations where a facility did not face a natural disaster, companies were able to claim exemptions on planned facility startups and shutdowns. Companies will also be able to fight any enforcement action from TCEQ if they can prove that a violation “was caused solely by an act of God, war, strike, riot, or other catastrophe.”
Still, Wolf and Carman said that TCEQ could incentivize petrochemical companies to reduce emissions through better enforcement. Penalties for not shutting down facilities ahead of the hurricane or failing to install flare technology could push petrochemical companies to be better prepared for future natural disasters, they said.
“The Gulf Coast region is going to keep getting hit and storms are becoming stronger because of climate change,” said Wolf. “The problem isn’t going away and regulatory agencies need to make sure that they’re implementing stricter rules.”
Elena Mejia Lutz contributed to this report.
The post Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable appeared first on The Texas Observer.
The predecessor companies of Texas’ largest power provider, Vistra Energy, helped fund climate change research in the 1970s and 1980s that warned of the risks of burning fossil fuels, according to a new report by the Energy and Policy Institute, a clean energy think tank. Nonetheless, the electric utilities and their successors spent much of the next 30 years publicly denying the effects of climate change and funding efforts to undermine the science.
The report traces the American utility industry’s shifting stance on climate change. As early as 1977, a senior official from the Electric Power Research Institute — one of the industry groups scrutinized in the report — warned Congress that fossil fuels would one day have to be reduced to curb warming. In the ’70s and ’80s, the institute published reports warning about global warming and sea-level rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions. But once climate change became a matter of broad public interest in the late ’80s, the industry joined forces with conservative think tanks to fund campaigns to confuse the public about the science.
In the ’70s and ’80s, Texas Power & Light Company and Texas Electric Service Company, which later became part of TXU and then Vistra Energy, joined an industry consortium that poured money into cutting-edge climate change research. In 1971, the research group issued a 176-page report that laid out the industry’s research and development goals through the year 2000. Among the projects they wanted to undertake: developing “meteorological models to determine effects of CO2” and “research into carbon dioxide sources and sinks.”
The Electric Power Research Institute went on to fund research into accurately measuring the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and helped prove that the carbon level in the atmosphere was increasing dramatically. But the utilities later abandoned the findings of the research they helped fund and began supporting efforts to sow doubt in climate science.
“When the issue landed on the public radar [in the late 1980s], the industry freaked out and they started funding the disinformation campaign,” said Dave Anderson, one of the report’s authors. Though some utilities later distanced themselves from those campaigns, Vistra hasn’t been one of them, Anderson said. “Vistra is among the bad actors in the industry who are continuing to fund climate skepticism and put up legal challenges to carbon regulations.”
Allan Koenig, a spokesperson for Vistra Energy, declined to comment.
Vistra maintains ties to groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative policy group that supports climate deniers and opposes clean energy policies. Sano Blocker, a Vistra executive and lobbyist, serves on ALEC’s Private Enterprise Advisory Council and, in 2015, Vistra’s subsidiaries funded an ALEC conference. The company is also involved in lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate change policy to cut carbon pollution and meet the targets set in the Paris climate accord.
In 2004, TXU, a predecessor company of Vistra, opposed a shareholder proposal to disclose the risks of climate change to the company. Then, in 2006, the company proposed building 11 new coal plants, spawning a lively protest movement across much of Texas.
“That put them squarely at the bottom of the pack in my book,” said Dan Bakal, director of electric power programs at Ceres, a nonprofit that promotes sustainability in the corporate sector. “It was such an irresponsible move. They became the lightning rod on climate.”
Most of the proposed coal plants were never built, partly as a result of opposition from environmental groups. Vistra has changed its tune slightly in the last few years: The company has stopped overtly denying climate change and doubling down on coal and is now investing in wind and solar, Bakal said.
Still, the company has a long way to go, according to Tom “Smitty” Smith, former executive director of the Texas office of the environmental and consumer group Public Citizen.
“Their environmental history has been of drag and delay and to take advantage of regulatory uncertainty,” he said. “They make billions off of it and they’ve imperiled our climate and the health of people since the 1970s.”
The post Despite Knowledge of Climate Change in 1970s, Texas Utility Companies Funded Climate Denial appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Rick Perry has danced his way back into the climate denial camp. At his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year, the secretary of energy admitted that the climate is changing and that “some of it is caused by man-made activity.”
Many wondered if Perry had a change of heart on climate change. For more than a decade as Texas governor, Perry had been an ardent climate denier. He argued that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant was “a disservice to the country” and claimed that climate scientists “have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.” In his 2010 anti-federal screed Fed Up!, he claimed the Earth was experiencing “a cooling trend” and called climate science “all one contrived phony mess.”
Perry was so vociferous in his criticism of climate science that he once noted — perhaps in an attempt to distance himself from his past involvement with Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign — that Gore’s “mouth is the leading source of all that supposedly deadly carbon dioxide” and called him “a false prophet of a secular carbon cult.”
So it came as somewhat of a surprise when in his opening statement, Perry acknowledged that the climate is changing and touted the rapid growth of wind energy in Texas during his time as governor. At the hearing, Perry danced around questions from Democratic Senators Al Franken and Bernie Sanders about how human activity contributes to warming and whether he was committed to solving the crisis. But for the most part he emphasized that his views had changed. Perry sailed through the hearing and was confirmed 62-37.
But in the months since his confirmation, Perry appears to have reversed his position yet again, casting doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that warming is primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity. In a CNBC Squawk Box interview in June, Perry said the oceans and the environment — not carbon dioxide — were the “primary control knob” for climate change. A few days later at a Senate appropriations hearing, he went further, arguing that climate change “is not settled science.” It was time, he said, to take a “red team/blue team” approach so climate deniers and scientists could duke it out and ?figure out the truth about climate change. “What’s wrong with being a skeptic about something that we’re talking about that’s going to have a massive impact on the American economy?” he asked. The energy secretary’s latest missive has induced groans among scientists.
“Perry’s statements acknowledge climate is changing, but flail between misunderstandings and half-truths about the cause,” said Daniel Cohan, an environmental engineering professor at Rice University. “A red team/blue team review is like reviewing if the HIV virus causes AIDS — the more time we waste questioning settled science, the slower we’ll be to act on it.”
Perry has also applauded Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord as well as the president’s claim that he wants to achieve “energy dominance.” Under his leadership, the Energy Department is considering closing its climate office, a move that Cohan says could further degrade the United States’ efforts to address climate change on the global stage. “That research is crucial to helping the U.S. lead the way on clean energy technologies and profiting from the jobs that come with it,” Cohan said.
Susan Combs, Fierce Critic of Endangered Species Act, Tapped for Agency in Charge of its Implementation
In May, we published a deep-dive into the Texas comptroller’s office and their funding of endangered species research. We found that the comptroller’s office, in 2011, wrested away control of the endangered species program from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and since then has been dogged by a series of controversial decisions that appear to favor special interests over rare Texas species.
Then-comptroller Susan Combs was the chief architect of the program in 2011. She’s now being tapped by the Trump administration as the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget in the Department of Interior. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency within the Department of Interior that makes decisions about which species need additional protection and should be classified as threatened or endangered.
As we pointed out in “Endangered Science,” Combs has been an outspoken critic of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered Species Act. She publicly vowed to protect Texas business interests from what she saw as federal overreach:
Combs was brazen. She likened (endangered species) listings to “incoming Scud missiles” that threatened to blow up the Texas Miracle economy. She put the oil and gas industry in charge of a habitat conservation plan for the dunes sagebrush lizard, which makes its home in the Permian Basin. In 2015, she convinced a military official at Fort Hood to reverse his position that the protections for the golden-cheeked warbler hadn’t interfered with military readiness.
Texas politicians applauded her nomination in a press release on Tuesday. U.S. Energy secretary Rick Perry called it an “outstanding choice.” Senator John Cornyn said that as “agriculture commissioner and then comptroller of one of the nation’s largest economies, she has a clear record of promoting pro-growth policies and efficiently managing large organizations. Always a fierce advocate for rural Texans, Susan will be a tremendous asset to the Department.”
You can read our May feature on the Texas comptroller’s endangered species program here.
Every year petrochemical refineries, chemical plants, oil and gas wells and other facilities emit thousands of tons of pollutants illegally into the air. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is responsible for policing these polluters, but a new report finds that the agency’s enforcement activity is woefully inadequate.
According to a report by Environment Texas and Environmental Integrity Project, the agency issued penalties for less than 3 percent of illegal releases of pollutants from 2011 to 2016. During that span, facilities released pollutants about 25,000 times, emitting more than 500 million pounds of pollutants in total. Some years, TCEQ enforcement is almost non-existent. In 2016, for instance, the agency issued fines in just 20 of the 3,720 cases of pollution events — approximately 0.5 percent of the time, according to the report.
There are a couple reasons some polluters can get away with so much. For one, companies with relatively low emissions face lighter regulations than their big counterparts. Violators can claim to be “minor” or “insignificant” polluters if they emit under 25 tons of pollutants each year, allowing them to skirt more stringent regulations that larger polluters face. Second, these companies enjoy a huge, long-standing loophole. Pollution emitted during “malfunctions” or “maintenance” simply doesn’t count against that 25 ton threshold, as long as the facility reports the releases to TCEQ. Air pollution tends to bring to mind an Exxon refinery or a coal-fired power plant. While big industrial facilities have an outsized environmental footprint, the emissions of smaller facilities add up.
The Midland area had about 2,000 malfunction and maintenance events in 2016, resulting in emissions of 34 millions pounds of pollutants — the highest of any region in the state. In comparison, there were only about 450 emission events in Houston, where the majority of facilities emit more than 25 tons of pollutants and face tighter regulations. Those figures underscore the report’s authors’ contention that TCEQ is overlooking a number of smaller polluters.
In a press release, Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said that with only a “3 percent chance of getting busted, it’s no wonder Texas polluters are repeatedly and flagrantly breaking the law.”
“It’s the Wild West when it comes to environmental enforcement in Texas, except the sheriff seems to be asleep at his desk,” he said.
You can read the full report, “Breakdowns in Enforcement,” here.
The post Report: Loopholes Allow Polluters to Get Away With Worsening Air Quality appeared first on The Texas Observer.
How bad is the smog problem in Wise County? Situated just west of the Dallas-Fort Worth sprawl, Wise County is in the heart of the Barnett Shale gas patch and since 2012 has been designated by the EPA as out of compliance with federal ozone standards. But the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) can only guess at how bad the pollution is; the agency is unwilling to install an air monitor there that would track ozone levels.
“The state is not interested in putting a monitor out there and neither is the county,” said Jim Schermbeck, the director of Downwinders at Risk, a North Texas environmental group.
With the government unwilling to act, members of Downwinders decided to take matters into their own hands. In April, the group purchased two handheld air monitors — a stationary one to be installed at a yet-to-be-determined location and the ?other to be fitted in a vehicle or a drone — at a cost of nearly $10,000. The monitors, which are EPA-certified and can fit in the palm of your hand, will help residents quantify smog levels, Schermbeck said.
In 2012, the EPA found that emissions of smog-forming pollutants in Wise County were among the highest in the 14-county DFW nonattainment area, a federal designation for places that are required to clean up the air. As a result, the EPA determined that Wise County was out of compliance. TCEQ fought the decision, but the courts ultimately sided with the EPA. Still, the state never installed ozone monitors in the county — and the EPA hasn’t required it.
Schermbeck says Texas has an incentive to avoid knowing more about air quality in Wise County. Whether a region meets federal ozone standards — currently at 75 parts per billion (ppb) — is determined by the air monitor with the highest reading in the area. Currently, the state has 20 smog monitors in the DFW area and the monitor showing the highest reading — 80 ppb — is located at the Denton airport, about 25 miles east of Decatur, the Wise County seat. If the state installs a monitor in Wise and finds that smog levels there are higher than in Denton, the DFW area might have to implement tougher pollution controls. (Stricter EPA regulations kick in when an area exceeds 80 ppb.)
Andrea Morrow, a spokesperson for TCEQ, said the agency has other air quality monitors in Wise County. The agency is not required to install smog monitors in every county, and it isn’t “fiscally possible or prudent” to locate monitors based on where a model predicts high ozone levels, she said.
Schermbeck said one of the reasons his group purchased the monitors was to “take power away from Austin” while shaming TCEQ.
“If our group with our budget can put two of these monitors in Wise County, there’s no reason why the state of Texas can’t put at least two or more of their own monitors up there,” he said. “So, shut us up. Put your own monitors up there yourself.”
The post Getting Wise to Bad Air: North Texans Take Smog Monitoring Into Own Hands appeared first on The Texas Observer.
In Texas, environmental wins are few and far between and the Legislature is particularly rough on green causes. In 2013, for instance, lawmakers reduced citizens’ ability to contest a class of underground injection wells that can contaminate groundwater sources. Two years later, in 2015, propelled by Denton’s decision to ban fracking, lawmakers passed with blazing speed a ban on fracking bans.
This session, between debates about where kids can pee and whether helping women get an abortion should be a crime, lawmakers at the pink dome continued their tradition of gutting environmental and public health protections. They reduced funding to the state’s environmental agencies, altered public notice requirements about air quality permits for industrial facilities and confirmed Kelcy Warren, head of the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. When an already underfunded budget for the state environmental agency reached the governor’s desk, he slashed more than $90 million in funding for two air quality programs.
But before we get to the ways the Lege chipped away at environmental protections, let’s take a look at the meager wins this session.
Brought Back Electric Car Rebates: The Legislature reauthorized the state’s biggest clean-air initiative, the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP), and in a win for the environmental community, allowed its use for plug-in electric and hybrid car rebates. Combined with a $7,500 federal rebate, the $2,500 rebate will help make plug-ins and hybrid cars competitive with conventional cars, environmental advocates say.
The bigger picture, however, was bleak. Lawmakers cut funding for TERP by a third, from $118 million to $78 million. And like in previous sessions, budget writers failed to appropriate most of that money to TERP, instead leaving it untouched in order to help balance the overall state budget.
Blocked Expansion of a Radioactive Waste Site: Representative Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, introduced a bill this session that would’ve allowed Waste Control Specialists to expand its capacity to accept radioactive waste at its 14,000-acre Andrews County facility. After lobbying efforts by Public Citizen and the SEED Coalition, Landgraf removed key provisions that would’ve given the company permission to expand its facility, leaving only a requirement for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to study storage capacity.
Beat Back a Ban on Plastic Bag Bans: Senator Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, proposed a ban on local government bans and taxes on plastic bags. Hall argued that plastic bags were the “most environmentally friendly option for transporting groceries” and that cities had “overstepped their authority” with the bans. The bill never got out of committee as a result of strong opposition from environmental groups and advocates from the ranching and agriculture industry, who argued, respectively, that plastic bag bans reduce trash in landfills and prevent livestock suffocation from eating plastic.
Underfunded Environmental Agencies: The Lege cut funding for a number of state agencies that protect the environment. Funding for TCEQ was reduced by $64 million, about 7 percent of its budget. Most of the cuts were to air quality programs.
Governor Abbott also took an axe to the TCEQ budget when it reached his desk this week. He vetoed $87 million in funding for a program that helped low-income Texans get assistance to replace vehicles that didn’t pass state inspections, claiming it is “ill-conceived and dubious … and should be abolished.” He also vetoed about $6 million in funding to TCEQ that would’ve allowed the agency to plan activities to reduce smog pollution.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also had its funding slashed by $100 million, about 12 percent of its budget, with a large portion of the cuts affecting funding for upkeep and renovations at state and local parks.
Weakened Local Control and Public Participation: Continuing a trend of reducing the public’s opportunity to protest polluting facilities, the Lege sent a bill to the governor by Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, to consolidate notice periods for air quality permits. The law shortens the overall time the public has to comment on an air quality permit in front of TCEQ and eliminates a second notice to the public that a company has applied for a permit.
Lawmakers also gave TCEQ and the state attorney general’s office the right to veto cities’ civil environmental-related lawsuits. If the legislation becomes law, it will require cities to submit their intention to sue to TCEQ and the attorney general. If Attorney General Ken Paxton, who touts repeatedly suing the Obama administration over stricter environmental regulations, decides the issue is one he wants to pursue, the city’s lawsuit will not proceed. Ultimately, it might lead to Paxton settling a case with a polluter on lenient terms instead of a local government pursuing tougher terms.
Passed Up Opportunity to Reform the Railroad Commission: Eight years after the Sunset Commission first submitted recommendations for reform, the Lege finally passed a bill to renew the Railroad Commission’s authorization. But lawmakers ignored most of the reforms that environmental advocates and staff at the Sunset Commission, the entity charged with periodically reviewing state agencies, had been clamoring for. In doing so, lawmakers have allowed the agency to continue without changing its confusing name — it has nothing to do with railroads — or limiting campaign contributions to commissioners.
Outlawed Flying Drones Over Factory Farms and Telecom Facilities: HB 1643, which has been sent to the governor’s desk, makes flying drones over oil and gas facilities, large-scale animal feeding operations and telecommunications facilities a Class B misdemeanor. The bill will limit the ability of citizens and advocates to research the environmental harms of these facilities and uncover shady business practices.
Gutted Wind Energy Tax Credits: SB 277, which is also awaiting action from the governor, prohibits the state from providing tax credits to new wind turbines installed within 30 miles of a military airfield. About 40 percent of all wind farms in Texas are near a military base. If SB 277 becomes law, it could hamstring future wind energy development.
The post Mean to Green: How the Texas Legislature Took its Toll on the Environment This Session appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Governor Abbott’s Beef with Tree Ordinances Has Its Roots in a Pecan Tree He Destroyed to Build a New Home
When Governor Greg Abbott called for a special session last week, his list of 20 priority issues included one item that left some observers scratching their heads. In addition to property tax reform and anti-abortion measures, Abbott said he wanted lawmakers to override cities’ regulations protecting trees.
“Some local governments, like the city of Austin, are doing everything they can to overregulate,” Abbott said at a press conference announcing the special session. “I want legislation that … prevent[s] cities from micromanaging what property owners do with trees on their private land.”
Why was the governor asking lawmakers to examine what appeared to be a non-issue?
The answer may lie in Abbott’s personal experience with Austin’s tree ordinance. In a recent radio interview, Abbott said he was upset that the city of Austin wouldn’t allow him to remove a pecan tree at the house he owned in West Austin and required him to plant new trees.
“Austin, Texas owns your trees,” Abbott said. “That’s insanity. … It’s socialistic.”
But city records tell a different story. In 2011, Abbott was looking to demolish his 4,540-square-foot home in West Austin and replace it with an even bigger two-story, four-bedroom house with a backyard pool. The construction, however, could’ve harmed two large pecan trees in his yard considered “heritage” trees by the city of Austin.
According to city records, Abbott was given a building permit but also required to protect two large pecan trees — the state tree of Texas — near his new home and swimming pool. He didn’t follow the plan and the construction crew killed one of the pecan trees. He was later allowed to remove the pecan tree and at least three other trees on his property.
Matt Hirsch, a spokesperson for Abbott, did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2010, Austin City Council adopted a heritage tree ordinance, which provides protection to certain species of trees 24 inches and greater in diameter. The Austin regulations require property owners to inform the city if they’re planning development activity that could affect a heritage tree. In May 2011, when Abbott applied for a permit to construct the new home, a city arborist inspected his property and required that the two pecan trees be protected during construction. Specifically, the arborist required that he install a fence to protect the trees, add mulch and avoid harming the critical root zones.
“No sprinkler or landscaping impacts greater than 4 inches allowed,” the city arborist wrote. “There’s critical root zones on entire lot.”
But a year later, Abbott asked for permission to remove the 24-inch pecan tree because it was dying. When the city came out to inspect, they discovered that the construction crew had damaged the roots, city arborist Keith Mars told the Observer. Two-thirds of the canopy was dead.
“Unpermitted impacts had occurred within the critical root zone,” the inspector wrote, which had led to the “poor” condition of the tree. Abbott had broken the rules. “This was to be preserved per previous tree permits,” he wrote. Nonetheless, the city let Abbott cut down the tree, only asking that he plant new trees to make up for the loss.
Since then Abbott has requested and received permission to remove three other trees from his property: a 23-inch diameter red oak, a 19-inch magnolia and the 29-inch heritage pecan.