- Galveston, TX Weather :: 71F Fog/Mist February 24, 201871F Fog/Mist
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 71F Fog/Mist February 24, 2018
- Love in the air at Minute Maid Park: Couple left with more than just love for Astros baseball February 23, 2018Many Astros share a love for the team, but last season, Cupid showed up to Minute Maid Park, leaving fans with more than just a love for baseball. "Our first date was an Astros game," said newlywed Lori Tolopka, laughing. PHOTOS: Astros super fans prepare for spring trainingShe and her now-husband, Wes, are preparing for […]
- Simone Biles to hold international invitational at family's World Champions Centre in Spring February 22, 2018America's most decorated gymnast, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles will have her very first international invitational at her family's World Champions Centre in Spring.Biles sat down with KPRC where she discussed her invitational, preparations and plans for Tokyo 2020 and her message of encouragement to current Olympians in Korea.She watched the historic win in Pyeongchang […]
- Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa form special bond with Astros February 22, 2018One stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and the other a mere 5 feet 6 inches.Carlos Correa and Josel Altuve make up the best middle infield in baseball, and they have a mutual respect that goes far beyond the field."Just his work ethic, he works hard and smart. He knows what it takes to be […]
- Carlos Correa's dog getting into trouble at spring training February 22, 2018When one of your owners is a World Series champion and the other is a former Miss Texas USA, you get to cause a little trouble.Groot Correa is a dog, who is doing just that, but, he is super adorable, so it's okay.Astros star Carlos Correa and his fiancee Daniella Rodriguez took their dog with […]
- For Elana Meyers Taylor, bobsled silver is sweeter this time February 22, 2018Silver is sweeter this time for U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor.Her perspective has changed so much, and in so many ways, over the last four years. The silver medal she got at the Sochi Games in 2014 represented failure. It was nothing more than a shiny reminder of a loss, a bauble that she wanted […]
- This silver may be the most important medal Mikaela Shiffrin ever wins February 22, 2018Both Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn raced the Alpine super-combined on Friday, the first time the two American skiers competed against each other at the Olympics, and almost surely the last. The experts made Shiffrin the pre-race favorite for gold. For Vonn, medal prospects were akin to -- in her words -- Russian roulette.Shiffrin didn't […]
- USA defeats Canada to win gold in women's hockey February 22, 2018In perhaps the ultimate Olympic grudge match, Team USA earned a 3-2 shootout victory over Canada in the women's hockey gold medal game.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson beat Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados on a deke after the shootout remained tied 2-2 after the first five shooters.WATCH: Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scores the shootout winnerWhen U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney turned away […]
- A plethora of pitchers: Astros' Hinch must make decision February 21, 2018With virtually every position already a lock for the Houston Astros at the beginning of spring training, the toughest decision manager A.J. Hinch might have to make this spring is which of his talented pitchers won't make the rotation.On a championship team with Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, newcomer Gerrit Cole and […]
- Dallas Mavericks launch probe after allegations of workplace misconduct February 21, 2018The Dallas Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace for women.Ussery was accused of making sexually suggestive remarks to several women. He spent 18 years with the team before going to the sports apparel company […]
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fined $600,000 for tanking comments February 21, 2018The NBA has fined outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for comments about tanking during a podcast with Hall of Famer Julius Erving.Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday the fine was for "public statements detrimental to the NBA." The podcast with Erving was posted Sunday, the day the All-Star game was played in Los Angeles.Cuban […]
- Love in the air at Minute Maid Park: Couple left with more than just love for Astros baseball February 23, 2018
- 18-wheeler strikes Hitchcock church during crash February 24, 2018HITCHCOCK, Texas - First responders and power crews were in place to help remove an 18-wheeler that ran into a church on Highway 6 in Hitchcock in Galveston Countyon Friday. Police said that, just after 4 p.m., the truck driver swerved to avoid a car that had pulled out in front of the big rig.
- Tractor-trailer crashes into church in Hitchcock February 24, 2018The tractor-trailer's male driver swerved to try and avoid a car on the 15000 block of Highway 6 near Avenue A and hit the side of the small church. The driver had a passenger and at least one of the truck's occupants was injured and taken to the United Texas Medical Branch Trauma Center in […]
- Galveston police officer arrested on drug charges February 24, 2018Galveston police officer John Rutherford is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, misuse of official information and evidence tampering. Police Chief Vernon Hale said Friday that the 40-year-old Rutherford provided 32-year-old Salvador Rivera with information on officers' locations, ...
- Galveston police officer arrested on drug charges - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and ... February 24, 2018GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - A Southeast Texas police officer faces felony drug charges alleging that he supplied a suspected drug dealer with information that helped him avoid other police officers. Galveston police officer John Rutherford is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, misuse of ...
- Moody Foundation Launches Generation Moody Education Initiative With $8613679 Investment February 24, 2018GALVESTON, Texas, Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Moody Foundation has launched its Generation Moody Education Initiative, a signature project benefitting Galveston Island by providing a catalyst for exceptional education opportunities for infants through high school and into post-secondary ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast February 23, 2018022 FPUS54 KHGX 232142. ZFPHGX. Zone Forecast Product for Southeast Texas. National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 341 PM CST Fri Feb 23 2018. TXZ211-241000-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy. 341 PM CST Fri Feb 23 2018 .TONIGHT...Partly cloudy early in the ...
- The Ultimate Galveston Spring Break Guide February 23, 2018Galveston Island, dubbed the Playground of the Southwest, is one of the top spring break destinations for travelers looking for anything from exciting beach parties to relaxing attractions for all ages. Every year, Galveston turns in to a road trip destination in the month of March, as the island begins ...
- Galveston Cop Arrested On Felony Organized Crime Charges February 23, 2018GALVESTON, TX — The Galveston Police Department arrested one of their own officers on several felony charges related to organized crime and evidence tampering, officials said Friday. The officer, who has not yet been named, is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, misuse of official ...
- Galveston police officer arrested on felony organized criminal activity charges February 23, 2018The Galveston Police Department has arrested one of their police officers on three felony charges Friday morning. According to a brief statement released by Galveston PD, a Galveston police officer was arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, misuse of official information and ...
- Galveston police officer arrested, charged with organized criminal activity February 23, 2018The Galveston Police Department arrested one of its own officers, who faces three felony charges including engaging in organized criminal activity, the department announced Friday. No other information was readily available, but the department will hold a new conference at 1 p.m. today to release ...
- 18-wheeler strikes Hitchcock church during crash February 24, 2018
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- Electronic Plan Review Coming to Galveston’s Development Services Department February 22, 2018Galveston's Department of Development Services will take its first step toward offering electronic plan review to those doing business with the city beginning the week of February 26th.
- Galveston City Council Workshop February 22, 2018Galveston City Council, during its workshop today, received an update on city pension funds.
- Kemah City Council February 22, 2018Kemah City Council voted unanimously to approve the implementation of a K9 patrol unit with the Kemah Police Department.
- Galveston ISD Board of Trustees February 22, 2018The Galveston Independent School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday voted 5-0-1, with Anthony Brown abstaining, to nominate Tom Farmer for appointment to the Galveston Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.
- Friendswood Police recover stolen guns, a stolen car, drugs and cash during search warrant February 22, 2018The Friendswood Police Department today reported that Jeremy Dwayne Clemons has been arrested on drug and weapons charges in connection with Wednesday's search warrant executed at 2802 West Bay Area Boulevard.
- Friendswood offering Skywarn training February 22, 2018The City of Friendswood will host Skywarn training on March 20.
- Texas City City Commission February 22, 2018The Texas City City Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to create a marketing/tourism coordinator position and appropriate funding for the position.
- Friendswood ranks high on Safest Cities list February 22, 2018The City of Friendswood on Wednesday announced that the city has been ranked the eighth safest in Texas by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
- Galveston College Board of Regents February 22, 2018The Galveston College Board of Regents on Wednesday voted unanimously to nominate Tom Farmer for appointment to the Galveston Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.
- Electronic Plan Review Coming to Galveston’s Development Services Department February 22, 2018
- Indian Americans question Trump’s armed teacher solution to campus violence 24 Feb 2018 11:00 The Times of India KOLKATA: Donald Trump’s insistence on backing a plan to arm teachers in US schools despite the lack of evidence showing this would end school shootings has come under criticism from Indian Americans. They have joined the protests registered by America’s …
- Trump says Jared Kushner's security clearance is up to chief of staff 24 Feb 2018 10:57 Japan Times WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump says he’ll leave it up to chief of staff John Kelly to decide whether Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will keep his interim security clearance. “I will let General Kelly make that decision and he’s going to do …
- Suit accusing Trump of taking foreign gifts is now personal as well as official 24 Feb 2018 10:57 Japan Times WASHINGTON – Attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia on Friday expanded their lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of accepting gifts from foreign and state governments, suing him not only as president but in his personal capacity as …
- Trump: Officer in Parkland didn't 'love the children' CNN 24 Feb 2018 10:54 Video Games UK & Ireland Yahoo Trump: Officer in Parkland didn't 'love the children'More (CNN)President Donald Trump continued to criticize the armed school resource officer in Parkland, Florida, who stayed outside of the school during the shooting, saying during a White …
- ‘This is why nepotism is a terrible idea’: Legal analyst puts a stake through the heart of Trump’s Kushner problem 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen during their meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO) A CNN legal analyst on Friday pinpointed why President Donald Trump’s insistence on …
- Trump company settles lawsuit for $5.45 million over golf club members who demanded a refund and were refused 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story An image of Pres. Donald Trump playing golf (Twitter.com) A Florida golf club owned by U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to pay $5.45 million to settle claims by former members that it wrongfully refused to refund their deposits when they …
- ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and Trump fans are behind #FireSheriffIsrael hate after he shouted at NRA spokeswoman 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story On Friday night, hashtags calling for the firing or resignation of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel began trending on Twitter — and they appear to be directed by both fans of President Donald Trump and, peculiarly, proponents of the so-called “Blue …
- The NRA just honored Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai with rifle for killing ‘net neutrality’ 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday …
- Former US Attorney explains how Mueller can build a case of conspiracy against the Trump campaign 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade (MSNBC screenshot) Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told MSNBC’s Joy Reid Friday that the plea deal from Rick Gates could be the beginning of the end for President Donald Trump. “I think it’s a significant …
- ‘They should be ashamed’: Don Lemon rips Trump and CPAC crowd for ‘low blow’ attacking John McCain while he’s ‘fighting for his life’ 24 Feb 2018 10:52 Raw Story President Donald Trump had promised Meghan McCain and Cindy McCain that he would refrain from attacking Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) while he’s fighting glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that has a very low survival rate. Political contributor Chris Cilizza …
- Sweeny woman pleads guilty to sex trafficking conspiracy involving minors
- Man extradited from Mexico to face charges in 2015 deaths of 2 Baytown teens
- 2 Galveston Ball HS students charged after stolen gun found in vehicle on campus
- After four weeks, state Sen. Carlos Uresti’s criminal fraud case heads to the jury
- TRUMP SLAPS RUSSIA WITH SANCTIONS OVER ELECTION MEDDLING:
- Mechanic stabbed in neck during argument at Galveston tire shop
- Hitchcock HS student threatens school after being caught cheating on test, police say
- 2 dead in possible murder-suicide in Galveston, police say
- Houston Fire employee relieved of duty while facing felony charges in Colorado
- Speeds reach 130 mph in chase from Dickinson to South Houston
- Man accused of beating 4-year-old to death, injuring two other children facing charges
- SAISD police officer arrested, accused of causing wrong-way crash on Loop 1604
- 2 women charged in deadly shooting of Dollar General employee
- Woman offered sex acts to deputies for squatting rights, deputies say
- Officials: Deputy shoots roommate of handcuffed man who shot another deputy
- LIVE: 13 Russian nationals, 3 Russian entities charged with interfering in US political process
- Dog food withdrawn over concerns about euthanasia drug pentobarbital
- Indictment says Russians communicated with a person affiliated with a Texas grassroots group during 2016 election
- George P. Bush’s secret mansion is financed by an undisclosed loan from Texas donor’s bank
- AT&T project bringing faster internet leaving damage, headaches in its wake
- Local candidate’s campaign ad draws criticism
- DPS reverses decision to lay off more than 100 older officers
- Man accused of using counterfeit money trying to buy iPhone X through OfferUp
- 13 suspected in tire, wheel theft ring that operated in 7 counties, officials say
- Audit: Company behind Texas ‘clean coal’ project used federal funds for liquor, limousines and lobbying
- Republican state Rep. Sarah Davis on voting for Gov. Greg Abbott: “It’ll be hard to do that.”
- Family wants justice for woman struck by 3 vehicles, killed in north Harris County
- Massage parlor workers offering sex for money in Fort Bend County, sheriff says
- Appeals court mostly upholds ruling against Harris County bail practices
- ‘The Most Dangerous Man in America’ is a Pleasant Flashback to One of the Wildest Stories of the ’60s
- Harris County assistant district attorney fired after 2 days on job, authorities say
- Woman charged with retaliation after threatening Harris County judge
- Pregnant passenger injured in high-speed chase, crash in Conroe
- Coastal communities hit by Harvey will get $1 billion for hazard mitigation, Abbott announces
- At Border Patrol Checkpoints, an Impossible Choice Between Health Care and Deportation
- He’s been a Texas Supreme Court justice for a month. Now Jimmy Blacklock must become a candidate.
- Email hack targets Texas EquuSearch members, files
- Harold Farb’s family says report proves he was murdered
- $20K reward offered in 1986 Valentine’s Day murder cold case
- Houston-area officials approved a plan for handling a natural disaster — then ignored it
- A Prison By Any Other Name
- Land commissioner says ‘doctored’ audit critical of his agency’s management the Alamo is under investigation
- Texas community health centers fear layoffs, closures without federal funding
- ‘We don’t have a flu season,’ Texas televangelist Gloria Copeland says
- More than half of Texas public school students are in districts where teacher certification isn’t required
- At East Texas debate, embattled Texas agriculture chief Sid Miller in hot seat
- Medical cannabis dispensaries are opening in Texas, but the newly legal oils still aren’t easy to procure
- Fake Pasadena cop tries to pull over mother
- Man dies after shooting outside of Fish Place in Texas City
- After land office inks Harvey contract, Land Commissioner George P. Bush gets donations from contractor
- “They’re just setting those babies up for the penitentiary”: How minor offenses feed overcrowding at Houston youth jail
- How a federal proposal could affect millions of dollars in Texas workers’ tips
- Houston Forensic Science Center analyst fired for shredding homicide case notes
- Suspect in 3 killings found in Harris County after escaping Mississippi jail
- Report: U.S. Rep. Farenthold of Texas to retire amid sexual harassment scandal
- This Texas lawmaker could finish his term from jail
- Paul Pressler, former Texas judge and religious right leader, accused of sexually assaulting teen for years
- Amid sexual harassment controversy, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold faces tough re-election
- Houston bounty hunter accused of running international sex trafficking network
- Snow falls on Galveston County
- Baby killer pleads not guilty in 1980s deaths of 5 kids
- Texas district attorney who prosecuted Jeff Wood now wants him off death row
- Texas-Bred Anti-Environmentalists Find New Power in Trump Administration
- Requiem for an Alt-Weekly
- Democrat Andrew White, son of late Gov. Mark White, announces gubernatorial bid
- Former Oilers QB Warren Moon sued for sexual harassment
- Texas prisons ban over 10,000 books. An Israeli diplomat wants to know why Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is allowed.
- Who are the 5 jailers indicted in Harris County inmate’s beating?
- Breast cancer survivor faces bullying after Melania Trump-inspired plastic surgery
- Bond concerns: Career criminal allowed to return to streets after 32 arrests
- Texas senators discuss closing youth lockups amid sexual abuse scandal
- Arrests along border dipped sharply under Trump, according to federal data
- Woman with criminal history accused of setting Galveston man on fire turns herself in
- Man’s body found near Seabrook highway
- Officer kills burglary suspect in shootout in La Marque
- Deputy shoots teenage driver after driver attempts to run deputies over
- Gorilla escapes barrier into hog exhibit at Houston Zoo, officials say
- Meet the man who took his daughter out of school early for deer season
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Texas churches need to know they can have guns
- In Texas, you probably won’t get welfare benefits; even if you qualify
- Texas reform advocates want to close all state-run youth lockups
- Man exposes himself at tanning salon, League City police search for his identity
- Free Press Summer Festival is changing its name to this
- Assault charge against Johnny Manziel dismissed
- How Texas curtailed traditional welfare without ending poverty
- Texas parents wait in limbo as policymakers struggle to save Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Harris County man wanted for 2006 murder arrested in Mexico
- Members of street gang linked to series of burglaries of Apple products, police say
- Arrest expected soon after Galveston man set on fire, police say
- How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death
- Man accused of killing teen with whom he had inappropriate relationship appears in court
- Here’s what’s happening in Harris County now that the sheriff issues bail bonds
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halts state’s last execution of 2017
- Houston church threatened by gunman at Sunday’s service
- As Bayer and Monsanto push for merger, Texas farmers fear rising prices
- Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose
- Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey
- 13-year-old robbery suspect shot in the head by apartment tenant, police say
- Man Mistaken for Burglar, Shot by Police then Shackled to Hospital Bed and Barred from Seeing Family
- Coyote attacks increasing: What you should know
- Postal worker accused of kidnapping, choking and fatally shooting co-worker girlfriend
- 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
- With 8 days left in special session, Texas House and Senate remain far apart
- What you need to know if your vehicle is flooded
- City of Houston applies for FEMA grant to help elevate homes in flood-prone areas
- Commissioners vote to ban swimming, fishing in San Luis Pass
- Texas backs Wisconsin in battle to protect partisan gerrymandering
- SE Houston gas pump appears to charge customers after they are done filling up
- Carjacking suspect accused of shooting father multiple times sentenced to 171 months in prison
- 4 arrested in connection with 2 deadly shootings in Montgomery County
- 1 drowns, 2 injured in incident at San Luis Pass
- 1 arrested, 1 on the run in linked cases of Spring nurse found dead, missing UH student
- Near Drowning at Bacliff Chase Park Pool
- Drunk Wrong Way Driver Arrested in Dickinson
- Lasker Park Community Swimming Pool to Open on August 15th
- Man accused of touching girls’ buttocks in back-to-school aisle at Walmart
- Rare pink dolphin spotted in Louisiana waterway
- Woman found hiding in bed of pickup truck says she ‘was just looking at the stars’
- Amazon sells out of toilet paper with Trump’s tweets
- Teen home invasion suspect killed, man on the run in Baytown
- Houston man last seen throwing life jacket to daughter before going underwater at Canyon Lake
- Deadly dare: 8-year-old girl dies after drinking boiling water
- 2nd Man In Robbery Spree Gets 20 Years Prison
- Oklahoma to seek death penalty against William Reese
- 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
- Fukushima nuclear disaster dumping 300 tons of waste a day into Pacific Ocean for years now. This is an ongoing problem for the world with no end in sight. A major cover-up of this disaster is a crime against us all. February 23, 2018submitted by /u/trickymason [link] [comments]/u/trickymason
- Parkland students told, "Police would be firing blanks...it's a drill" February 23, 2018submitted by /u/cosmicerrors [link] [comments]/u/cosmicerrors
- Emma at the CNN town hall, completely caught up with fame. Waving to her friends and twirling around after her applause. February 23, 2018submitted by /u/ilikerealmaplesyrup [link] [comments]/u/ilikerealmaplesyrup
- Over A Million Children Under the Age of Six Are Currently on Psychiatric Drugs in America February 23, 2018submitted by /u/OB1_kenobi [link] [comments]/u/OB1_kenobi
- Youtubes largest page's about las vegas shooting deleted day before protest. February 23, 2018MANY channels on YT have just been terminated with appeals denied within a hour some minutes. There's a planned vegas protest tomorrow and there WAS a TON of good data about the false flag corruption coverup (not hoax). The contridictions in autopsied bodys,pictures in the crime scene and just tons of credible info from vegas […]/u/AmishAtomicPhysicist
- School shooting survivor Colton Haab confirms that CNN tried to force him to read a script, names CNN producer Carrie Stevenson who literally told him to "stick to the script." February 23, 2018submitted by /u/Frozen_ [link] [comments]/u/Frozen_
- People Being Rounded Up & Jailed for Being Unable to Pay PRIVATE Debts February 23, 2018submitted by /u/ilikerealmaplesyrup [link] [comments]/u/ilikerealmaplesyrup
- YouTube is giving strikes to people just for questioning the florida shooting February 23, 2018submitted by /u/Spider_Goat7 [link] [comments]/u/Spider_Goat7
- Where are all the Vegas survivors February 23, 2018Being a non American its just strange that all these kids are making noise about gun control but there has been nothing from the 10s of thousands that were at The Vegas shooting. Do y'all just pick and choose what horrific massacre you protest about? submitted by /u/GeneticEnginLifeForm [link] [comments]/u/GeneticEnginLifeForm
- Remember that time Bill Nye and his seahorse ran a segment encouraging 14 year olds to try some butt stuff, give strangers hand jobs and engage in sex stew? February 23, 2018submitted by /u/naturalproducer [link] [comments]/u/naturalproducer
- What's Assange mean by this"There is evidence that Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Israel were engaged in influence operations and possibly a number of other states. Which country is being protected by Rosenstein? Why is that country, or the campaign it is connected to, above the law?" February 23, 2018submitted by /u/Tha_Dude_Abidez [link] [comments]/u/Tha_Dude_Abidez
- School shooting survivor: CNN told me to stick to script February 23, 2018submitted by /u/Bert-Goldberg [link] [comments]/u/Bert-Goldberg
- This statue outside of a community center in my town, Portland OR. February 23, 2018submitted by /u/Beetlejuiceisking [link] [comments]/u/Beetlejuiceisking
- 7 Arrests in Veterans For Child Rescue Joint NGO/LEO Pedophile Sting. This is how the People Win, a Veterans Org helping to bring down the Pedo Rings February 23, 2018submitted by /u/OT-GOD-IS-DEMIURGE [link] [comments]/u/OT-GOD-IS-DEMIURGE
- Armed Sheriff’s Deputy ‘Never Went In’ During Florida Shooting February 23, 2018submitted by /u/BanMikePantsNow [link] [comments]/u/BanMikePantsNow
- Fukushima nuclear disaster dumping 300 tons of waste a day into Pacific Ocean for years now. This is an ongoing problem for the world with no end in sight. A major cover-up of this disaster is a crime against us all. February 23, 2018
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Author Archives: Naveena Sadasivam
At a climate conference in Washington, D.C., about a month after the presidential election, Brooke Rollins was in a celebratory mood. “We are winning, and a couple of years ago, it didn’t seem possible,” she said. “Most people thought it was going to be a really sad and dark and unfortunate time for the country, especially on [climate change]. There is great hope.”
Rollins must be sick of winning. The atmosphere has more carbon than any time in the last 3 million years, and many of her colleagues at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think tank in Austin, are headed to Washington, D.C. The longtime president of TPPF, Rollins has transformed the foundation from a fledgling group with a staff of three and $9,000 in the bank to a sprawling policy shop that employs more than 80 people, wields considerable clout at the Legislature and boasts a $10 million budget primed with money from the Koch brothers and fossil fuel interests. Buoyed by the election of President Trump and the mainstreaming of what were once fringe positions, the group now seems poised to wield greater influence nationally.
Since that December conference, Rollins has served as an economic advisor to Trump, and several TPPF staff members have been tapped for positions in the Trump administration, primarily to oversee environmental policy. Perhaps TPPF’s most high-profile export is Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate denier who led the organization’s environmental work and once argued that coal helped end slavery. She could soon be in charge of spearheading environmental policy in the White House.
Other TPPF alums embraced by the Trump administration include Doug Domenech, who has argued the “forgotten moral case for fossil fuels,” and Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, who once compared endangered species listings to “incoming Scud missiles.” Domenech is an assistant secretary in the Department of Interior and Combs is waiting to be confirmed to a similar position at the agency. The foundation’s communications director, Caroline Espinosa, was hired by the State Department’s public affairs office.
“There’s great pride on behalf of my colleagues,” said Kevin Roberts, TPPF’s executive vice president. “Given that many of our colleagues are now servicing all Americans, that puts an extra spring in our step.” Roberts said many of the foundation’s most prominent hires by the Trump administration were in the energy and environmental policy arena because of his group’s “reputation as a top-notch academic institution” that has worked on “a lot of policy issues in energy and environment.”
But for environmental and public health advocates, TPPF’s rise to the national stage is worrisome. For one, White, Domenech and others have falsely argued that the science on climate change isn’t settled. Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, said TPPF has had “total disregard” for the science on climate change. Unlike other opponents he’s faced who may agree on the science but disagree on policy to address climate change, TPPF has “messaging out of a different century,” he said.
“To now make it to the highest levels in the U.S. government means they can unleash their anti-environmental agenda on all Americans, not just Texans,” Metzger said. “It’s a new breed of anti-environmentalists taking power. It’s pretty scary.”
The post Texas-Bred Anti-Environmentalists Find New Power in Trump Administration appeared first on The Texas Observer.
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.”
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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.