environment http://kut.org en Denton Council Punts Fracking Ban Proposal To Voters http://kut.org/post/denton-council-punts-fracking-ban-proposal-voters <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/16/denton-council-punts-fracking-ban-proposal-voters/">From The Texas Tribune</a>:</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;">DENTON – Voters will decide whether this North Texas college town will become the state's first city to ban hydraulic fracturing.&nbsp;</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;">After a public hearing Tuesday night that stretched into Wednesday morning, the Denton City Council rejected a proposal to ban the method of oil and gas extraction inside the city, which sits on the edge of the gas-rich Barnett Shale. The 5-2 vote kicked the question to the city’s November ballot, the next step in a high-profile property rights clash that will likely be resolved outside of Denton. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:01:57 +0000 Jim Malewitz, Texas Tribune 10797 at http://kut.org Denton Council Punts Fracking Ban Proposal To Voters Cleanup Continues After Oil Spill Near Houston Ship Channel http://kut.org/post/clean-continues-after-oil-spill-near-houston-ship-channel <strong>This post was updated at 4:47 p.m. ET.</strong><p>The cleanup of an oil spill near the Houston Ship Channel is continuing today, and authorities say they have opened one of the country's biggest ports in a limited capacity this afternoon.<p><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/24/293858817/after-oil-spill-coastguard-prepares-to-open-houston-ship-channel">As we reported</a>, a collision between two vessels spilled about 168,000 gallons in an area close to a nature preserve. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:41:45 +0000 10032 at http://kut.org U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review http://kut.org/post/us-issues-keystone-xl-pipeline-environmental-review The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the <a href="http://keystone-xl.com/?gclid=COO8wbaaqbwCFVFk7AodvDEAAA">Keystone XL pipeline</a> goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.<p>In the <a href="http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/">Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement</a> on the controversial pipeline, the department takes no position on whether it should be built but notes that tar-sand crude produces 17 percent mor Fri, 31 Jan 2014 21:29:38 +0000 Scott Neuman 9692 at http://kut.org U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review On America Recycles Day, UT Students Go for the Record with Box Castle http://kut.org/post/america-recycles-day-ut-students-go-record-box-castle <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The sound of masking tape being stretched and torn, cardboard boxes being folded, and students laughing and chattering filled Gregory Plaza on Friday morning, as more than a hundred students gathered to build the first cardboard box castle at the University of Texas.</span></p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 18:09:32 +0000 Emily Mathis 9197 at http://kut.org On America Recycles Day, UT Students Go for the Record with Box Castle For Rain Barrel Users, Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Water? http://kut.org/post/rain-barrel-users-there-such-thing-too-much-water <p>Austin&#39;s recent rains have caused <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-dries-after-storm-flooding-more-rain-way-update">a fair amount of trouble</a>. But some folks made out like bandits during the recent deluge.</p><p>Many urban rain collectors watched recent downpours overwhelm their <a href="http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/">rain barrels and cisterns</a>. It raises a question: Can too much rain be a bad thing, even for rainwater harvesters?<br /><br />Most rain harvesters say: Nope.<br /><br />Karen Collins, who collects rain at her home in Austin and on farmland north of Liberty Hill, is optimistic about the surge in rain. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s wonderful,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;My tanks are completely full. I am in great shape. There are times in the summer when I don&rsquo;t have any rainwater.&rdquo;</p><p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 15:23:48 +0000 Carrie Powell 8932 at http://kut.org For Rain Barrel Users, Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Water? Austin - Soon You’ll Be Able to Irrigate the Yard With Your Washing Machine Wastewater http://kut.org/post/austin-soon-you-ll-be-able-irrigate-yard-your-washing-machine-wastewater <p></p><p>In an eco-friendly city like Austin, you’d think reclaimed water systems for the home would be a no-brainer. Instead, the entire city has only one fully licensed greywater system. But that could soon change.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater">Greywater</a> systems (or graywater, or grey water – there’s no universally accepted spelling) take used water from sinks, showers and washing machines and funnel it to uses like landscaping instead of sending it down the drain. (Greywater doesn’t include toilet water.)</p><p> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 16:53:46 +0000 Wells Dunbar 7525 at http://kut.org Austin - Soon You’ll Be Able to Irrigate the Yard With Your Washing Machine Wastewater Texas Watches State of the Union with an Eye on Energy http://kut.org/post/texas-watches-state-union-eye-energy <p>Even before the President’s State of the Union Address was over last night, some environmental and renewable energy groups were sending out congratulatory emails.</p><p>“We thank President Obama for his leadership” read one from the <a href="http://www.seia.org/">Solar Energy Industries Association</a>. The speech outlined “clean energy solutions”&nbsp; said the group <a href="http://www.environmenttexas.org/">Environment Texas</a>.</p><p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:26:06 +0000 Mose Buchele 6574 at http://kut.org Texas Watches State of the Union with an Eye on Energy La Niña Could Bring More Drought to Texas http://kut.org/post/la-ni-could-bring-more-drought-texas <p>After the brutal drought of 2011, welcome rains this year put minds at ease in many parts of Texas. But any respite may be short-lived.</p><p>The best hope Texas had for a full recovery from its long drought was a wet upcoming winter. But recent weather models show that’s growing less and less likely. The reason? The El Niño weather pattern meteorologists expected is not forming in the Atlantic.</p><p><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/11/01/el-nino-changed-his-mind-cooler-wetter-winter-no-longer-forecast/#more-20437" target="_blank">State Climatologist John Neilsen-Gammon tell <em>StateImpact Texas</em></a> the bad news doesn’t end there. Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:07:29 +0000 Mose Buchele & Terrence Henry 5499 at http://kut.org La Niña Could Bring More Drought to Texas Why Longhorns Owe Their Survival in Part to Oklahoma http://kut.org/post/why-longhorns-owe-their-survival-part-oklahoma <p></p><p>It might not be the safest week to mention this, but here goes:</p><p>The Texas longhorns owe their survival in large part to Oklahoma.</p><p>Oklahoma and the federal government, that is.</p><p>We’re talking cattle, of course, not football. Here’s what happened: A century ago, the longhorn breed teetered on the edge of extinction. After the Civil War, the great herds that had lumbered up the Chisholm Trail from Texas to the railways depots in Kansas for shipment east had suddenly fallen out of favor. Texas ranchers had become enamored with Herefords and Angus, which grew faster and were often less cantankerous than the lean, hardy longhorn, which was descended from Spanish and Anglo cattle and had sometimes roamed wild.</p><p> Fri, 12 Oct 2012 16:12:33 +0000 Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune & Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune 5322 at http://kut.org Why Longhorns Owe Their Survival in Part to Oklahoma Prop 13: Watershed Protection and Open Space http://kut.org/post/prop-13-watershed-protection-and-open-space <p>This November,&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/18-propositions-austin-voters-november">Austin voters will be asked to decide on 18 propositions</a>, including seven bond propositions totaling $385 million. KUT News is examining all seven of the spending propositions; today we take a look at Prop 13, which would spend $30 million purchasing land and conservation easements for open space and water quality protection.&nbsp;</p><p>According to the city, the bond would help preserve Austin's water quality by funding land buys in the Barton Springs Watershed, where water filters into the Edwards Aquifer.</p><p>“It’s preserving the lands, keeping it from urbanization, which inevitably leads to some degradation of water quality,” says Michael Personett, &nbsp;assistant director for the city’s Watershed Protection program.</p><p>The bond would also add to the city's undeveloped space by funding the purchase of land conservation easements in environmentally sensitive areas. Easements are essentially agreements between the city and landowners that keep land in the hands of its original owner while preventing outside development. The owner gets some extra cash, and the city gets assurances water quality won't deteriorate in that area.</p><p> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:12:00 +0000 Reshma Kirpalani & Wells Dunbar 5163 at http://kut.org Prop 13: Watershed Protection and Open Space Freezing in the Texas Heat http://kut.org/post/freezing-texas-heat <p>http://kut.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/KWON-REMIX.mp3</p><p><em>Mincheol Kwon is a visiting reporter at KUT. He hails from CBS-Christian Broadcasting System, a South Korean radio station in Seoul. He is also studying audio journalism at the Journalism School of Texas State University at San Marcos.</em></p><p>Planning a summertime trip to Texas? It makes sense to worry about the heat. But you might also give some thought to exactly the opposite.</p><p>“I have to live with the cold!” said UT graduate student Taehyun Cho on a recent afternoon.</p><p>He’s talking about Texans’ tendency to crank up the AC to near-arctic levels.</p><p>"Exposed to the heat [outside] and then suddenly to the cold, my biological rhythm has broken,” said Cho. “Today I was in class shivering."</p><p>The extreme fluctuations between indoor and outdoor temperatures may seem normal to many locals, but it strikes people from other cultures not just as strange, but as unhealthy.&nbsp;In Korea, they even have a word for it. It roughly translates as “air conditioning-itis.”</p><p> Sat, 06 Oct 2012 19:28:54 +0000 Mincheol Kwon 5252 at http://kut.org Freezing in the Texas Heat SXSW Eco Powers Through a Second Year http://kut.org/post/sxsw-eco-powers-through-second-year <p>The second-annual <a href="http://sxsweco.com/">South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco</a> conference comes to an end today.</p><p>SXSW Eco is an offshoot of the wildly-popular SXSW festival that takes over Austin for a good chunk of March each year, and has since grown from its roots in music and film to encompass technology and education.</p><p>SXSW Eco is still a comparatively smaller affair, viewed against the <a href="http://kut.org/2012/10/sxsw-impact-estimated-at-190-million/">whopping $190 million in estimated economic impact</a> SXSW brings overall. But this year’s festival expanded its focus onto five themes: Scalable, ecological solutions; collaborations between disparate communities on global issues like climate change; advances in technology and design; green economics; and visions for an environmentally sustainable future.</p><p>The team with KUT News’ <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/">StateImpact Texas</a> has been filing dispatches from Eco, starting with an interview with Michael E. Mann, a Penn State University professor whose work includes the iconic <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy">“hockey stick” graph</a> showing a rise in global temperatures since the dawn of the industrial age – work that his made him a target of climate change deniers.</p><p> Fri, 05 Oct 2012 17:07:10 +0000 Wells Dunbar 5261 at http://kut.org SXSW Eco Powers Through a Second Year Report Finds Texas 'Energy Inefficient' http://kut.org/post/report-finds-texas-energy-inefficient <p>The <a href="http://aceee.org" target="_blank">ACEEE</a> (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) has released its&nbsp;<a href="http://aceee.org/sector/state-policy/scorecard" target="_blank">2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard</a>. According <a href="http://aceee.org/energy-efficiency-sector/state-policy/aceee-state-scorecard-ranking" target="_blank">to their findings</a>, Texas didn't do so well.</p><p>The report ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia according to their policies and programs regarding the use of energy in buildings, transportation, and industry. This year, <a href="http://aceee.org/sector/state-policy/texas" target="_blank">Texas is ranked #33</a>.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 19:52:30 +0000 Tyler Pratt 5237 at http://kut.org Report Finds Texas 'Energy Inefficient' Austin Gets Green with SXSW Eco http://kut.org/post/austin-gets-green-sxsw-eco <p>The Second&nbsp;Annual&nbsp;<a href="http://sxsweco.com" target="_blank">SXSW Eco Conference and Festival</a> kicks off today and is aptly named Evolving the Environmental Conversation.</p><p>The three day conference will bring in experts from all over the globe who are working to find sustainable environmental solutions. Attendees will get top-level presentations and discussions with professionals&nbsp;in the public, private and academic sectors. SXSW Eco hopes that the participants will gain access to information that will allow them to both collaborate and advance solutions for the challenges facing the environment, economy and society.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 03 Oct 2012 17:15:01 +0000 Tyler Pratt 5232 at http://kut.org Austin Gets Green with SXSW Eco Weekend Dallas Earthquakes Occur in Fracking Hot Spot http://kut.org/post/weekend-dallas-earthquakes-occur-fracking-hot-spot <p></p><p>A series of small earthquakes in the Dallas region over the weekend are reviving discussion of the link between quakes and the oil and gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”</p><p>Fracking is the practice of pumping hydraulic fracturing fluid into wells to break up and extract oil shale and natural gas deposits. Just how fracking is linked to earthquakes is a hot topic around the country, Texas especially.</p><p><em><a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/09/north-texas-gets-a-late-night-saturday-rumble-as-3-4-magnitude-earthquake-is-recorded-near-irving.html/">The Dallas Morning News </a></em><a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/09/north-texas-gets-a-late-night-saturday-rumble-as-3-4-magnitude-earthquake-is-recorded-near-irving.html/">reports</a> two quakes rattled the Dallas region on Saturday, followed <a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/10/you-may-not-have-felt-it-but-yes-there-was-a-2-1-magnitude-quake-last-night-not-far-from-university-of-dallas.html/">by another quake</a> on Sunday. Both quakes were in the <a href="https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/tag/barnett-shale/">Barnett Shale</a>, which is rich in natural gas.</p><p><a href="https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/tag/earthquake/">StateImpact Texas writes</a> that it’s not the actual act of fracking itself that leads to earthquakes, but rather the disposal of the fracking fluid remaining after the process, which is usually shot into disposal wells deep underground.</p><p> Mon, 01 Oct 2012 16:15:38 +0000 Wells Dunbar 5209 at http://kut.org Weekend Dallas Earthquakes Occur in Fracking Hot Spot A Big Mess: Cleaning Up After This Morning's Fuel Spill http://kut.org/post/big-mess-cleaning-after-mornings-fuel-spill <p>The frontage road of Interstate&nbsp;35 between FM 1327 and Slaughter Lane is expected to be closed for much of the day after a <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/fuel-spill-shuts-down-nb-i-35-fm-1327-slaughter" target="_blank">fuel spill this morning</a>.</p><p>For much of the morning, all northbound lanes of the highway were also closed in the area — causing major traffic delays.</p><p>The Austin Fire Department says an estimated 700 gallons of fuel spilled on the roadway when an 18-wheeler overturned, creating a need for careful cleanup that shut the highway through morning rush hour.</p><p>But AFD Battalion Chief Palmer Buck says, in years past, the closures would have been even longer because the department would have had to wait for the trucking company to send a cleanup team.</p><p>“The Austin Fire Department is one of the few teams that has the equipment and the expertise to do this," Buck says. "A decade ago, we would have had to wait six to eight hours before the operation even started, so we would be talking about sometime this evening before we got the roads open." Thu, 27 Sep 2012 22:07:39 +0000 Laura Rice 5185 at http://kut.org A Big Mess: Cleaning Up After This Morning's Fuel Spill Festival Was Green Long Before it Was Trendy http://kut.org/post/festival-was-green-long-it-was-trendy <p><em>Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated 2012 is&nbsp;SXSW&nbsp;Eco's first year.&nbsp;KUT&nbsp;News regrets the error.&nbsp;</em></p><p><a href="http://sxsweco.com/">SXSW Eco</a>&nbsp;will kick-off next week. But it's a niche that the <a href="http://www.theroundup.org/">Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair </a>in Fredericksburg first tapped into 12 years ago.</p><p>The 2012 festival is this weekend, from Sept. 29 to 30.</p><p>The roundup will concentrate not so much on policy but on practice —what Texans can do everyday to make the world a little greener. Panels include "How to Grow Your Own Groceries," "Growing Herbs and Making Your Own Vinegar," &nbsp;"Hot Attics: Turning a Problem into a Resource," and even "Green Smoothies."</p><p>There are also hands-on workshops about collecting rainwater and solar energy.</p><p> Thu, 27 Sep 2012 17:51:30 +0000 Kelly Connelly 5186 at http://kut.org Festival Was Green Long Before it Was Trendy Ozone Watch Sees Central Texas Nearing Non-Compliance http://kut.org/post/ozone-watch-sees-central-texas-nearing-non-compliance <p>Central Texas is under an <a href="http://cleanairforceofcentraltexas.cmail2.com/t/ViewEmail/y/675E830B37B21E4C/D1573AB304ABE6B82C69F821C9DCC086">Ozone Watch</a> today and tomorrow.</p><p>Watches are usually issued during the summer months when the temperatures are higher and humidity is lower.&nbsp; And so far this year the area is already dangerously close to exceeding <a href="http://www.capcog.org/divisions/regional-services/ozone-standards">EPA standards</a>. Austin sits at a 74 parts-per-billion average for ozone. If that average jumps to 75 PPB, the area will be in non-compliance.&nbsp;</p><p>“If we get one day at one site in particular, like our Northwest Austin site which has a 79 parts-per-billion eight-hour average …&nbsp;one more at that level will throw us into non-compliance," says Bryan Lambeth, senior meteorologist at <a href="http://www.tceq.texas.gov/">Texas Commission on Environmental Quality</a>.</p><p>Deana <span>Altenhoff</span>, Executive Director of the<a href="http://www.cleanairforce.org/index.html">&nbsp;CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas</a>, agrees. "Ozone season ends October <span>31st</span>," <span>Altenhoff says</span>. "This is our most critical time of the year because historically this is when we see our highest levels of ozone."&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 22:16:09 +0000 Tyler Pratt 5120 at http://kut.org Ozone Watch Sees Central Texas Nearing Non-Compliance Travis County Burn Ban Lifted http://kut.org/post/travis-county-burn-ban-lifted-0 <p>With Travis County receiving <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/conditions/rainfall.html">several inches of rain</a> in the last 24 hours, a burn ban for the county is no longer in effect.&nbsp;</p><p>Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee lifted the burn ban for the region today. It was initially scheduled to last until Oct. 3. The lift will be in effect until &nbsp;at least Sept. 18, when the county commissioners court will consider the ban once more.</p><p>Officials still remind citizens to abide by state regulations when burning any materials outdoors. You can find more information on <a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/fire_marshal/">the fire marshall’s website</a>.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 14 Sep 2012 21:21:52 +0000 Wells Dunbar 5084 at http://kut.org Travis County Burn Ban Lifted Risky Fire Conditions Still in Place This Weekend http://kut.org/post/risky-fire-conditions-still-place-weekend <p>Much anticipated relief from triple-digit temperatures is coming Saturday – but at a cost.</p><p>As KUT News <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/near-critical-weather-conditions-wildfires-weekend" target="_blank">reported yesterday</a>, a dry cold front blowing in tomorrow is creating an elevated wildfire&nbsp;risk.</p><p>While Saturday’s high temperature is expected to be a comparatively cool 92 degrees, wind is coming from the north at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.&nbsp; Travis County Fire Marshall Hershel Lee says those conditions remind him of last year’s Memorial Day weekend, when wildfires broke out all over Central Texas.</p><p> Fri, 07 Sep 2012 20:51:16 +0000 Joy Diaz 5045 at http://kut.org Risky Fire Conditions Still in Place This Weekend