Water, energy, conservation, sustainability, WTP4, pollution, oil and gas, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), recycling, and other environmental issues related to Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson
When a lot of people suddenly notice the same thing at the same time, it might be worth looking into. This year in Central Texas that's what's happening with fireflies. There is an unusually large number of them lighting up the early evening, and people are wondering why.
The Lower Colorado River Authority manages the water used in much of Central Texas and parts downstream. For most of the last several years it’s been worried about drought – but not anymore. Earlier this week, the LCRA opened floodgates below Lake Travis for the first time since 2007 to allow excess water out. Now, the abundance of water is bringing its own set of challenges to the agency.
Enchanted Rock State Park is a popular and strikingly unique location in Central Texas. So, many park-goers were angered when they heard that a boulder at the park had been tagged with graffiti last month. Police say they’ve arrested the couple responsible, but some think the problem of vandalism at parks is growing.
Bastrop County leaders reviewed the final report on last fall’s Hidden Pines fire today, which found that the 9-1-1 call reporting the fire near Buescher State Park led to a delay in response by the Smithville Fire Department.
When the oil and gas fields of Texas are booming, it’s busy times for the state agency that regulates the industry. And when there’s a downturn, it can be even busier. One reason: abandoned oil and gas wells.
That was a big takeaway from a meeting this week of the Texas House Energy Resources Committee. The topic came up when Chairman Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) said people around his hometown are seeing oil and gas companies get into financial trouble and walk away from their wells.
Aubrey McClendon was a pioneer in the world of fracking who ushered in an American energy boom. So it was big news when the former head of Chesapeake Energy was indicted on anti-trust charges last week.
When McClendon died in a fiery car wreck a day later, it sent shockwaves through the business world. Investigators are looking into the crash. But what of the charges that preceded it?
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is not getting a lot of love in Texas these days. David Porter, top oil and gas regulator at the Railroad Commission of Texas, has accused OPEC of declaring an "oil war" against the state. Porter is leaving the Commission this year, and some of those running to replace him have used similar rhetoric.
From Marfa Public Radio: It’s a warm afternoon on top of Mount Locke in Far West Texas, but inside and under the dome of the oldest telescope here, astronomer Stephen Odewahn shivers, “It is cold. Yeah, we’re in the dome of the 82-inch telescope, the first observatory out here. And it’s cold, because usually all of the domes, we try to condition them through the day, to have the temperature that it’s going to be at night, when you open up.”
From The Austin Monitor: The battle over whether to loosen or make permanent some current water restrictions played out, once again, Wednesday at the City Council Public Utilities Committee, as Council Member Don Zimmerman questioned the intent of a recent public survey by Austin Water.
According to the survey data (collected at five public meetings held throughout January), roughly 57 percent of the public polled disagreed with a move to permanent once-a-week watering restrictions.
Deep in South Texas oil country, there’s a place known as the “Hotel Capital of the Eagle Ford Shale.” More than 20 hotels were built in the small town of Cotulla during the oil boom, but that boom came to a standstill in 2015.
KUT reported on the town a year ago and recently returned to see how Cotulla and other oil towns are faring.
Cattle rustlers have been both reviled and mythologized in Texas since there was cattle on the range. Now, the downturn in oil prices may be giving rise to a new kind of criminal in South Texas: oil rustlers.
If there’s one bit of conventional wisdom when to comes to oil prices it’s this: What goes down, must go up. The boom-bust cycle of the oil markets means that the cheap gas you’re enjoying now will cost you more sometime in the future. But what if low oil prices are actually the new normal? Some people are saying just that.
It’s been a few weeks since Congress lifted a decades-long ban on crude oil exports, but something that often gets lost in talking about the end of the ban is that not all oil is created equally.
Oil from one place might have has more sulfur or more impurities than oil from another place; you might hear it called “heavy” or “light” crude. The differences have a big effect on what that oil can be used for, but explaining those differences can be, well, boring. But The Wall Street Journal's Russell Gold says he has a much more interesting corollary that might help illustrate those differences: alcohol.
In another lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Texas is taking aim at tightened standards on ground-level ozone — President Obama’s effort to cut down on smog that chokes the nation’s skies.
Tucked into the semi-wilderness a few miles north of this Central Texas town, within spitting distance of a federal prison, Nahja, a 25-year old chimpanzee at the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, wraps a handful of woolly nesting material around her head into something that resembles a shawl.
New technology developed here in Austin promises to give advanced warning for floods, but what exactly would that mean for first responders struggling to rescue people? A look at recent flooding in Central Texas shows how a project to provide real-time flood prediction software on a national scale could help.