Energy & Environment

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

Daniel Reese for KUT News

To say President-elect Donald Trump's incoming administration has public health and environmental advocates worried may be an understatement.  Like a lot of Republicans, Trump wants to roll back environmental protections and some people are already protesting his positions in the streets.

But, beyond protest, how will these groups push their agendas under the next administration? 

flickr/smreilly

Tomorrow, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in Vienna to try to figure out a way to cut oil production.  For decades OPEC’s set oil prices by controlling supply. So the meeting will be closely watched because it could lead to higher oil prices.

But, the idea to manipulate oil prices by setting limits on oil, didn’t start with OPEC. It started right here in Texas.

UT Jackson School of Geosciences

When a team of researchers left Austin on a scientific expedition to drill deep into an ancient mountain range, fans of weird fiction perked up their ears. 

Eddie Seal / Texas Tribune

During the presidential campaign Donald Trump made a lot of promises about boosting America’s oil, gas and coal industries. Now that he is set to become president, Americans will find those promises easier to make than to keep.

flickr/senor_codo

After years of legal battles, the Environmental Protection Agency has started the process of removing Texas from a list of states that need to comply with requirements of one of its air pollution rules.

Photo by Keystone Pipeline System

After last week’s presidential election, the company that owns the Keystone XL pipeline said it was interested in finishing out the project. The pipeline was originally planned to carry oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, but the part linking up the pipe on the U.S. border with Canada was stopped by President Obama.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Tonight, the public is invited to give its input at a hearing held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) over a permit to allow Dripping Springs to dump almost a million gallons of treated wastewater into Onion Creek, about a day upstream of Austin. That idea has many people in Austin very worried. 

Eddie Seal/Texas Tribune

As soon as five years from now, global demand for oil might stop growing. That prediction may not seem surprising, if it came from an environmental group, but when oil giant Shell said as much in a recent conference call, it caused a stir.  Oil companies don’t usually talk publicly about people losing interest in their product.

Lizzie Chen for KUT

Texas generates more wind power than any other state in the country. It’s a fact that a lot of people in the state like to crow about, but a new federal review of which states use the most wind as a percentage of their total electricity generation has called that into question. Texas didn’t make the top 10.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

At the corner of 16th and Salinas streets, Leticia Hurtado and Yolanda Lopez are on the sidewalk formulating their plan of attack. The pecan tree they’re standing under has good nuts, but many of them are too far up in the branches to reach.

Alaska's Bureau of Land Management regularly posts photos and videos of flying squirrels, scampering porcupines, majestic moose or dramatic landscapes.

But the video that went up last week was different. It was ominous. It was mysterious. It was ... the Chena River Ice Monster, as captured by a baffled BLM employee.

The video shows a strange, undulating icy shape appearing to move through the water. The video has a dramatic soundtrack and an overlay of a camcorder, but BLM insisted the footage itself was unedited.

flickr/fireboatKS

The race to fill an obscure but powerful statewide office in Texas has been overshadowed by national politics this year. That’s a shame not only because the office is important, but because the race for that office has been packed with strange twists and turns.

A lot of those twists and turns come down to perceptions (and misperceptions) about the names involved in the race for Texas Railroad Commissioner.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Doctor Hans Landel blows minds for a living.

He travels the state giving workshops on invasive plants. But he starts each one with a warning. 

Austin Requires Smart Thermostats In All New Homes

Oct 17, 2016
Matt Largey/KUT

City leaders are taking new measures to help residents cut down on their energy usage during the hottest months of the year.


TAMIR KALIFA VIA TEXAS TRIBUNE

Texas leads the country in wind power generation. But solar power is starting to take off. As the industry grows, KUT’s Mose Buchele takes a look at what affect it might have on your electric bill.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Texas and 25 other states will be at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today to lay out their case against the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency’s initiative to slow global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The court's decision could have longstanding implications on the future of the plan. 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

An obsession can be dangerous. It can distract you from things that are important in life. But an obsession can also motivate you, to explore, discover and create.

For the last several days a group of men who share a singular obsession with turtles have been swimming in creeks and springs of Central Texas. 


Mose Buchele/KUT

Over the last several years, scientists, including those at the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency, have linked an increase in earthquakes in Texas to oil and gas activity. But, industry and Texas state regulators remain reluctant to publicly acknowledge it.  Now, a study that looks at the quakes from space might put more pressure on them to do so.


Matt Largey / KUT

Dara Satterfield has a unique way of looking at Monarch butterflies. She thinks of them as “tiny camels.”


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

  

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