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Abandoned Oil Wells and Houston’s Bike Plan: Tuesday’s Show (July 5, 2016)

Brent crude oil prices are hovering these days around $50 a barrel. While that’s an improvement over the historic lows seen back in January, it’s still a far cry from $100-plus totals we saw through much of 2011-2014. Such sustained low oil prices have had ripple effects across the industry, leading to layoffs, some bankruptcies […]

Brent crude oil prices are hovering these days around $50 a barrel. While that’s an improvement over the historic lows seen back in January, it’s still a far cry from $100-plus totals we saw through much of 2011-2014. Such sustained low oil prices have had ripple effects across the industry, leading to layoffs, some bankruptcies and — in a number of cases — oil companies abandoning drilling sites throughout Texas.

Chris Tomlinson of the Houston Chronicle recently wrote about how taxpayers might end up paying to clean up these sites. On this edition of Houston Matters, he tells Michael Hagerty why many companies are abandoning their wells.

Also this hour:

Houston Bike Plan Update

Last week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Joe Turner from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department  announced plans to close gaps in the White Oak Bayou bike trail. The project is a piece of a larger citywide bike plan awaiting City Council approval. We last discussed the plan in late February, when its first draft was released. Today, we learn more about the finalized plan from John Long, executive director of the non-profit bicycle advocacy group BikeHouston.

Preventing HPV in Greater Houston

In 2007, then-Texas Governor Rick Perry issued an executive order mandating all 11- and 12-year-old girls in the state get a vaccine for HPV (human papillomavirus). Later that year, the state legislature passed a bill vacating the governor’s order. Some wondered whether the governor had been bought by Merck, the manufacturer of the HPV vaccine young girls in Texas would receive. (One of Merck’s lobbyists was Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff). Gov. Perry vehemently denied that allegation. He also reversed his position a few years later when he ran for president.

Lost in the political back-and-forth is the vaccine itself. As it’s not mandatory, it’s often a challenge for pediatricians to convince parents of its need. We learn more from Dr. Michael Frumovitz, associate professor and fellowship director in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. Kamini Muzumdar, pediatrician with Texas Children’s Pediatrics and the president of Houston Pediatric Society, part of the Harris County Medical Society.

The Music of Robert Ellis

Houston-based singer-songwriter Robert Ellis recently stopped by Houston Public Media’s Geary Performance Studio to perform a few songs from his new self-titled album. The session was filmed for an edition of Houston Public Media TV 8’s Skyline Sessions. We hear highlights from that session.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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