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Texas Rail Road Commission’s Role, and Anne Lamott: Thursday’s Show (April 4, 2017)

Earth Day is Saturday (April 22, 2017), and Ryan Sitton of Friendswood, one of the state’s three Rail Road Commissioners, wants you to know he’s “a huge environmentalist.” Upon his election to the RRC in 2014, the conservative Republican became the first engineer to serve on the commission in 50 years. The RRC regulates the […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media

Earth Day is Saturday (April 22, 2017), and Ryan Sitton of Friendswood, one of the state’s three Rail Road Commissioners, wants you to know he’s “a huge environmentalist.” Upon his election to the RRC in 2014, the conservative Republican became the first engineer to serve on the commission in 50 years.

The RRC regulates the oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipelines, and surface coal mining — among other duties. The agency conducts thousands of inspections of oil wells every year, and — despite its name — it no longer regulates railroads.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Commissioner Sitton about what he sees as the RRC’s role, how he defines environmentalism and what his hopes are for the future of the agency. And we welcome your questions, too.

Also this hour…

Historic Senior Housing in Houston

A senior home in Houston Heights is receiving a $10 million grant from the City of Houston to make some much-needed upgrades. The history of this eight-story mid-rise goes back to the early 1970s when four churches in the Heights came together to help raise money to build affordable senior housing. That group is now the Housing Corporation of Greater Houston, a private nonprofit that works on housing issues around the city. We talk with the group’s president about how the group came to be and the challenges of overseeing affordable housing in highly desired areas as Houston prices get higher and higher.

Writer Anne Lamott on Rediscovering Mercy

Forgiveness – it can be hard to come by in our modern world of social media instant feedback. Writer Anne Lamott explores that subject in her new book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering MercyShe’ll be in Houston for an event April 25 – the spring luncheon for the organization Houston re:Vision, which helps at-risk youth and reintegrates young people involved in gangs back into society. Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty talks with Lamott, who explains what she means by mercy and why we need more of it in our lives — especially for ourselves.

Quality Hill

There’s an often-forgotten neighborhood from Houston’s past called Quality Hill. It’s been called Houston’s first elite residential neighborhood. And while most of it is gone, there are still some unlikely remnants. Maybe on your way into Minute Maid Park you’ve noticed a strange juxtaposition – a blue, two-story house from another era just across the street. That’s the Cohn House, one of the few remaining structures from Quality Hill. We take a tour of what used to be Quality Hill, visit the other remnants of it scattered around downtown and learn what happened to it.

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

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