StateImpact

Polluters And Penalties: Will Higher Fines Make A Difference In Texas?

Posted on · When it comes to regulating polluters, Texas has a commission so huge, only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is bigger. It's called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or the TCEQ. Over the years, though, there’ve been complaints that the commission does more to protect big business than the air and water of Texas. Now, there are changes underway that might give the agency more bite.

StateImpact

Protecting Big Utilties When Hikers And Bikers Invade

Posted on · New legislation — introduced in Austin — is supposed to help build a lot more hike and bike trails. It would do it by using those long ribbons of green space called "rights of way", now used for big, utility transmission lines. But the proposal gives a very big break to the utility companies that own the land, granting them virtual blanket immunity from any law suit should someone get hurt — even if it was the utility company's fault. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling has been looking into this.

StateImpact

State Regulator Smitherman: ‘Much Interest’ In Gun Training

Posted on · As part of the debate over guns and violence, there's a new twist developing in Texas. The head of one state agency is proposing that its employees should be provided training, so they can legally carry a concealed handgun — on the job. The agency has inspectors that enforce the rules on the state's surging oil and gas drilling industry. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling learned why some believe those inspectors need protection.

StateImpact

If Water Plan Is Funded Where Will Money Go?

Posted on · The Texas State Water Plan has been described as a $53 billion dollar wish list. It's full of local water projects to help secure enough water for Texas for 50 years. But those projects remain largely un-prioritized and unfunded. Now state lawmakers say they are serious about funding the plan. And exactly what projects will get funded is slowly coming into focus, as Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas.

StateImpact

Scientists Close To Testing Tracers For Drilling Fluid

Posted on · It's one of the most hotly debated issues dogging the oil and gas drilling industry: Is the now-widespread use of a drilling method called "fracking" a threat to groundwater? StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found some answers by visiting a laboratory in Houston. But he begins his story in Austin, where state officials had gotten a scare.

StateImpact

Oil And Gas Related Earthquakes?

Posted on · The science linking oil and gas drilling activity and earthquakes has been established for decades. And with the current boom in domestic drilling, more earthquakes are happening and states are taking action to fight them. But not in Texas, where the most drilling is taking place. For StateImpact Texas, Mose Buchele reports.

StateImpact

As Oil And Gas Surges, A Town On The Texas Coast Hopes For Transformation

Posted on · Figures released yesterday show state tax revenues are surging. That's raising expectations that funds will be restored to things like education that suffered painful cuts. That would be good news even in Texas towns where the energy industry has been booming. Because as StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found — even a good local economy hasn't spared some communities from feeling the pinch.

StateImpact

All the Rage: Texas Roads Where Bicyclists Are Banned

Posted on · It's a safe bet that in this holiday season, stores have sold a lot of shiny new bicycles. But in Texas, you better watch out where you ride them. With lawmakers set to begin their new session next month, StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling looks at laws that try to dictate where bikers ... belong.

StateImpact

Texas Inspectors Chasing Oil And Gas Violators

Posted on · When the Texas Legislature starts its new session next month, lawmakers will be taking a close look at the state's booming oil and gas industry. Some believe the industry has grown far faster than the state's ability to regulate it. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found that while past efforts to improve oversight have failed, this time may be different.

StateImpact

Texas Wind Power Faces Future Of Fewer Tax Breaks

Posted on · There's a good chance that some of the electricity you’re using in your home is generated by a windmill. The world's biggest "wind turbine project" is in west Texas. And the state is the national leader for wind power. But it's all come at a cost to taxpayers. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling looks at how that cost is now being challenged.

StateImpact

Garbage Gas: Is Methane Going To Waste In Texas?

Posted on · There's a debate over the billions of dollars in tax breaks that promote the use of alternative, "renewable" energy. In Texas, wind energy is the big one. But not the only renewable source of power StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found in one picturesque part of the state.