StateImpact

Environmental Justice And The EPA’s New Man In Texas

Posted on · It's on-going clash that pits Texas against a powerful federal agency: the EPA. Texas has had a rocky relationship with the environmental regulator, in some cases suing the EPA to stop it from enforcing federal regulations in Texas. Now, there's a new man heading the EPA's regional office. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling has been looking into what this change-at-the-top might mean to Texas.

StateImpact

Teed Up: Slicing Texas Tax Breaks

Posted on · Texas is struggling to find enough money to pay for education and other basic services. That's why some lawmakers are looking at tax breaks that are costing the state millions of dollars. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling begins his story at a golf course.

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.