Texas is making billions from oil and gas drilling, but counties say rural roads are being destroyed

Texas is making billions from oil and gas drilling, but counties say rural roads are being destroyed

  • April 20, 2018
  • News

Texas leads the nation in both oil and natural gas production. In the 2017 budget year, the oil production tax brought the state more than $2 billion in revenue, while the natural gas production tax brought in a little less than $1 billion. But none of that tax money goes to fixing roads in the areas where the production is occurring. Instead it’s divided among several state funds: the Rainy Day Fund, the State Highway Fund and the Foundation School…

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Hill Country groups wanting more local land-use control

Hill Country groups wanting more local land-use control

As the second fastest-growing county in the country according to U.S. Census Bureau data, Comal County, like others in the Hill Country, is coming face to face with industries that want to set up shop on land that is becoming more and more precious. Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and a registered state lobbyist, cites incompatible land use as the reason why the GEAA and other groups in the region hope to resurrect a bill…

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April HCA Director’s Notes

April HCA Director’s Notes

  • April 16, 2018
  • News

April is truly one of the most photogenic time of year for the Hill Country. As the seasons change, it’s wonderful to see new life emerging as nature seems to come alive again in the greening grasses and the pops of color here and there from wildflowers. Photos tell the story of the Hill Country much better than words ever can, which is why HCA began our annual Hill Country Photo Contest 12 years ago to encourage conservation and generate…

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State-Owned Bexar County Ranch at the Center of Latest Warbler Fight

State-Owned Bexar County Ranch at the Center of Latest Warbler Fight

  • April 16, 2018
  • News

Rancho Sierra, a 2,317-acre property northwest of San Antonio, has everything – rugged hills, a ranch house, springs and seeps that form the headwaters of two creeks, and Mount Smith, the tallest point in Bexar County. It also has, according to surveys, an abundance of golden-cheeked warblers, the migratory songbirds that have made headlines for nearly 30 years as a symbol of the tug-of-war between property rights and conservation in the Texas Hill Country. For the State of Texas, which…

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Rare Central Texas songbird to fly off endangered species list

Rare Central Texas songbird to fly off endangered species list

  • April 16, 2018
  • News

The population of the black-capped vireo, a rare Texas songbird, has recovered to such an extent that it will be moved off the endangered species list, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are expected to announce today. The lifting of habitat protections for the black-capped vireo, long a buffer against development in Central Texas, is unlikely to open long-restricted areas to construction or road building, given the number of other species that remain protected. Property rights groups had urged the move while…

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Blanco River Flood Mitigation Project San Marcos Community Meeting To Be Held

Blanco River Flood Mitigation Project San Marcos Community Meeting To Be Held

  • April 14, 2018
  • News

City Engineers will host a public meeting on Wednesday, April 18 in Room 2 of the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins, at 6 p.m. to gather comments on proposed infrastructure projects that are being considered for flood mitigation on the Blanco River. “The goal of the meeting is to listen to citizens’ observations and concerns prior to determining solutions,” said Laurie Moyer, Director of Engineering. “After alternatives are analyzed, a second public meeting will be held to show which…

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Securing Texas’ water future, one lawn at a time

Securing Texas’ water future, one lawn at a time

  • April 12, 2018
  • News

Texas’ frequent and inescapable droughts haven’t seemed to slow its growth. As people flock to our state, it follows that more of our limited water will be used on lawns. Studies have found that homeowners tend to overwater their lawns by two to three times the needed amount, which means much of this water will be wasted. With Texas’ rising growth and increasing uncertainty in our rainfall patterns, it’s clear that we need to be thinking proactively about our water…

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What happens to Texas when water is more valuable than oil?

What happens to Texas when water is more valuable than oil?

Only a state as big as Texas could have to deal with the simultaneous crises of both rampant floods and devastating drought. The destruction of Hurricane Harvey and the massive infrastructure needs that it exposed along the Gulf Coast soaked up most of our attention recently, but vast swaths of the Texas Panhandle suffer from extreme drought, and the northern tip qualifies for the worst possible category: exceptional drought. The problems our state is having with water — too much…

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Can ‘Localism’ Restore Sanity to U.S. Politics?

Can ‘Localism’ Restore Sanity to U.S. Politics?

  • April 11, 2018
  • News

Our mayor is liberal. He drives around town with an Obama ’08 bumper sticker on his car. I am a conservative, pro-life Christian; in 2016, I voted for Evan McMullin for president. But our partisan political differences mean nothing when it comes to caring for this town and making it better. Here at the local level, our interests intertwine: They are practical, achievable, even apolitical. This is localism, a bottom-up, practically oriented way of looking at today’s biggest policy dilemmas.…

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Austin named best place to live in America for second year in a row

Austin named best place to live in America for second year in a row

  • April 10, 2018
  • News

It’s another good day to live in Austin, Texas. Last year, Austin knocked Denver from the No. 1 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” And this year, it didn’t budge. As in years past, the publication ranked the 125 largest cities in the country based on a variety of factors and data. Five indexes were used to compile the list: job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration. Cities were graded on each of these indexes…

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