Are pipeline land takings in the public interest if oil, gas headed overseas?

Are pipeline land takings in the public interest if oil, gas headed overseas?

Pipeline companies in Texas and other states have long had the power to take land under the eminent domain principle that projects to transport energy to heat homes, generate electricity and produce fuels are in the public interest. But what if the public is in Europe, South America or Asia? As natural gas and crude oil produced in Texas are increasingly exported, environmentalists, property rights advocates and legal specialists are promoting a novel legal argument to block pipelines, asserting that…

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New push for eminent domain reform expected at Texas legislature

New push for eminent domain reform expected at Texas legislature

If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe: Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends. In recent years, as companies and governments build more roads, power lines and pipelines…

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Thanks to ambitious goals, Austin wins Bloomberg climate change challenge

Thanks to ambitious goals, Austin wins Bloomberg climate change challenge

  • January 14, 2019
  • News

Citing Austin’s aggressive environmental goals, which include making municipal operations carbon neutral by 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies on Friday announced that the Texas capital has won a national climate change challenge. The honor means Austin will join a two-year accelerator program that will give the city access to as much as $2.5 million in technical assistance and support. Austin is one of 25 cities and, along with San Antonio, one of two in Texas to win the competitive Bloomberg American Cities…

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How Texas Parks and Historic Sites are dealing with the government shutdown

How Texas Parks and Historic Sites are dealing with the government shutdown

  • January 14, 2019
  • News

As the federal shutdown—which entered Day 20 on Thursday—continues, self-appointed cleanup crews have been organized across the state as well as the nation to help care for parks that have remained open, albeit with little in the way of services. Some, like Viverette and the collection of Terlingua residents and businesses on the edge of Big Bend National Park, are volunteers, while in San Antonio, employees with the Bexar County Heritage & Parks Department are working to help maintain bathrooms…

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Entities turn to new technology to meet water, aquifer demands

Entities turn to new technology to meet water, aquifer demands

As urbanization and climate change are impacting aquifers across the country, officials and municipalities are turning to new technologies to meet water demands. For many entities, investing in Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) systems might be the way to go. ASR, which was first tested and experimented in the 1990s, calls for the pumping of groundwater during periods of heavy supply and storing it in another aquifer for use in times of drought or major drawdown. Kerrville and San Antonio were…

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Bill would prevent Texans from unknowingly buying homes in areas designed to flood

Bill would prevent Texans from unknowingly buying homes in areas designed to flood

  • January 14, 2019
  • News

After Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston area with rain, scores of homeowners learned too late that their properties were designed to flood. Senate Bill 339 would require such disclosures. It would also force notice of whether a home has previously flooded. State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, on Friday filed legislation that would require sellers of residential properties to notify buyers if a property is located in a flood-prone area — and whether it has previously flooded. Senate Bill 339 would change a…

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Female ranchers are reclaiming the American West

Female ranchers are reclaiming the American West

As men leave animal agriculture for less gritty work, more ranches are being led by women — with new ideas about technology, ecology and the land. Hundreds of years before John Wayne and Gary Cooper gave us a Hollywood version of the American West, with men as the brute, weather-beaten stewards of the land, female ranchers roamed the frontier. They were the indigenous, Navajo, Cheyenne and other tribes, and Spanish-Mexican rancheras, who tended and tamed vast fields, traversed rugged landscapes with…

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Texas land grab: How the federal government abused its power to seize property for a border fence

Texas land grab: How the federal government abused its power to seize property for a border fence

A decade ago, many border Texans got a raw deal when the federal government seized land for a barrier — while others pushed up the price. Will the government’s rushed, haphazard process be repeated as it pushes for a border wall? BROWNSVILLE — The land agents started working the border between Texas and Mexico in the spring of 2007. Sometimes they were representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other times they were officers from the U.S. Border Patrol,…

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Texas Hill Country landowners fight Kinder Morgan pipeline

Texas Hill Country landowners fight Kinder Morgan pipeline

  • January 7, 2019
  • News

FREDERICKSBURG — Hank Sauer reminisces about the 18 years he’s owned these 45 acres a few miles south of Fredericksburg — hunting deer with his now-17-year-old grandson, spending holidays there with the family, and dreaming of spending the rest of his days with his wife on the land. Until last year, the retired health care administrator, 84, lived on the property with his wife. But she suffered health problems, and the couple moved into an assisted-living facility in San Antonio.…

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Hays County Master Gardener Association announces 2019 training course

Hays County Master Gardener Association announces 2019 training course

The Hays County Master Gardener Association will hold a Master Gardener Training Course on 12 Fridays in spring of 2019. The Master Gardener Training Program is an educational/volunteer program conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service designed to increase the availability of horticultural information and extend horticultural projects throughout the community. The course will include presentations by experts in the field of horticulture, covering topics such as botany, plant pathology, vegetable and fruit growing, landscaping with native and adaptive plants. In…

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