A creek flowing to the Colorado River turned black. Now the state has sued the alleged polluter.

A creek flowing to the Colorado River turned black. Now the state has sued the alleged polluter.

ALTAIR — For more than two months, the waters of Skull Creek have flowed black, its surface covered in an iridescent sheen. Yellowed fish skeletons line the pebbled banks of the Colorado River tributary, and a dizzying chemical odor hangs in the air. The odor is so strong that Julie Schmidt says she can smell it inside her house. She and her husband bought 10 acres along the creek in December with visions of an idyllic country upbringing for their…

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Oil or property rights: House panel clashes over which to favor as it weighs eminent domain reforms

Oil or property rights: House panel clashes over which to favor as it weighs eminent domain reforms

Lawmakers, lobbyists and landowners sparred at a Capitol committee hearing on Thursday over a batch of bills designed to protect property owners whose land may be seized by private companies to build oil and gas pipelines. A bipartisan — though largely Republican — group of House and Senate legislators whose districts have been targeted for pipeline construction amid a historic oil and gas boom have proposed several measures this year aimed at helping landowners and local officials negotiate with deep-pocketed…

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Two Views: In pipeline politics, love of the land is a shared value

Two Views: In pipeline politics, love of the land is a shared value

We can be fairly certain that gas pipeline giant Kinder Morgan didn’t have this consequence in mind when it decided to route a massive, nearly four-foot diameter gas pipeline through the Texas Hill Country and over the fragile Edwards Aquifer. That consequence is a renewed understanding among political partisans of all kinds that love of the land is a value shared by all. Well, maybe not the pipeline owners. The Permian Highway Pipeline cuts through some of what traditional political labeling calls…

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Dr. Robert Mace to receive Texas Rainmaker Award

Dr. Robert Mace to receive Texas Rainmaker Award

Texas Water Foundation is honored to announce the 6th recipient of the Texas Rainmaker Award – Dr. Robert Mace. The Award is given to leaders who have made exceptional contributions and long-lasting impact to promote sustainable water policies in Texas. On May 7, 2019, Dr. Mace’s achievements will be celebrated at a reception and dinner at the Bob Bullock Museum. The event begins with a reception at 6:30pm followed by dinner and an award ceremony at 7:30pm. Previous recipients of…

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Railroad Commission, Kinder-Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Railroad Commission, Kinder-Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Hays County, the city of Kyle and a coalition of Hill Country landowners have filed a lawsuit to fight the route of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Permian Highway Pipeline and challenge how the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry allows companies to use eminent domain laws. During a Monday morning news conference at Kyle City Hall, the coalition released copies of a 19-page lawsuit against the Texas Railroad Commission, five agency executives, pipeline operator Kinder Morgan and a…

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Time for reform of eminent domain law

Time for reform of eminent domain law

Corporate entities that take property with eminent domain authority often claim the system is working. It does. For them. Corporations with this powerful, often abused, tool are not required to follow the same rules of transparency that a government must observe. They are not required to have public meetings. Eminent domain takings in general do not mandate a good faith offer. Texas Farm Bureau has documented many cases where property owners believe they’ve been slighted in the process. Such is…

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Farmers’ group pushing for transparency in land acquisitions

Farmers’ group pushing for transparency in land acquisitions

With the state’s ever-increasing infrastructure needs, Texas farmers and ranchers are bracing for the likelihood of pipelines, transmission lines andrailways cutting through their fields and pastures. But some say it’s unfair to allow private companies or other entities wielding the power of eminent domain to pressure landowners to accept lowball offers that don’t take into account the overall loss of value to their property. “This may be the property rights issue of our time,” Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gary Joiner…

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Inks Lake Park intern battles light pollution

Inks Lake Park intern battles light pollution

  • April 23, 2019
  • News

There was once a time in which every star in the sky could be seen at night. Our ancestors experienced an absolute absence of light once the sun set, and the twinkling black sky above was untouched; one could watch the stars twinkle from anywhere in the world. Today, much of the night sky is tainted by light pollution, and billions of people rarely have the chance to behold a sight as breathtaking as the Milky Way on a dark,…

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Railroad Commission, Kinder Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Railroad Commission, Kinder Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Hays County, the City of Kyle and a coalition of Texas Hill Country landowners have filed a lawsuit to fight the route of Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline and how the state agency in charge of regulating the oil and natural gas industry applies eminent domain laws. During a Monday morning press conference at Kyle City Hall, Mayor Travis Mitchell said the Austin suburb joined a coalition of landowners suing the Railroad Commission of Texas, five members of the agency’s…

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Hill Country pipeline opponents are taking Kinder Morgan to court

Hill Country pipeline opponents are taking Kinder Morgan to court

  • April 20, 2019
  • News

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — For months, a handful of towns and counties in the Hill Country have passed formal opposition to the Permian Highway Pipeline — a pipeline set to carry natural gas from West Texas, through the Hill Country, to a hub near Katy. On Tuesday, Hays County Commissioners and the Kyle City Council stepped up their efforts to combat the project, and unanimously opted to take Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission to court over the project and the oversight — or lack…

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