Trump signs orders to speed up oil and gas pipeline construction

Trump signs orders to speed up oil and gas pipeline construction

HOUSTON — President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday that he says will speed up construction of pipelines and other projects to enhance the production and transport of oil and natural gas between states and across international borders. The actions are unlikely to have much of an immediate impact, and they will probably attract legal challenges by state governments seeking to preserve control over such projects. But the orders are symbolically important for a president who likes to take…

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Commentary: Texas will have taller billboards unless Legislature acts

Commentary: Texas will have taller billboards unless Legislature acts

The state of Texas has drawn a line in the sky that limits the height of billboards along our highways. Unfortunately, many billboard owners have ignored it. A significant number of the billboards across our state, which are regulated by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), exceed the decades-old height limit of 42.5 feet. These taller billboards exist even though the permit application for every state-regulated billboard requires the owner to certify the proposed billboard will comply with the 42.5-foot…

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Reality of drought: Sausages, laws and a water district

Reality of drought: Sausages, laws and a water district

Part One of a Two-Part Series – Friday, Mar 29, 2019 From a 1933 textbook “Government in the United States” the author invokes the sage advice of Otto von Bismarck: “The man who wishes to keep his respect for sausages and laws should not see how either is made.” Never before has this observation rung so true as with our local government. Look at what has happened with Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District, WCID, No. 3 in the two…

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The Legislative outlook for Hill Country water resources

The Legislative outlook for Hill Country water resources

This edition of the Texas Water Symposium features lawmakers and analysts looking at current and proposed legislation that will affect water resources and property rights in Texas. Topics addressed include the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, flooding, water well protection, the Texas State Park system, and more. Recorded March 28, 2019 at the Texas State Capitol building. Moderator: Vanessa Puig-Williams, Puig-Williams Law, PLLC Panelists: Larry Bailey, policy analyst for Rep. Kyle Biedermann, District 73 Representative Vikki Goodwin, District 47 Representative Andrew…

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In suit filed by state, judge rules for newly incorporated city of Double Horn

In suit filed by state, judge rules for newly incorporated city of Double Horn

BURNET — With a stern admonishment to the Texas attorney general’s office, state District Judge Evan Stubbs ruled Wednesday for the newly incorporated city of Double Horn in a lawsuit that challenged the validity of the city’s status. “Your motion for summary judgment, discovery and all of those things will ultimately cause these defendants a huge expense at the cost of taxpayer dollars,” Stubbs said to Ken Richardson, who was representing Paxton’s office. “So you’re asking me to authorize a…

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Eminent domain works in Texas — for the takers [Opinion]

Eminent domain works in Texas — for the takers [Opinion]

Corporate entities that use eminent domain authority to take property often claim the system is working. It does — but only for them. Corporations with this powerful, often abused tool do not have to respect the same rules of transparency that government agencies must observe. They are not required to have public meetings, and eminent domain actions in general do not mandate a good faith offer. At least 1,271 non-governmental entities have a power of eminent domain, but nobody tracks…

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Biedermann introduces two quarry bills

Biedermann introduces two quarry bills

Two bills introduced to the Texas legislature earlier this month by Canyon Lake’s House Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-73) could strengthen the state’s regulatory authority over mining operations like Vulcan Materials’ proposed rock quarry at Highway 46 and FM 3009. One of the bills might even halt development of the controversial 1500-acre open-pit limestone quarry in a high-density residential area of central Comal County, between Bulverde, Spring Branch, Garden Ridge, and New Braunfels. Larry Bailey, Biedermann’s policy analyst, led the effort…

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Homeowners take fight against gas pipeline land grab to U.S. Supreme Court

Homeowners take fight against gas pipeline land grab to U.S. Supreme Court

For nearly a decade, Michelle and Gary Erb lived on a rustic, 72-acre plot of land east of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The bucolic setting was perfect for farming, hiking, and hunting. There, the couple hoped they could build a second home for their sons. But the landscape Gary once called a “deer paradise” became a construction site for a pipeline that can move 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line…

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Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Rep. Erin Zwiener brings aggregate industry bills

Austin, TX — State Representative Erin Zwiener filed four bills to address concerns from House District 45 residents regarding the proliferating aggregate industry. Aggregate operators include concrete batch plants, gravel pits, and stone crushers. With a rapidly growing district, some areas have seen a growing number of aggregate operators who are unconcerned with being good neighbors to the community around them. “I’m working with my Hill Country neighbors, Representatives Terry Wilson and Andy Murr, to provide comprehensive oversight for aggregate…

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San Marcos joins growing list of local governments opposed to Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline

San Marcos joins growing list of local governments opposed to Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline

The list of local governmental bodies that have passed resolutions opposing Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline just got longer. San Marcos City Council unanimously voted on March 5 to oppose the 430-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline set to be routed through the center of Hays County. In addition to expressing the city’s opposition to the project, the resolution—almost exactly like the resolutions recently passed by the Hays County Commissioners Court and Kyle City Council—demands immediate state legislative action that would…

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