Hays County, Kyle, landowner lawsuit against railroad commission questions pipeline oversight

Hays County, Kyle, landowner lawsuit against railroad commission questions pipeline oversight

Two years ago, Heinz Stefan Roesch bought a roughly 30-acre property along RR 1623, outside of the city of Blanco. His whole family is from the Hill Country, he said, and he had been saving all his life to buy something just like it. Last fall, he started hearing about a natural gas pipeline that the company Kinder Morgan was planning, though in the initial routing his land did not fall in its path. In January, he noticed low-flying helicopters…

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One man’s half-century project to heal a Hill Country landscape created a legacy reaching far beyond his fenceline

One man’s half-century project to heal a Hill Country landscape created a legacy reaching far beyond his fenceline

In 1969, a San Antonio fried-chicken tycoon was struck by a life-changing idea: He would find, buy, and heal “the sorriest piece of land in the Hill Country.” Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Bamberger Ranch Preserve sprawls across 5,500 acres of grassy hills and wildflower meadows in Blanco County. When visitors arrive May 5 for the annual family day and picnic, they will repeatedly drive across a perennial stream that cascades through a series of waterfalls and deep pools.…

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Opinion: Through grandmother’s house it goes – Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, that is

Opinion: Through grandmother’s house it goes – Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, that is

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan would very much like to route a pipeline over the aquifer and through the woods, grandmother’s house be damned. Or condemned, as the case may be. We are talking about KM’s planned Permian Highway Pipeline, a 430-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline planned to run through the heart of the Texas Hill Country and over the extraordinarily sensitive Trinity and Edwards Aquifers, the water supply for millions of Texans, including residents of San Antonio. The Trinity Edwards…

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Cave explorers discover new 600-foot passage in Natural Bridge Caverns

Cave explorers discover new 600-foot passage in Natural Bridge Caverns

After six hours of trekking through cappuccino-colored muck last week, a team of cavers entered a previously unexplored 600-foot-long passage inside Natural Bridge Caverns. The passage, located 145 feet underground, is full of mineral-rich pools of water bordered by mounds of ice-like crystals. “It is absolutely beautiful and the most spectacular cave ‘ice’ that we’ve ever seen at Natural Bridge Caverns,” said Brad Wuest, president and CEO of the caverns. The team of 14 explorers wedged and wriggled their way…

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Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Nature Preserve opens

Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Nature Preserve opens

Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Nature Preserve, Buda, TX – Hays County and the family of the late Gay Ruby Dahlstrom today officially opened the nature preserve named in her honor. “This 384-acre preserve is the culmination of Gay Ruby Dahlstrom’s vision to share her love of the environment and natural beauty with everyone,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said. “Thanks to the Dahlstrom family and our other partners, this space is now open for those seeking the peace and quiet of…

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Kinder Morgan asks judge to throw out Permian Highway Pipeline lawsuit

Kinder Morgan asks judge to throw out Permian Highway Pipeline lawsuit

Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed against a project to move natural gas from the Permian Basin of West Texas to the Gulf Coast. Citing various technicalities, lawyers representing the pipeline company filed a motion on Tuesday asking a state district judge in Travis County to throw out the lawsuit against Kinder Morgan, a subsidiary overseeing the pipeline project and state regulators. Opponents of the Permian Highway Pipeline filed an April…

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A new pipeline through the Hill Country is pitting the oil industry against landowners

A new pipeline through the Hill Country is pitting the oil industry against landowners

The state’s biggest industry finds itself in an unusual position: facing landowner-friendly reforms at the Texas Legislature. On the day of the explosion, Randy Zgabay’s grandmother kept him inside. His grandfather would usually hold Randy, who was only eighteen months old, while his seven-year-old-sister, Laura, played in the pasture near his grandparents’ home in Rosenberg, a small town southwest of Houston. But on this August day in 1966, his grandmother just had a feeling: Randy should stay inside the house…

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Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Friday evening’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Expo keynote speaker was William Wren, a distinguished and award-winning advocate for dark sky preservation. Wren has worked at the McDonald Observatory for 29 years and currently is the special assistant to the superintendent. The McDonald Observatory is part of the University of Texas system, located on Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains, 313 miles West of Uvalde. The 500-acre site sits beneath some of the darkest skies in…

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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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