UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

UPDATE: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

  • March 20, 2019
  • News

The evacuation of 64 businesses and 57 homes in Georgetown due to the results of an initial natural gas leak continued Monday, according to a news release from Atmos Energy. The company would not say when it planned to lift the evacuation order, which started Feb. 20. “Out of an abundance of caution, evacuations will remain in place until we are confident it is safe to re-occupy the structures,” the release said. The number of businesses and home evacuated have…

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Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

The Texas Stream Team, part of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, received a Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Governor Greg Abbott and TCEQ commissioners selected 10 winners in nine categories. The awards recognize efforts to use less water or energy, educate the public about natural resources and reduce pollution. “I am proud to announce this year’s winners,” said TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann. “Not only are they innovative,…

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New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

New report by the Texas Land Trust Council highlights over $1 billion in annual economic benefits of conserved lands to flood mitigation, agriculture, water resources

The new study, produced by Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands and conservation easements that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community. Values for benefits provided by these conserved lands were calculated using an ecosystem services approach. Specifically, the study assessed the more than 1.6 million acres of open space lands that have been compiled into a statewide conserved lands database by TLTC members, and evaluated those acres for the services they offer Texas in terms water quality, water quantity, flood prevention, and…

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Going dark to reconnect to the night sky

Going dark to reconnect to the night sky

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

For those who missed it, Feb. 19 brought a super snow moon, the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year. Social media and national news sites lit up with spectacular photos of the event, with an unusually large full moon rising above the horizon. Although reminding us of the beauty of the night sky, similar events can also highlight the spread of light pollution, which dramatically limits celestial views and deprives us of those awe-inspiring encounters with the night sky.…

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How a Central Texas community is preparing for wildfires before an emergency happens

How a Central Texas community is preparing for wildfires before an emergency happens

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

Last month, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal reported that though wildfire season typically begins in March, West Texas is seeing wildfires even earlier in the year. As a result, lots of communities have a plan of action for wildfires. But how many Texas communities perform a dry run before an emergency actually happens? So far, only one, the Comanche Trail neighborhood near Lake Travis, has done such a drill. “I’m on the top of a hill, so I worry about a…

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Final draft of Austin Strategic Mobility Plan passes Environmental Commission

Final draft of Austin Strategic Mobility Plan passes Environmental Commission

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

Following a presentation on the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan at the March 6 meeting of the Environmental Commission by Annick Beaudet, the assistant director of Austin Transportation, commissioners began asking about some of the environmental aspects of the plan. While questions about tree canopy removal in order to widen streets made a predictable appearance, issues of air quality, right-of-way and autonomous vehicles were also raised. Commissioner Mary Ann Neely noted that Austin is uncomfortably close to being in violation of air quality…

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Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

Landowners work to “heal” Sandy Creek after flood

An effort to restore Sandy Creek has taken root in Llano County. About 25 landowners, conservationists and other volunteers attended the Sandy Creek Riparian Restoration Field Day March 2 on private property (County Road 316) adjacent to Sandy Creek to assess land and put so-called revegetation efforts into practice. “People like myself and other professionals, we really didn’t think about rivers. They were just part of the landscape,” said Steve Nelle, a Natural Resource Conservation Service retiree. “We didn’t know…

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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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SOAH Judge Rules in Favor of Quarry Opponents

SOAH Judge Rules in Favor of Quarry Opponents

An extremely vocal coalition of area ranchers, business people, ex-military personnel and retired professionals convinced Administrative Law Judge Rebecca Smith to grant them “affected-party” status at a March 6 hearing to determine who has the right to challenge a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air permit that would allow Vulcan Construction Materials to turn the old Eric White Ranch near FM 3009 and SH-46 into a 1,500-acre open-pit limestone quarry. Residents packed Comal County commissioners historic courtroom where they…

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Commentary: We must act now to save our state parks

Commentary: We must act now to save our state parks

More than 30 million visitors have taken in the majesty of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. Last year alone, more than 10 million visited the Louvre in Paris with such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa. Imagine for a moment the absurdity of locking these treasures away from public view because their buildings fell into disrepair. Yet that is exactly what’s happening to many of our state parks because funds intended for their upkeep have been diverted elsewhere,…

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