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What’s At Stake When We Pave Over, Fragment And Otherwise Fail To Protect Texas Farmland From The Disruptions Of Development?

What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

Millions of acres of America’s agricultural land were developed or converted to uses that threaten farming between 2001 and 2016, according to “Farms Under Threat: The State of the States,” a new report by American Farmland Trust. The report’s Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard is the first-ever state-by-state analysis of policies that respond to the development threats to farmland and ranchland, showing that every state can, and must, do more to protect their irreplaceable agricultural resources... The report found that Texas was the most threatened state in the nation due to…

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Sierra Club Urges Court To Halt Construction On Parts Of Permian Highway Fracked Gas Pipeline

Sierra Club urges court to halt construction on parts of Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline

Late Friday evening, the Sierra Club filed a motion for preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against the Permian Highway Pipeline. In late April, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit arguing that the Army Corps failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it approved the project without first conducting the required analysis of environmental impacts, providing for public participation, or considering alternative routes. The motion filed today urges the U.S. District Court for the Western District of…

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New Vista Ridge Pipeline Water Could Delay Start Of Water Restrictions

New Vista Ridge pipeline water could delay start of water restrictions

"Because we are using less of the Edwards’ water, that maybe takes some stress off the Edwards. Maybe it drops less quickly," Gus says. "And maybe we’re a little less likely to hit the trigger. It does help us out in that regard." That's what aquifer officials hope occurs. The 142-mile pipeline from Burleson County, is supposed to supply 20 percent of the area's water needs. Cost of the project has been pegged at nearly $3 billion. Read more from…

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SAWS Flushing Half Of Vista Ridge Water As Cost Overrun Nears $80M

SAWS flushing half of Vista Ridge water as cost overrun nears $80M

The San Antonio Water System is flushing some of the most expensive water in Texas down a Northside creek as it struggles to finish a connection pipeline that has run nearly $80 million over early cost estimates. Originally set to be finished in mid-April, construction on an underground pipeline to connect Vista Ridge’s endpoint to the main SAWS system south of Loop 1604 now won’t be finished until July, SAWS Chief Operating Officer Steve Clouse said at the utility’s June…

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Armed With Eminent Domain, Pipeline Projects Continue To Burden Landowners During The Pandemic

Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline. The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen said that dozens of workers have showed up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home. “They weren’t wearing masks. They weren’t wearing gloves. They weren’t practicing social distancing,” he said. Frantzen believes…

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As Coronavirus Cases Rise, So Does Austin-area Contingency Planning

As coronavirus cases rise, so does Austin-area contingency planning

As Texas saw its eighth consecutive day of record COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, Austin-area officials began preparing for the possibility — considered remote but growing — that a field hospital might be needed to handle overflow patients. The Austin Convention Center would be converted into an alternative care site if hospitals become overwhelmed, said former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, a key decision maker in local efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “Here’s hoping we never need an alternative care…

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Harriet Tubman, An Unsung Naturalist, Used Owl Calls As A Signal On The Underground Railroad

Harriet Tubman, an unsung naturalist, used owl calls as a signal on the Underground Railroad

Many people are aware of Harriet Tubman's work on the Underground Railroad and as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fewer know of her prowess as a naturalist. At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Church Creek, Maryland, Ranger Angela Crenshaw calls Tubman “the ultimate outdoors woman.” She even used bird calls to help guide her charges, eventually helping some 70 people, including her parents and four brothers, escape slavery. Read more from Allison Keyes with Audubon Magazine…

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Southside Residents Succeed In Push To Bring Air Monitor To Area

Southside residents succeed in push to bring air monitor to area

The monitor’s installation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) came seven months after a meeting with a half-dozen Southside residents and TCEQ officials. State Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) organized the face-to-face session at Palo Alto College in response to the proliferation of frack sand mines and other industrial sites in South Bexar County. At the September meeting, Pacheco and others blasted the TCEQ for not cracking down harder on sand companies that spread “very fine, fine dust”…

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San Antonio Council OKs Zoning Change Over Edwards Aquifer Property

San Antonio Council OKs zoning change over Edwards Aquifer property

City Council on Thursday approved a zoning change that paves the way for new development over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone on the Northwest Side. The change will affect 22 acres close to the intersection of Jones Maltsberger and Redland roads. The land is part of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, where water flows underground and adds to the main drinking water supply of the San Antonio region. Landowner Austin Hagauer, a San Antonio real estate broker, plans to build 67…

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Senate Approves Great American Outdoors Act

Senate approves Great American Outdoors Act

The U.S. Senate today voted 73-25 to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, which would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and make critical investments in our national park system. “Today the Senate delivered a historic win for the conservation of America’s natural landscapes,” said Jennifer Morris, chief executive officer at The Nature Conservancy. “This bill would make major investments in the landscapes and landmarks vital to our economic, emotional and societal well-being. By protecting important natural spaces…

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