Council may pump $100K into Permian pipeline legal battle

Council may pump $100K into Permian pipeline legal battle

Austin City Council members will vote on a resolution Thursday earmarking as much as $100,000 to the city manager to participate in civil litigation against the Permian Highway Pipeline. The 42-inch, 430-mile buried natural gas pipeline would run from just north of Fort Stockton in West Texas through the Texas Hill Country en route to the Houston area. It has drawn the ire of landowners and local governments along its route who have raised concerns about both property rights and…

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Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), a program of Hill Country Conservancy, the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network and 18 partner organizations, is now accepting pre-applications from landowners located within specified critical river basins. The HCHCI has a $2.1 million pledge, awarded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, for the purchase of conservation easements from willing landowners. “Private landowners throughout the Texas Hill Country are caring daily for our precious natural resources, growing our food, and keeping our land beautiful, often without recognition or compensation for…

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Is Central Texas prepared for another major wildfire?

Is Central Texas prepared for another major wildfire?

The deadly wildfires in Australia are bringing a lot of attention to fire dangers – even here at home. Right now, Central Texas is in a drought and the big question is: Are we prepared for a big wildfire? This area has seen big fires before, like the one in Bastrop County in 2011, which burned up almost all of Bastrop State Park and killed two people. More recently, there have been smaller ones, like the Manchaca fire in South…

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Texas Comptroller’s Office Partners with the University of Houston – Clear Lake to Perform Western Chicken Turtle Surveys

Texas Comptroller’s Office Partners with the University of Houston – Clear Lake to Perform Western Chicken Turtle Surveys

The Texas Comptroller’s Natural Resources program has contracted with the University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL) to conduct range-wide surveys in East Texas for the western chicken turtle. The partnership will inform an upcoming Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision for the species and develop information that local resource managers can use to sustain economic development while conserving natural resources. The historic range of the western chicken turtle includes wetlands across East Texas, a region that supports numerous industries…

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Money for San Antonio aquifer protection would likely be cut under SAWS’ purview

Money for San Antonio aquifer protection would likely be cut under SAWS’ purview

Money for a city program that protects the Edwards Aquifer would be cut in half if the San Antonio Water System took on the responsibility, preliminary figures released Tuesday show. Mayor Ron Nirenberg has pushed the city-owned utility to assume control of the aquifer protection program, now funded through a voter-approved 1/8-cent sales tax. By doing so, about $40 million in annual sales tax revenue could be redirected to boost bus service. It’s financially possible for the city-owned water utility…

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Energy company develops ultrasonic device to keep bats away from Texas windfarms

Energy company develops ultrasonic device to keep bats away from Texas windfarms

An energy company is taking steps to protect bats from windmills. Research shows hundreds of thousands are killed every year. There’s new technology to keep this from happening. The Mexican free-tailed bats fly in the millions at their peak. They’re the state’s official flying mammal and they claim spots all over Texas. In their millions, they will pollinate flowers and grow new plants and keep pests off farmer’s crops. This species is also at risk of colliding with a growing…

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Kinder Morgan mobilizes for pipeline construction in Central Texas; opponents prepare to sue

Kinder Morgan mobilizes for pipeline construction in Central Texas; opponents prepare to sue

After more than a year of community meetings, negotiations, resolutions and legal action, the pipeline company Kinder Morgan is getting ready to begin construction on the Permian Highway Pipeline in Central Texas—at least if legal challenges do not stop it. Work has already begun on the westernmost section of the 430-mile, $2 billion natural gas conduit, which stretches from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast, nearly bisecting Hays County. But in the Central Texas area, the company is waiting…

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Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

Record-breaking vote shows consensus and need for more Texas state parks

To my wife’s dismay, I was going to cook the Thanksgiving turkey over a campfire at Tyler State Park with the guidance of my son’s most recent Boy’s Life magazine. We have a big map of Texas on the wall of our family room. We’re on a mission to visit all 90 or so state parks, and about 30 push pins show the ones we’ve visited so far. At Monahans Sandhills State Park, we rode sleds down rolling dunes of…

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Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Urban sprawl making its way toward slower growing parts of the Hill Country

Cities up and down the I-35 corridor have experienced explosive growth over the last decade, but the counties adjacent to them have largely escaped the surge of people. That all appears to be over, with the urban expansion beginning to head their way. “We have three of the fastest growing counties – not only in Texas but in the entire country – in Hays, Comal and Kendall counties,” said Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance. Romans’ mission…

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As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

As aquifer protection debate continues, Nirenberg offers funding details

Mayor Ron Nirenberg plans to propose using future borrowing to help preserve land over the Edwards Aquifer while shifting the sales tax that currently funds that preservation over to San Antonio’s transit system. In an interview Thursday, Nirenberg laid out more specifics for his plan to continue funding the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). He proposed using an unspecified annual amount of San Antonio Water System funds, which could allow SAWS to pay for preserving more aquifer land over 10…

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