A pause for energy developers threatening Texas Big Bend Region

A pause for energy developers threatening Texas Big Bend Region

Three years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 80,000 head of cattle grazing the sea of golden grass across Brewster, Presidio, and Jeff Davis counties in dry, open and captivating West Texas. That’s more than four times the number of people living in a region as big as Maryland… It’s hard country, too. Household incomes are low. Droughts are an episodic hazard. Ranching is a tough business. The tourist trade is a six-month deal. The three counties, according to…

Read More
New Mexico town, oil companies in fight over water use

New Mexico town, oil companies in fight over water use

“I don’t want to call it a war, but we’re fighting for our lives down here,” Jal Mayor Stephen Aldridge said, standing under the scorching, 100-degree sun on a recent afternoon. The dispute is over who gets to control water in this parched corner of southeastern New Mexico: Should the oil industry have access to tens of millions of barrels a year for operations like hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, or should the aquifer be conserved for local residents who…

Read More
Llano County commissioners, residents voice concerns over sand plant

Llano County commissioners, residents voice concerns over sand plant

Not one of the more than a dozen people sharing their thoughts July 13 about a proposed sand-excavation project on private property on County Road 309 outside of Kingsland had a good thing to say about it. Several voiced concerns that the Llano County Commissioners Court would even consider allowing such an operation. “The county is pretty limited, frankly, with the authority we have here,” said Llano County Precinct 1 Commissioner Peter Jones. “We do not have land-use authority.” Read…

Read More
The Hill Country Alliance is preserving our beautiful land in Central Texas

The Hill Country Alliance is preserving our beautiful land in Central Texas

The non-profit environmental organization, The Hill Country Alliance plays a vital role in preserving the beauty of the hill country of Texas. Their mission is: “The mission of the Hill Country Alliance is to bring together an ever-expanding alliance of groups throughout a multi- county region of Central Texas with the long-term objective of preserving open spaces, water supply, water quality and the unique character of the Texas Hill Country.” Our guest on Shades of Green is Daniel Oppenheimer, Land…

Read More
Great Springs Project envisions a network of trails from Austin to San Antonio

Great Springs Project envisions a network of trails from Austin to San Antonio

Twenty-seven years ago, Deborah Morin watched as the hills, streams, caves, and springs of the Hill Country outside of Austin were being gobbled up by construction… Almost three decades later, Morin, a San Antonio native, is at the head of a nonprofit working to do just that, but on a much larger scale. She’s president of the board of the Great Springs Project, an initiative to preserve land and stitch together a network of hike and bike trails that will…

Read More
TESPA files new lawsuit against Permian Highway Pipeline, Kinder Morgan

TESPA files new lawsuit against Permian Highway Pipeline, Kinder Morgan

The Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA), acting on behalf of Blanco County landowners whose water was impacted in a spill of drilling fluid, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Permian Highway Pipeline and Kinder Morgan. The case alleges violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which protects “underground sources of drinking water” by prohibiting the injection of “contaminants” into underground drinking water. “That is exactly what occurred on March 28, 2020, when Kinder Morgan’s PHP constructors…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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”…

Read More
Planning for our State’s water future in the midst of a pandemic – You have a unique opportunity for your voice to be heard!

Planning for our State’s water future in the midst of a pandemic – You have a unique opportunity for your voice to be heard!

Planning for the future is always a challenge – even more so in the midst of a pandemic. Texans currently are coping with the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis – financial hardships, continuing hospitalizations and deaths, the impacts of “reopening” the economy while the virus spreads – focused on the next several months, not looking 50 years ahead. However, the Covid-19 crisis may be a relatively short-term period in history, albeit one with profound impacts for years to come. On…

Read More