Millions of pounds of pollution released before Hurricane Laura

Millions of pounds of pollution released before Hurricane Laura

Texas refineries and chemical plants told state regulators they released millions of pounds of air pollution into the air in recent days as the plants rushed to close facilities ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall… Together, Texas facilities announced plans to release 4 million pounds of air pollution in the Beaumont and Port Arthur areas before Laura hit, according to a tally of state notices by Environment Texas, an environmental nonprofit group in Texas. That’s the equivalent of putting about 140,000…

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Water, Texas: Border wall concerns in Lower Rio Grande Valley diminished by virus and growth

Water, Texas: Border wall concerns in Lower Rio Grande Valley diminished by virus and growth

Before it turns right and heads straight north to the Dakotas, US 281 spends its first 46 miles close to the Rio Grande in South Texas. The two-lane highway slips out of downtown Brownsville and bends west through a Lower Rio Grande Valley landscape renowned in Texas for binding water, agriculture, and ecology in a tumult of ferocious urban growth, nationally significant environmental restoration, and political turmoil… On the highway’s south side, distant stands of spiny hackberry and western soapberry…

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San Antonio aquifer, trail advocates lament sales tax vote

San Antonio aquifer, trail advocates lament sales tax vote

Environmental advocates were dismayed Thursday after City Council set up a shift of sales tax funding away from the Edwards Aquifer and San Antonio’s trail network, with some saying they plan to focus on ensuring replacement funding. San Antonio City Council voted 9-2 Thursday to put a measure on the November ballot to devote a one-eight-cent sales tax to workforce development for four years before shifting to VIA Metropolitan Transit. The tax currently funds the City’s trails and aquifer protection…

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Texas Organizing Project joins petition campaign against SAWS

Texas Organizing Project joins petition campaign against SAWS

Texas Organizing Project (TOP) is the latest group to sign onto a coalition fighting to ratchet back the SAWS CEO’s pay, enforce existing term limits for the utility’s board, audit any project worth $1 billion or more, and halt SAWS’ lobbying efforts at the Texas Legislature. Organizers call their legislation the SAWS Accountability Act. Their plan is to collect 20,000 signatures this year needed to get the act on the May 2021 ballot. Read more from Brendan Gibbons with San…

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Germany plans to dim lights at night to save insects

Germany plans to dim lights at night to save insects

In a draft law seen by AFP, the country’s environment ministry has drawn up a number of new measures to protect insects, ranging from partially outlawing spotlights to increased protection of natural habitats. “Insects play an important role in the ecosystem…but in Germany, their numbers and their diversity has severely declined in recent years,” reads the draft law, for which the ministry hopes to get cabinet approval by October. Read more from Kit Holden from Phys.org here. 

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‘It’s a start’: Plan to protect Edwards Aquifer surfaces, but experts say it’s no substitute

‘It’s a start’: Plan to protect Edwards Aquifer surfaces, but experts say it’s no substitute

The agency that regulates pumping of the Edwards Aquifer wants to move ahead with an aquifer protection program similar to the City of San Antonio’s – but starting at a much smaller scale. At its meeting Tuesday, the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s (EAA) board of directors unanimously voted to explore a policy of paying landowners not to build on sensitive land with conduits into the Edwards Aquifer, the main drinking water supply for the San Antonio region. Read more from Brendan…

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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…

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All droughts are not created equal

All droughts are not created equal

Texas is better prepared for drought now than it was in the 1990s; however, the state is less ready for a repeat of the drought of record—or worse—than it was 20 plus years ago. If that sounds counterintuitive, it’s because all droughts are not created equal. Before the mid-‘90s, two decades of cooler and wetter weather lulled Texas into complacency, turning the Dust Bowl and the Drought of the 1950s into hazy, distant memories. The drought of 1996 was an…

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County sets $75 Million Parks Bond for November ballot

County sets $75 Million Parks Bond for November ballot

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted in favor of a bond election this November for parks, conservation, connectivity and flood mitigation projects at $75 million. “If you look at the astronomical amounts of development going on,” [Commissioner] Smith said. “I know that there are properties or watershed features in my precinct I know of that will not be here if we wait. These are truly once in a lifetime projects.” Read more from Lance Winter with the San Marcos Daily…

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POSAC proposes bond for public access to all parks

POSAC proposes bond for public access to all parks

Hays County is nestled in the Texas Hill Country with incredible natural spaces. If public access isn’t always attainable, how can residents enjoy these areas during the pandemic? The Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC) recommends the Hays County Commissioners Court call for a bond by Aug. 17. For the upcoming election in November, POSAC recommends a total bond initiative for $75 million to $80 million. Between $60 million to $65 million is looking to be used toward the tier…

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