Environmental Policy

  • Blogs

    October 22, 2014

    TCEQ Scientist Says the Smog is Fine Because Texans Stay Indoors

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has never exactly been on point when it comes to, you know, protecting the environment (this is Texas after all, land where the only good environmental regulation is a nonexistent one) but the state agency came out with a doozy this week. See, the feder ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2014

    Greg Abbott Threatens to Sue EPA...Again

    The past several years of Greg Abbott's political career have been one long, drawn-out pissing match with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For an avowed tort-reformer, our Attorney General-turned GOP candidate for governor sure loves a good lawsuit when the feds are in the crosshairs, famou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 27, 2014

    Texas Gets Ready to Rumble with the EPA. Again.

    You'd be hard pressed to find anything Texas officials love more than taking whatever the federal Environmental Protection Agency is trying to do and fighting against it. They've gotten a lot of mileage out of fighting against anything the EPA tries to do when it comes to air quality in recent year ... More >>

  • News

    January 16, 2014

    Lane Closure Exposure

    New Jersey traffic retribution scandal tough for Houstonians to understand.

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2014

    Cover Story: Fighting for Control

    Buffalo Bayou has been a controversy that hits at the very heart of Houston for decades. It all started in the 1960s, when a group of concerned citizens, mostly wealthy and well-connected, learned that the Harris County Flood Control District planned to cement and channelize a vein of Buffalo Bayou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2014

    With Money Tight, the EPA is Dialing Down Actual Enforcing

    Once upon a time -- and we're talking like three years ago -- the Environmental Protection Agency was a force to be reckoned with. EPA regulators were throwing their weight around and pushing the issue on things like biofuels, air quality and the effect of fracking on water quality. They had the Whi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 5, 2013

    Voters Approve Prop Six, $2 Billion Water Infrastructure Plan

    Looks like there will be water, water everywhere, or at least funding for water infrastructure. Proposition 6, an amendment to the state constitution allowing the appropriation of $2 billion to fund revamping state water infrastructure, has passed, Associated Press reports. Houston voters can feel ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2013

    Election Roundup: Proposition 6 (Funding the State Water Plan)

    Referendum: Proposition 6 (the proposed constitutional amendment to fund the State Water Plan), if approved by voters, will allow a one-time transfer of $2 billion from the state Rainy Day Fund to provide local governments with loans to help build water infrastructure in the state. Key issue: The r ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2013

    EPA Says Fracking Is Safe But An Internal Report Says Different

    It must be a tricky thing being the Environmental Protection Agency, especially when it comes to the political minefield that is fracking. Hydraulic fracturing - the process of shooting sand, water and chemicals into an oil well to get the oil and natural gas trapped in the formation flowing - is a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2013

    So That Was The Smell: San Antonio Fined For More Than 23 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Dumped In Waterways

    Have you ever been strolling by the San Antonio River Walk and thought you smelled something a little, you know, funky? Turns out it may not have all been in your head, or nose. The San Antonio Water System was supposed to be taking care of the raw sewage coming into the plant but from 2006 to 2012 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2013

    State Water Plan All Lawed Up, But Will Voters Care to Fund it?

    To the surprise and shock of nobody -- aka almost everybody -- legislators managed to get together and pass the state water infrastructure plan before the 83rd Legislative Session ended. They did it by basically breaking the legislation into pieces and passing each piece separately, including the c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2013

    The State Water Plan May Not Be Dead (The Unkillable Zombie of Legislation?)

    Going into the 83rd state legislative session, it seemed as if the state water plan would swim on through the legislative plumbing faster than Nemo went down that sink drain and onward to freedom and hanging out with some tubular sea turtles in Finding Nemo. Well, that's just not how things went do ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2013

    Will the State Water Plan Funding Get Out of the House? Maybe

    Last week, pretty much everybody and their grandmother thought the state water plan was deader than an Elvis Presley-era jumpsuit. Hopes were high when the 83rd legislative session opened in January. Many people who pay attention to this stuff (i.e. people like us who think water rights are intere ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2013

    Three Legislature Bills Would Loosen Texas' Extraordinarily Loose Pollution Guidelines (Yay?)

    Texas law has always been a little loose -- and yes, in this phraseology "loose" is code for kind of slutty -- about environmental regulation, but now the state legislature has a few bills bouncing around during the 83rd legislative session that may make it looser than Lindsey Lohan after some booze ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2012

    EPA Can't Block Texas's Clean-Air Rules for Being Too Lax, Appeals Court Says

    The federal Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its bounds when it rejected a Texas clean-air plan it thought was too lax, an appellate court has ruled. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the EPA was limited to reviewing whether Texas's controversial plan met the absolute minimums o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 20, 2012

    More Texas Cities Considering Bans on Plastic Grocery Bags

    Brownsville set a trend last year when it became the first city in Texas to ban the use of plastic grocery bags in nearly all consumer settings. Brownsville mayor Pat Ahumada told the New York Times that the ban had eliminated 350,000 plastic bags per day, a decrease that "transformed our city from ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 12, 2011

    Good Air Pollution News in Texas? "Flexible Permit" Companies Agree to EPA Guidelines

    Breath of fresh air​It's a rarity: Good air-pollution news in Texas that doesn't involve the Obama administration forcing state officials to do their job. The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that 156 Texas companies who have received the notoriously loose "flexible" permits ha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 7, 2011

    Texas AG Greg Abbott Grabs The Spotlight In Fight Against EPA's Tailpipe-Emissions Rule

    Greg Abbott leads a mostly southern uprising​Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants everyone to know that he is doing everything he can to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency from trying to implement greenhouse-gas limits on cars and trucks. In the latest of a series of lawsuit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 1, 2010

    TCEQ & The EPA: Feds Again Slam Texas' Pollution-Control Efforts

    TCEQ: Honeymoon with the feds is definitely over​The EPA took yet another bite out of the Texas air-pollution regulatory system on Tuesday when it decreed that some of state's rules violate federal clean air law.At issue is what's called the New Source Review Program. It deals with the permitting ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2010

    People Think A Plastic-Bag Ban Is Terrible, Plastic-Bag Industry Reports

    Brownsville is getting ready to implement a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets, under an ordinance passed earlier this year.You know who doesn't like that? The American Chemistry Council, which we're sure just deals with the wonders of chemistry and how it can improve lives, through the use of, say ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 26, 2010

    Feds To Texas' Environmental Regulators: Good God, You Suck (UPDATED With Rick Perry Saying No, You Suck)

    Feds come to the same conclusion we did​The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency smacked the hell out of Texas environmental regulators earlier this week, announcing that the feds will begin taking control over the issuance of operating permits to chemical plants and refineries because the s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2010

    Obama's EPA Accused Of "Castrating" Clean Air Act In Houston

    ​Clean-air advocates in Texas had such high hopes for the EPA under the Obama administration. After all, the federal environmental agency has said that, as early as today, it will significantly lower the national ozone limit and has essentially stated that some of Texas' pro-business industrial pe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2009

    Long-Anticipated BARC Report Is Out

    MCV Consulting has released its 2009 Multi-Stakeholder Initiative report on BARC, which states -- hold your breath -- "that the number one priority must be the city instating strong, competent leadership of BARC that is mandated, empowered and held accountable by the city to solve the serious operat ... More >>

  • Calendar

    June 25, 2009

    Simon S.C. Tay

    Web exclusive!

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2009

    Protect The Texas Jaguarundi!! He's Cute!!

    The Jaguarundicourtesy of blueskull611Ever heard of the jaguarundi? Neither have we. Perhaps that's because this unique type of cat that lives along the Texas border with Mexico is endangered. Perhaps it's because nobody really cares. We're guessing it's a bit of both, but that doesn't mean every an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 3, 2009

    Dentist Fined $65,000 For Violating Clean Water Act, But It's Not What You Think

    A Galveston dentist has been fined $65,000 for violating the Clean Water Act.What, he didn't have his patients rinse-and-spit up to gummint standards? Is this more of that damn paperwork and regulations that is all but choking the entrepreneurial spirits of dentists all across America?Well, no. Inst ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 19, 2009

    BP Pays Big (Kinda) To Settle Texas City Pollution Claims

    Good news and bad news for Texas City: The good news is that BP will be spending $167 million to reduce pollution in its plant there.The bad news is that they were polluting the area so bad it's going to take $167 million to do something about it.The Environmental Protection Agency announced today t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2008

    Ozone Levels Getting Nasty

    This doesn't sound too good. Patricia Tinoco-Perez of Harris County's Public Health & Environmental Services department says don't go around doing too much breathing right now: Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) is issuing an "Air Quality Warning/Health Advisory" for the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2007
  • Blogs

    October 12, 2007

    Harris County Leads the Nation in Polluting Facilities. So We’ve Got That Going for Us.

    A report released earlier this week lists Harris County as one of the top ten water polluters in the nation. It also reveals a dirty secret about our beloved city. The report – Troubled Waters – comes out just before the 35th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, which aimed to make all ... More >>

  • News

    January 13, 2005

    Draining the Swamp

    A scorched-earth management philosophy is sucking the life out of our region's wetlands

  • Best of Houston

    September 23, 2004
  • Best of Houston

    September 20, 2001

    Best Use of Taxpayer Dollars

    Buffalo Bayou revitalization

  • Best of Houston

    September 20, 2001

    Best Smell

    Maxwell House Factory

  • News

    October 26, 2000

    Smoke and Mirrors

    As part of the Bush legacy, a special law can hide polluting industries

  • Best of Houston

    September 21, 2000

    Best Bird-Watching

    Barker Reservoir, Highway 6 at Briar Forest

  • News

    April 6, 2000


    Bass kills and lesions on fish worry Sam Rayburn anglers. So does the state's plan to lower the lake's pollution standards.

  • News

    February 11, 1999
  • News

    December 5, 1996

    In The Rough

    In its quest for a Municipal golf course, Lake jackson learned a valuable lesson: Never buy land without checking it out first. Unfortunately, the lesson came six years too late.

  • News

    December 14, 1995
  • News

    November 23, 1995

    The Exterminator

    Tom DeLay, the bug man from Sugar Land, has always despised environmental regulation. Now, as House majority whip, he's in a position to do something about it.

  • News

    February 3, 1994

    Just Don't Breathe It

    What Houstonians can -- and probably won't -- do to clean up the air they drive through