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 >>
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 >>
The rain came last week. Finally. It came in droves, surging over the curbs, washing away the oil and grime and refuse into a filthy chemical blend. It came for hours. It was needed, in a state suffering a drought that has covered nearly every city and town and farm Texas knows. And then it let up, ... More >>
In the mid-1940s, only 16 Whooping Cranes remained in the wild. Hunted for their cream-colored plumage, shot and killed for pure sport, the largest bird in North America stood all but extinct. Presaged by Passenger Pigeons and the Carolina Parakeet, it seemed that American frontiersmen would once mo ... More >>
Area school districts and cities had to be breathing a big sigh of relief today as news came out that the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said "no" to handing out large tax breaks to Valero that would have made things even worse for cash-strapped government ... More >>
Photo by GalgenTXThis is the Bastrop fire, but smoke is smoke.The weather here is pretty perfect right now, in terms of heat and humidity. But in terms of dryness, it's still a bitch. You probably noticed a smoky smell this morning and even some haze. And yes, the source is probably what you ... More >>
Feds up the ante in battle against TCEQ, PerryThe Environmental Protection Agency announced stricter rules on air pollution, rules that will especially affect Texas, whose politicians have been fighting tenaciously to avoid federal regulation of the state's many pollution producers. The EPA ... More >>
Houston's strip malls increase heat, pollution.
Just noWe all know that the souls of aborted babies go to live with Jesus, but what of their earthly remains? Well, in Texas, they legally can't be disposed of in landfills -- which is exactly where the remains from two abortion clinics have been going, according to Texas Commission on Enviro ... More >>
Greg Abbott goes after polluters!!! Take that, Obama!!Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott took precious time off from suing the federal government to get it to stop forcing Texas to enforce Clean Air provisions in order to do a little Clean Air-ing of his own. Abbott's office charged Gulf Che ... More >>
Rick Perry, stomping on the Historical CommissionRick Perry's State of the State speech today made clear that the lamestream media has it all wrong when it comes to the financial health of Texas. "Have the doomsayers forgotten that Texas added more jobs in 2010 than any other state?" he aske ... More >>
Mom-and-pop industrial plants not as wholesome as they seem.
Sometimes Mom-and-Pop operations aren't bestThere may be more bad news coming down the line for the owners of Titan Gun, a concrete company that had been located in a residential neighborhood in north Houston.In mid-October, Harris County District Court Judge Mike Miller told Titan that it could ... More >>
TCEQ says "Great!!" to controversial coal plantMatagorda County elected officials didn't want it. Local citizens vigorously protested against it. Clean-air advocated spent gobs of time and money trying to fight it, warning that the proposed While Stallion coal-fired plant would cripple Houston's ... More >>
County attorney steps in where TCEQ won'tIt's no secret that when it comes to penalizing industrial plants for violating their emissions permits and endangering public health, TCEQ (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) is not a very tough sheriff. The state regulatory agency rarely take ... More >>
TCEQ: Honeymoon with the feds is definitely overThe 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 >>
Austin's power supplier a major polluter, groups sayAs the Houston Press has written about, and as the Obama administration has determined, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a pretty lax watchdog.Now they're going to get sued over it.A coalition of clean-air groups has served forma ... More >>
Coming together vs. TCEQThe Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, made up of 12 state legislators who evaluate state agencies every dozen years, is examining the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and will make a recommendation during the next legislative session whether to renew, tweak, or ab ... More >>
This week's decision will be watched closelyAll eyes are on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this week as its three commissioners will decide whether to grant an air permit to a proposed $3 billion petroleum coke-fired power plant in Corpus Christi.The Las Brisas Energy Center has be ... More >>
Texas can police its own air, thankyouverymuch.Republican U.S. Congressman Pete Olson may not officially be the poster boy for the oil and gas industry, but one could argue that he's really bucking for the job. Last week, Olson of Sugar Land announced that he and a few other politicians on Capit ... More >>
Feds come to the same conclusion we didThe 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 >>
Could Valero empty the coffers of Texas schools?
Are cities and school districts panicking?Until the day comes when people jump for joy over paying taxes, they will look under every nook and cranny for loopholes that let them save as much as they can. It works the same way for businesses, and you generally never hear about it. But in the past f ... More >>
The first step in taking a $1 billion out of the tax rolls?The Houston ISD school board has spent several sessions now listening to dire warnings from Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett and Superintendent Terry Grier about what may happen if energy company Valero is able to get tax exemption ... More >>
Houston ISD's tax rolls look to be down 4.32 percent in the next year, with a loss of almost $5 billion in assessed values for 2011 over 2010. Most of the lost money is coming from lowered commercial property values, with the least decrease among residential property owners.Things could be even w ... More >>
Thanks to lax enforcement by TCEQ, plants along the Houston Ship Channel launch tons of toxic gases into our air, and face little penalty even when they exceed pollution limits over and over again.
Four years ago, Houston Mayor Bill White and his environmental policy director Elena Marks didn't think that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was doing a very good job enforcing pollution violations and keeping the area's oil refineries and chemical plants in check. The city had ... More >>
We have little understanding of how a local chemical manufacturing plant can flaunt state environmental regulations for an entire year and not get called on the carpet for it until nearly two years later, but that describes the goings-on at the Sunoco, Inc., plant in La Porte.At its facility jus ... More >>
Stay the hell away from Houston's waterways. Don't swim in them and for heaven's sake don't eat the fish.That was essentially the message this morning at a news conference held alongside the Houston Ship Channel, hosted by Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group, which complied data fr ... More >>
Let's be honest.There aren't a lot of "bad days" for a global petrochemical company that made a record $45.2 billion profit last year, so we'll just say ExxonMobil had a less than stellar day on Wednesday when state regulators penalized it more than $600,000 for environmental crimes.ExxonMobil's ... More >>
If you worry about pollution -- especially in light on the EPA's latest study of the cancer risk posed by air pollution -- you might see that instead of threatening our lives, air pollution actually helps all of us, especially those of us who are most vulnerable, the kids.For purposes of illustr ... More >>
The Dow Chemical Co. got whacked last week with a $202,325 fine for air pollution violations, but if we had to guess, we'd say the world's second-largest chemical company thanks its lucky stars it does business in a state like Texas, where a history of violations doesn't mean much.In calculating th ... More >>
Solutia Inc. is a "small business" in the overall scheme of things in the petrochemical universe, but the organic chemical production plant outside of Alvin managed to outdo the big boys on Wednesday when it racked up the biggest pollution fine of the week in our great state.For its achievement, So ... More >>
If you've ever pondered how much pollution an oil refinery can spew out in 4,008 hours and 50 minutes when the gasoline-making process goes wrong, Valero Refining in Texas City has provided an answer: -- 345,624 pounds of sulfur dioxide-- 3,752.30 pounds of hydrogen sulfide-- 63.30 pounds of o ... More >>
The wheels of environmental justice move ever so slowly. To call it a snail's pace would be an insult to mollusks everywhere. But it is what is, as we say in the parlance of our times, so now we have the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality assessing penalties against two local polluters for ... More >>
Ever have trouble keeping your hot water heater pilot light on? It's annoying, yes, but the worst repercussion is a surprise cold shower.Pilot light problems occur in the petrochemical world, too, but the repercussions are decidedly more consequential.In the case of a Dow Chemical Co. plant in Texa ... More >>
It took awhile, but state environmental regulators and Shell Oil finally came to meeting of the minds about a slew of pollution violations committed at the Deer Park refinery. Upshot: Shell will pay a $345,744 penalty for 35 emissions events and record-keeping violations that occurred from 2004 ... More >>
Panic for ConocoPhillips' stockholders
In Somerville, chances are far better than normal that you will die of cancer or give birth to a deformed baby
Woodwind Lakes Edition
A mountain of garbage in northeast Houston is looking to get bigger. Neighbors cry foul.