Federal court overturns Texas agency’s pollution permit for Gulf Coast natural gas export terminal
Judges overturned a state air pollution permit that was issued last year, arguing that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality illegally enabled Port Arthur LNG to avoid emissions control requirements.
Seeking lower electricity rates, residents in two East Texas towns hope the state will intervene
Livingston and Jasper residents hope a lawsuit will force their municipality-operated utility company to offer lower rates and create more transparency in setting rates. They’re among the 5 million Texans living outside the state’s deregulated market and cannot choose their energy provider.
Texas’ unemployment rate is among the nation’s worst — but experts say it signals a growing economy
The state has yet to return to its pre-pandemic unemployment rate of about 3.5%, even as it leads the country in new jobs created. However, state economic experts say the unemployment rate is an indicator of Texas’s rapidly growing population and labor force.
EPA’s inspector general says agency isn’t enforcing benzene pollution rules at refineries in Texas, nationally
A report by the federal environmental agency’s internal watchdog found that EPA is failing to enforce its own pollution limits for the known carcinogen at many refineries — including some in Texas.
Texans again asked to conserve power Thursday, the 11th time this summer
A day after declaring emergency conditions for the first time this summer, ERCOT is asking residents to reduce how much power they use between 5 and 9 p.m. Thursday as continued high temperatures push the power grid into tight conditions.
For Texans, fighting state-regulated oilfield waste dumps can be a costly, do-it-yourself effort
Some Texans who challenge oil and gas waste sites must spend significant sums and time on investigating what they say the Texas Railroad Commission should examine. Will new regulations for handling waste increase oversight or just maintain the status quo?
The “1-mile rule”: Texas’ unwritten, arbitrary policy protects big polluters from citizen complaints
It’s not found anywhere in state law or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s rules, but for years the agency has denied citizens the ability to challenge air pollution permits because they live more than a mile away.
EPA will decide if the state is doing enough to reduce pollution in two East Texas counties
The federal agency has settled a lawsuit the Sierra Club brought over pollution from a coal-burning power plant. The agreement requires the EPA to weigh in on the state’s plan to improve air quality in Rusk and Panola counties.
Looking to save money? You might qualify for free weatherization updates for your home
We are always looking for ways to save you money. The Texas summer heat means you are probably using more electricity to cool off your home. Viewer Don Conger emailed Investigator Amy Davis and said his utility bills are sky-high. He’s looking for a company that will do a home energy audit to show him things he can do in his home to conserve electricity.
Fossil fuels got a boost from lawmakers aiming to fix Texas’ grid, while renewable energy escaped stricter regulations
The bills will give owners of natural gas power plants incentives to build more capacity, but they don’t go as far as originally proposed to change how electricity is created and sold in the Texas market.
House approves bill capping what Texas consumers would pay for new tool to boost power plants
Senate Bill 7 would limit how much electricity customers could end up paying if the state opts to use performance credits, which would give the money to power generators in hopes they’ll add more power to the state grid.
Texas House’s weekend off means key Senate bills die after missing a legislative deadline
Priority bills that died include a 10-year minimum sentencing for gun-related crimes, a ban on “critical race theory” at public universities and LGBTQ-related legislation. While the bills may be dead, lawmakers have a limited time to attach their ideas to legislation that are still alive.
Addressing Texas’ power grid concerns
On Wednesday, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, shared a seasonal assessment that shows extreme temperatures over the summer may put the state in an energy crunch. These worries stem from what officials with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and ERCOT said is Texas’ failure to keep up with population growth in terms of the grid.
Texas utility commission chair raises threat of summer power outages and pushes for more gas-powered electricity
Public Utility Commission Chair Peter Lake said renewable energy could be critical to preventing power outages this summer. Renewable energy supporters said the grid’s reliability doesn’t hinge on wind and solar.
Toxic benzene lingered for weeks after shelter-in-place warnings ended following 2019 Houston-area chemical fire
The Texas Tribune analyzed previously unreported air monitoring data and records from the 2019 ITC chemical disaster near Houston and found that high benzene levels lingered in the air for two weeks after public health measures were lifted. Experts say more shelter-in-place advisories should have been issued.
Solar and wind companies are coming to rural Texas. These residents are trying to keep them out.
In Franklin County, a group of locals are concerned about potential environmental harm from renewable energy facilities and support a bill that would impose more regulations on solar and wind. The industry says it’s being unfairly singled out.
Thousands of pounds of “forever chemicals” have been injected into Texas oil and gas wells, study finds
A new report from a public health watchdog found that more than 40,000 pounds of PFAS has been injected into more than 1,000 wells across Texas — and warned that the chemicals could pose a risk to public health
Gov. Greg Abbott vow to exclude renewable energy from any revived economic incentive program
In 2021, the Texas Senate declined to consider a bill extending the program, which discounted local property taxes to lure big companies to the state. It had become plagued with bipartisan accusations of “corporate welfare.”
In South Texas, opponents say planned natural gas export facility’s carbon capture promises are “greenwashing”
A company planning to build a massive liquefied natural gas export facility near Brownsville says carbon capture technology will reduce its pollution, but some locals say it’s a “Band-Aid on a bullet hole.”
In East Texas, a town fights to keep an oilfield waste dump from opening near wetlands and water wells
The Texas Railroad Commission has rejected the proposal twice over water contamination concerns, but locals are dismayed that the commissioners keep giving the developer more chances to alter its application.
State agency that oversees Texas power grid needs more money to do its job, Sunset Commission finds
The Public Utility Commission has about 200 employees but needs more to handle shoring up the state power grid and tackling an expanded list of regulatory duties, according to the state Sunset Advisory Commission.