December 8, 2013 6:00 am
Texas Supreme Court To Mull Underground Trespassing
The Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a case that pits two interests that are dear to many Texans against each other: oil and gas resources versus private property rights. The justices will consider a broad question: Just how far below the earth’s surface do property lines extend?
December 3, 2013 6:30 am
The $4 Billion Texas Electric Bill
Our StateImpact reporting project has been looking into how Texans may have to foot the bill for billions of dollars in new power plants. It's a possibility if the state decides customers need to subsidize big power companies to make sure there's enough electricity on the hottest days. But it's highly controversial — and not just in Texas.
December 2, 2013 11:19 am
UH Engineering Professor Michael Economides Dies
A University of Houston chemical engineering professor who became known around the world for his work on the oil-and-gas extraction method commonly called ‘fracking’ has died.
December 1, 2013 6:00 am
Devils River Could Feel Impact Of Hunt For Water
Thanks to conservation efforts and its remote location, the Devils River is seen as one of the state's last pristine rivers. But change could be coming for the river, as some are eyeing its basin for new water supplies.
November 30, 2013 6:02 am
Video: Lack of Freshwater Threatens Matagorda Bay
Fishing and tourism in Matagorda Bay depend in large part on freshwater supplied by the Colorado River. But the drought has all but cut off those flows. The Lower Colorado River Authority says that's not likely to change anytime soon unless Central Texas gets significant rains to shore up water supplies for Austin and nearby cities. In the meantime, wildlife and recreation on Texas' Gulf Coast have suffered.
November 26, 2013 6:30 am
Is A Gridlocked Congress Good For Texas Oil & Gas?
Last week, there was a lot of news out of Washington about the "partisan gridlock" that has prevented Republicans and Democrats from compromising and passing laws. It's an important issue to the Texas oil & gas industry. In some ways, the industry thinks it could benefit more if the federal government does less. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling explains why that is.
November 23, 2013 6:00 am
Water Recycling Minimal But Growing On Texas Oilfields
As the drought continues across Texas, more oil and gas companies are considering the long-term benefits of water recycling, and state officials are trying to make the transition easier.
November 19, 2013 6:30 am
License To Drill: How Ex-Felons Can Operate Oil & Gas Wells In Texas
There's a lot of money being made in Texas with the surge in drilling for oil & gas. Maybe you've thought about how you could get a piece of the profits by investing in some of the wells. If so, StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling has a warning: The person running the company might be a felon — and that's just fine with the state of Texas.
November 17, 2013 6:00 am
Advocates: Saving Matagorda Bay Could Take Legal Action
Environmental advocates and fishermen along the Gulf Coast met this week to discuss the uncertain future of Matagorda Bay's ecology. Their conclusion: Saving it could require legal action.
November 13, 2013 6:30 am
As Texas Petrochemical Industry Booms, Warnings Of What Could Cause Bust
Early next year, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a case that some say could have serious consequences for the Texas economy. The case involves new rules for industries that pollute the air. The state of Texas brought the case because it says those new rules could be devastating to profits and employment in the refining and petrochemical industries. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling wanted to find out what's known about the cost of reducing pollution.
November 11, 2013 4:53 pm
Why Prop Six Could Mean More Water Investments
Now that Texas voters have approved Proposition 6, which allows the state to borrow from its rainy day fund to finance water infrastructure projects, they may have also given a boost to water infrastructure investors. Experts say betting on water projects could be a wise move.
November 11, 2013 5:38 am
UH, UT And Texas A&M Collaborate In Investigating Offshore Safety Issues
The University of Houston is part of a group that will manage the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, which will provide the energy industry and regulators with reliable knowledge about critical safety issues. Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin are also collaborating.
November 9, 2013 6:00 am
Expensive State Troubles and Thrifty Voters
Texas voters said yes to a big-ticket proposition for water projects and no to some other spending items, leaving a question for policymakers with a to-do list full of expensive problems: Is the public willing to go along?
November 6, 2013 12:56 pm
How Texas Voted On Prop 6
Proposition 6 — a plan to move $2 billion dollars from the state's Rainy Day Fund to finance water projects in Texas passed with 73% in favor last night. For StateImpact Texas Mose Buchele reports on how the vote went down and what comes next.
November 5, 2013 6:30 am
Texas Oil Drillers Look For Ways To Snuff-Out Flared Gas
The oil industry is staying busy in Texas. State regulators are issuing over a thousand permits a month to allow the drilling of oil wells. But the state is also issuing hundreds of permits to burn millions of dollars worth of natural gas — just to get rid of it at the oil well site.
October 28, 2013 6:30 am
Would Igloos Lower Risk Of Fertilizer Explosions?
Six months ago in the town of West, a fire at a fertilizer storage facility caused a massive explosion, killing 15 people. In coming weeks, federal regulators are supposed to submit their proposals for what could be done to reduce the risk of explosions where chemical fertilizer is store by the ton. There are at least 74 such facilities in Texas alone. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling looked into what changes might protect communities, including the use of buildings that look like igloos.
October 21, 2013 4:06 pm
Ultra Petroleum Takes $650M Stake In Utah's Uinta Basin
Ultra Petroleum is expanding its operations into Utah. The North Houston-based company announced it is purchasing a tract of oil-producing land for $650 million.
October 21, 2013 5:30 am
OPEC Plus 40 — How Houston Changed, Then And Now
Forty years ago this month, the oil producing countries of the Middle East decided to cut oil exports in what became known as the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. It sent a shock around the world, forcing everyone to rethink how they acquire, and consume, energy. How did the embargo change Houston and how are the effects still felt today?
October 17, 2013 6:30 am
Why Fracking's Gusher Of Geothermal Energy Is Wasted
Across Texas, oil and gas companies have drilled thousands of new wells, bringing up millions of barrels of oil and vast quantities of natural gas. But something else has been shooting up to the surface: millions of gallons of water. Often times that water is very hot — which means it could be put to a very good use. But it's not. Here's why from StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling.
October 12, 2013 6:00 am
TCEQ: Judge Wrongly Said the State Should Protect the Atmosphere
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is appealing a lawsuit that it has already won — and that was filed by children. Environmental advocates say the case is a waste of state resources.
October 10, 2013 6:30 am
How Oil & Gas Drillers Are Trying To Earn Creditability With Environmentalists
Over the next two years, the federal government will start enforcing new rules on oil & gas drillers. The rules require that the drillers use "green" technologies to reduce the loss of methane gas that comes up out of the ground when new wells are drilled. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling has been looking into the environmental effects of drilling. He found that some companies are now opening themselves up to new scrutiny to prove what they’re doing won't hurt their neighbors.
October 9, 2013 3:39 pm
Houston Expands Electronics Recycling Across The City
In an attempt to divert electronic waste from landfills — Houston officials will open dozens of new locations where people can drop off old computers and electronic parts for recycling.
October 7, 2013 6:30 am
How Hurricanes That Hit The Texas Coast Can Float Giant Tanks
We're in the last two months of hurricane season. In years past, big storms have done billions of dollars of damage along the Texas Gulf Coast. Now, questions are being raised about what is not being done to protect one vulnerable type of structure: the huge tanks that hold toxic chemicals and petroleum. High winds and high water can cause them to float, sometimes with disastrous results.
September 25, 2013 6:30 am
The Father Of Environmental Justice Sees Danger In How Texas Regulates
Texas is leading the nation in creating jobs. One factor is the big growth in the oil and gas industry. But as more wells are drilled and more crude is processed, there are worries about pollution and its effect on communities. Just who benefits and who loses? Here's StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling with more on what's called "environmental justice."
September 24, 2013 1:38 pm
UH Geoscientists Focus Their Attention On An Active Fault In Pakistan
Today's deadly earthquake in southwestern Pakistan happened along a branch of a fault that will be getting a lot of attention here in Houston. A geoscientist at the University of Houston has won a nearly half-million dollar grant to better understand the largest fault of its kind in Central Asia.
September 22, 2013 6:00 am
As Austin's Lakes Dwindle, Gulf Coast May Also Suffer
As the Highland Lakes that supply Austin drop to near-historic lows, the Lower Colorado River Authority is considering cutting off flows to Matagorda Bay. But officials on the Gulf Coast say the move could devastate the economy.
September 17, 2013 6:30 am
Texans Use Less Power Than Expected, Baffling State Regulators
Something unexpected is happening in Texas when it comes to how much electricity we're all using. It's less than what experts had predicted. Exactly why this is happening is somewhat of a mystery. But as StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found, the consequences could determine if Texans have to pay more for the electricity they are using.
September 16, 2013 2:39 pm
Houston Police Make Arrests During Keystone XL Pipeline Protest
Over a dozen people are facing charges after a protest in downtown Houston over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
September 14, 2013 6:00 am
On Guadalupe River, Tubers and Consumers Face Low Flows
Many Texans gauge the health of the Guadalupe River by the speed of their tubing trip. Given the drought conditions plaguing most of the state, people come prepared to walk. On a broader scale, the shallow spots are indicative of the growing demand on the spring-fed water source.
September 12, 2013 6:30 am
Restoring Power: What Houston Learned From Ike
Five years ago this week, much of Houston was without electricity. Hurricane Ike had ripped-down power lines as the storm's winds exceeded a hundred miles an hour. Would another hurricane put 2 million utility customers in the dark for days as Ike did?