As fracking continues to spread to new areas of Texas, local citizens are concerned about its environmental impact and the effect it has on the small town way of life. Big Bend area Sierran Kay Plavidal gives a moving account of how Big Bend/Alpine could soon be on the verge of losing its beauty, uniqueness, and endangering its water supplies. But citizens are organizing themselves.
Last legislative session, a concerted attack on citizens’ rights to contest environmental permits was launched by the Texas Chemical Council and others ran up against opposition from citizens, property rights advocates, environmental groups, and local government representatives. During an invited-only interim hearing this month, those same interests told the House Committee on Environmental Regulation that Texas’ unique Contested Case Hearing (CCH) process was worth preserving, and in fact, could be strengthened.
Last week, a special committee of the Texas House of Representatives began to address the emerging issue of possible links between seismic activity and hydraulic fracturing. The Special Seismic Activity Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy Resources was formed to hear concerns coming from a group of citizens living in the Azle and Reno communities northwest of Fort Worth who have been beset by a series of earthquakes they believe are linked to the numerous oil and gas wells in and around their community.
As the drought continues to tighten its grip on Texas, many communities are taking a serious look at their water supplies. Factors under consideration include supply management review, implementing methods to extend current water supplies, and adding additional water supplies in an attempt to hedge against drought.
The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) has asked the public for input on whether or not they should raise the state’s minimum energy code for new buildings. As a subset of building codes, energy codes are minimum requirements for how energy efficient a new building must be. Aspects such as design, technologies, and construction practices determine a building’s energy efficiency.
Registration is now open for the Earth, Wind & Fire Energy Summit in Dallas, October 4-5. This educational conference will provide balanced perspectives into several current and future energy resources in Texas, and a discussion of their potential as well as environmental and human impacts.
As summer ozone season approaches, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Team is looking ahead to ways we can raise community awareness not only of the hazards of ground-level ozone, but also of how coal-burning power plants are a prime driver of this hazardous pollution. One way to make that link is by offering our users a service to alert them to the local risks of smog pollution -- and always presenting them with information and ways to to take action.