Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: February 13, 2019

Houston ranks second in Texas for most unauthorized pollution, environmental study finds

(Erin Douglas – Houston Chronicle, Updated 02/12/2019. Photo by Kin Man Hui)
“The Houston metro area has the second most unauthorized air pollution in the state, analysis of reports filed by companies to state regulators by the Texas Environment Research & Policy Center, an environmental policy nonprofit, found. Over 9 million pounds of unauthorized emissions were released in Houston in 2017, second to Midland, where Texas’ booming oil field, the Permian Basin, is located.”
chron.com

Environmentalists troubled by Sims Bayou chemical spill

(R.A. Schuetz and Massarah Mikati – Houston Chronicle, Updated 02/11/2019. Photo by Melissa Phillip)
Environmental organizations are raising an alarm over the potential health impacts of chemicals spilled Feb. 3 into Sims Bayou near Hobby Airport when an estimated 64,000 gallons of jet fuel escaped from a Southwest Airlines-owned fuel storage facility. Amy Sullivan, who has been monitoring the water quality in Sims Bayou for six years with the water monitoring network Texas Stream Team, said she was flabbergasted Thursday when she went to sample the bayou, as a pearly film marbled the water’s surface, and the overpowering stench of fuel permeated the air. chron.com

Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

(Andrew Sansom and Anna Huff – Houston Chronicle, 02/11/2019. Photo by Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images)
“Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the country. But a downside of this growth is that, coupled with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, many of our existing water resources are becoming overburdened…The answer lies in changing our attitudes and behavior so that, when we do use water, we use it more wisely.”
houstonchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 12 February
  • 11 February
  • 8 February
    • With coyote sightings on the rise in The Woodlands, officials offer safety tips (Marialuisa Rincon – Houston Chronicle) https://www.chron.com
    • Houston, we have a problem for the Houston toad (Cheryl Conley – Houston Chronicle) https://www.chron.com
  • 7 February
    • More Republicans say stricter environmental regulations are ‘worth the cost’ (Haley Davie and Baxter Oliphant – Pew Research Center) http://www.pewresearch.org
  • 6 February

86th Texas Legislature Updates: February 7, 2019

Legislators continued filing bills for the 86th Texas Legislative Session. Recently filed bills include legislation relating to the repeal of permit requirements for intrastate shipment of bees, a restriction on permits authorizing direct discharges of waste or pollutants into water in certain areas of the Edwards Aquifer, and a bill to the establish Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Of particular note is House Bill 942, filed on January 22, 2019, by Representative Rafael Anchia. The bill proposes the creation and the duties of a Global Climate Change Commission. The bill states,

“there is broad agreement between nations, across states, and among scientists that increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases released into the earth’s atmosphere are affecting the earth’s climate…. Recognizing the threat to the environment, economy, and national security, it is the intent of the Texas Legislature to create a global climate change commission committed to working toward mitigating the impact of global change nationally and internationally.”

The deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions–other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor–is March 8, 2019.

Read more About recent Activities of the legislature

86th Texas Legislature- House of Representatives: February 5, 2019

The 86th Texas Legislature formally began on January 8th, 2019. Legislatorss could begin pre-filing bills on November 12th, 2018, for the current session.

Legislators have filed environmentally-relevant bills, including bills relating to the disposal of pesticides, the protection of public freshwater areas, and the creation of a Global Climate Change Commission.

Texas legislators may continue filing bills until Friday, March 8, 2019, which is the deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions – other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the governor.

The 86th Texas Legislature has filed the following bills pertaining to environmental issues throughout the state:

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