Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: March 13, 2019

Senators call for truce on climate change

(James Osborne – Houston Chronicle, 03/12/2019. Photo by Zach Gibson.)

“After years of bitter stagnation in the Senate on climate change, a leading Republican and a leading Democrat are calling for a truce. Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., speaking at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit energy conference in Houston Monday, said climate politics had become so divisive that constructive debate had become all but impossible in Washington.” houstonchronicle.com

Reporter’s Notebook: If we want to save the world, should we start with Texas?

(Erin Douglas – Houston Chronicle, 03/08/2019. Photo by Marie D. De Jesus.)

“Houston isn’t exactly known for saving the environment. It’s known for the opposite: big, industrial facilities that contribute to rising greenhouse gas emissions. But Houston, the energy capital of the world, and its home state may be the best chance we have at building out the technology needed to move the needle on climate change in a meaningful way, at least some experts believe.” houstonchronicle.com

Congress launches probe on why Texas and EPA stopped NASA from tracking Harvey pollution

(Susanne Rust and Louis Sahagun – Los Angeles Times, 03/06/2019. Photo by Al Seib.)

“Congressional Democrats are launching an investigation into the fate of NASA’s offer to fly a pollution-analyzing jet over the Houston region in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The investigation was spurred by a Los Angeles Times report Tuesday revealing that officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality declined the NASA offer, arguing data collected by the space agency could cause “confusion” and might “overlap” with their own analysis — which was showing only a few, isolated spots of concern.” latimes.com

Read more headlines

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: February 27, 2019

House Democrats examining EPA enforcement dropoff

(James Osborne – Houston Chronicle, Updated 02/26/2019. Photo by Alex Edelman)

House Democrats are investigating a dramatic drop off in enforcement action at the EPA under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler during the Trump administration, as the president seeks to reduce regulations and build American industry. Among the non-actions under scrutiny is a near 500,000 gallon gasoline spill at Magellan Midstream Partners’ terminal on the Houston Ship Channel during Hurricane Harvey. houstonchronicle.com

Possible delay on Project Brays bridges worries residents

(Zach Despart and Mike Morris – Houston Chronicle, Updated 02/25/2019. Photo by Steve Gonzales)

“New potential delays on a $480 million flood protection project along Brays Bayou that already has proceeded haphazardly for nearly a quarter-century have strained the relationship between the Harris County Flood Control District and the watershed’s residents, many of whom live deep inside the floodplain. The hold-up on the replacement of three bridges over the bayou, prompted by the discovery of utility lines in two of the spans, is just the latest reminder of the disconnect between the urgency residents feel about flood mitigation projects after Hurricane Harvey and the laggard pace of the region’s recovery from the storm.” houstonchronicle.com

Hurricane Harvey survey: 46 percent say they were displaced by historic storm

(Alex Hosey – Community Impact Newspaper, Updated 02/21/2019. Photo by Alex Hosey)

“Almost half of over 13,500 survey respondents had to leave their homes and were displaced for an average of 20 weeks as a result of Hurricane Harvey, according to initial results of the Hurricane Harvey Registry shared to the public on Feb. 21. Mayor Sylvester Turner released the first public report of the Hurricane Harvey Registry, a collection of surveys completed by the people of Houston to detail the amount of environmental exposure and health effects received as a result of the event, at Houston City Hall on Thursday.” communityimpact.com

EcoNotes

  • 25 February
    • French experts propose trillion-euro EU climate finance pact (Natalie Sauer – Climate Home News) climatechangenews.com
    • Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood (Jonathan Lambert – Texas Public Radio) tpr.org
  • 21 February
    • UN Secretary-General appoints Inger Andersen of Denmark as Executive Director of the UN Environment (United Nations Environment Programme) unenvironment.org
    • World’s largest bee, missing for 38 years, found alive in Indonesia (Patrick Barkham – The Guardian) theguardian.com
    • Texas A&M Galveston researchers find rare crustacean that outlived the dinosaurs (Marcy de Luna – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
  • 16 February
    • Global Warming Is Helping to Wipe Out Coffee in the Wild (Somini Sengupta – The New York Times) nytimes.com
  • 12 February
    • Snakes are slithering in Houston thanks to warmer temps (Marcy de Luna – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 8 February
    • Judge’s ruling preserves golden-cheeked warbler protections near San Antonio (Sig Christenson – San Antonio Express-News) expressnews.com

Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: February 20, 2019

Harris County receives grant for regional watershed study; local agencies partner to address flood mitigation

(Kelly Schafler – Community Impact Newspaper, 02/13/2019. Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

“The San Jacinto River Authority, the city of Houston, and Montgomery and Harris counties agreed to partner to provide funds for the San Jacinto Watershed Master Drainage Plan—previously referred to as the Upper San Jacinto River Regional Watershed Flood Mitigation Plan—which could mitigate flooding along the watershed. According to a Feb. 13 release from the SJRA, the project will study the entire Upper San Jacinto River watershed and its major tributaries between I-10 in Houston and Hwy. 30 near Huntsville.” communityimpact.com

City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan

(Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC))

“The City of Houston recently announced its Climate Action Plan that will bring together stakeholders from across the community to develop a variety of cost-effective energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation measures that will reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement. HARC will serve as the technical advisor and lead researcher on the project.” harcresearch.org

‘Match.com for chickens’: Houston Zoo’s secret weapon for saving a species

(Maggie Gordon – Houston Chronicle, Updated 02/15/2019. Photo by Houston Zoo photographer, Stephanie Adams)

While humans have the luxury to search for “The One” from a seemingly infinite choice of 7.5+ billion people, it is nothing compared to the pressure placed upon endangered species like the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken — the survival of which depends completely on pairing off with ideal partners to reproduce in large numbers. To address this problem, scientists at the Houston Zoo have adopted the same solution humans have tapped as the best way to meet a mate: online dating. houstonchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 19 February
    • Companies pin excessive 2017 air pollution on Harvey, one-time events (Erin Douglas – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 18 February
    • Amazon wants half of its shipments to be carbon-neutral by 2030 (Jon Fingas – Engadget) engadget.com
  • 16 February
    • Invasive mussels threaten Texas freshwater ecosystems (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Global Warming Is Helping to Wipe Out Coffee in the Wild (Somini Sengupta – The New York Times) nytimes.com
  • 15 February
    • Climate-fueled nuisance flooding cost this town up to $172,000 in lost revenue (Kyla Mandel – ThinkProgress) thinkprogress.org
  • 14 February
    • Drink salty water or go thirsty – Climate change hits Tanzanian school children (United Nations Environment Programme) unenvironment.org
  • 1 February
    • Texas Gulf wetlands face population, development challenges (Kathryn Eastburn – The Associated Press) apnews.com
  • March 2019 Issue of The Atlantic
    • Do Animals Have Feelings? Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition (Ross Andersen – The Atlantic) theatlantic.com