Tag: Texas

#Keepitintheground — in Texas!

A West Texas oil field photographed from the International Space Station in 2006. Image courtesy NASA.
A West Texas oil field photographed from the International Space Station in 2006. Image courtesy NASA.

Feds defer fossil fuel leasing across more than 30,000 acres

Staff Report

Growing pressure from community groups and environmental activists is paying off. Even in the heart of oil country, federal agencies are starting to take a closer look at the impacts of leasing land for fossil fuel exploitation.

This week, the Bureau of Land Management withdrew all Texas acres from a scheduled April 20 auction. In a notice published April 7, the BLM said the parcels have been deferred in order to further study the public comments received during the protest period. Continue reading “#Keepitintheground — in Texas!”

Will the Zika virus spread into the United States?

South Texas, Florida seen as vulnerable

Climate and demographic factors could make parts of the southern U.S. vulnerable to the spread of the Zika virus.

Staff Report

Combing climate data with travel patterns, researchers with the Center for Disease Control and the National Center for Atmospheric Research say Zika virus outbreaks could occur as soon as this summer in parts of south Texas and Florida.

The study shows that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the virus in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, probably will become more abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms.

Summer weather conditions are favorable for the disease-carrying mosquito as far north as New York City and across the southern tier of the country as far west as Phoenix and Los Angeles, the models show. Continue reading “Will the Zika virus spread into the United States?”

Climate: Texas school board tries to include anti-science message in new textbooks

New books include misleading passages about climate science

Warmer than average temps prevailed around most of the globe in October 2014, according to NASA’s evaluation of the latest satellite data.

Staff Report

FRISCO —New textbooks under consideration for Texas schools may mislead students when it comes to climate science, the American Meteorological Society said in a Nov. 3 letter to the state’s board of education. The group says that several social studies textbooks being considered for classroom use include factual errors. Continue reading “Climate: Texas school board tries to include anti-science message in new textbooks”

San Antonio missions may get World Heritage status

‘The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage …’

The Alamo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It’s been nearly 20 years since a new World Heritage site has been designated in the U.S. but that could soon change. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell last week said the San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, will be nominated for the international list, which recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet.

The most recent U.S. addition to the World Heritage register was the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (administered jointly with Canada) in 1995.

“World Heritage Sites represent an incredible opportunity for the United States to tell the world the whole story of America and the remarkable diversity of our people and beauty of our land,” Jewell said. “The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage and the contributions of Latinos to the building of our country.” Continue reading “San Antonio missions may get World Heritage status”

Feds eye endangered species listing for lesser prairie chicken

Lesser prairie chicken. Photo courtesy Doug Holt/USFWS.

Cooperative habitat conservation plans could avert final listing

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Endangered species and energy development will clash again in the south-central U.S. as federal biologists this week proposed adding the lesser prairie chicken to the endangered species list.

This decision could trigger new scrutiny by state and federal wildlife agencies on permits and operations for energy developers and ranchers that could impact the bird’s habitat in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado — states that are prime grounds for oil, gas and wind development, as well as farming and ranching. Continue reading “Feds eye endangered species listing for lesser prairie chicken”

Woman survives mountain lion attack in Big Bend NP

Two mountain lions rest in a shady spot. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Part of Big Bend National Park closed

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — National Park Service officials say a woman attacked by a mountain lion in Big Bend National Park, Texas, did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Andrea Pinero Cebrian and companions were exploring the Mesa de Anguila, near Lajitas Friday, Nov. 23 when she was attacked. Cebrian was treated by Terlingua Medics.

The Mesa de Anguila has been closed to all visitors while rangers and park biologists investigate and patrol in search of the mountain lion.

“Visitor safety is our main concern here in Big Bend and we will monitor and close the Mesa until we deem it safe for visitors,” said park superintendent Cindy Ott-Jones.

Fatal mountain lion attacks are rare in the U.S. The most recent documented fatality was in June, 2008 in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. In Colorado, the most recent mountain lion fatality was in 1997, when 10-year-old Mark Miedema was killed by an adult female cougar when he hiked ahead of his family on Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wildlife experts say the best course of action if you meet a mountain lion is to stay calm and talk firmly and quietly to the animal while backing away slowly.

Other tips:

  • Do not run.
  • Raise you arms to appear larger.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches, or whatever you can get your hands on. Do not crouch down or turn your back.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back.

Report finds haphazard enforcement of oil and gas regs

Courtesy Earthworks.

Watchdog group calls for moratorium on new permits pending overhaul of regulatory framework

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With only one inspector for every 3,000 active oil and gas wells in Colorado, it’s probably not surprising that the state’s oversight of drilling operations is often haphazard and inconsistent, with enforcement of violations often left to the discretion of individual inspectors.

Colorado isn’t alone in facing regulatory challenges. In a six-state study (Colorado, New Mexico,New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas), an Earthworks report found that 53 to 91 percent of active wells are operating with no inspections — that’s a total of about 350,000 wells that may, or may not, be in compliance with state regulations.

The report also found that violations are frequently not reported and that penalties are often not timely or adequate. The biggest problem, according to Earthworks, is that none of the states studied have enough inspection capacity or rigorous protocols and inspection standards.

Read the executive summary: Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement.

The full report: Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement. Continue reading “Report finds haphazard enforcement of oil and gas regs”