House approves bill capping what Texas consumers would pay for new tool to boost power plants
Senate Bill 7 would limit how much electricity customers could end up paying if the state opts to use performance credits, which would give the money to power generators in hopes they’ll add more power to the state grid.
Texas House’s weekend off means key Senate bills die after missing a legislative deadline
Priority bills that died include a 10-year minimum sentencing for gun-related crimes, a ban on “critical race theory” at public universities and LGBTQ-related legislation. While the bills may be dead, lawmakers have a limited time to attach their ideas to legislation that are still alive.
Texas leaders want a new way to attract businesses here. But they can’t agree on how to do it.
The two chambers have 10 days to cut a deal before the end of the legislative session, and they are miles apart on some of the very foundations of a corporate tax-abatement bill considered to be a priority for Republican state leaders.
Water-saving and energy-efficient products will be sales-tax free last weekend in May
If you need a new dishwasher, plants to spruce up the yard, or just want to stock up on light bulbs, Memorial Day weekend may be the time to shop. Texans pay no sales tax on qualifying energy-saving and water-saving appliances and products.
Houston-area chemical fire highlights gaps in Texas environmental enforcement
A fire broke out at a Deer Park Shell plant the day after a public hearing on renewing the permit for ITC, a nearby facility that caught fire in 2019, sparking a Texas Tribune/Public Health Watch investigation that documented failures in state and federal oversight.
Texas utility commission chair raises threat of summer power outages and pushes for more gas-powered electricity
Public Utility Commission Chair Peter Lake said renewable energy could be critical to preventing power outages this summer. Renewable energy supporters said the grid’s reliability doesn’t hinge on wind and solar.
Toxic benzene lingered for weeks after shelter-in-place warnings ended following 2019 Houston-area chemical fire
The Texas Tribune analyzed previously unreported air monitoring data and records from the 2019 ITC chemical disaster near Houston and found that high benzene levels lingered in the air for two weeks after public health measures were lifted. Experts say more shelter-in-place advisories should have been issued.
Solar and wind companies are coming to rural Texas. These residents are trying to keep them out.
In Franklin County, a group of locals are concerned about potential environmental harm from renewable energy facilities and support a bill that would impose more regulations on solar and wind. The industry says it’s being unfairly singled out.
Thousands of pounds of “forever chemicals” have been injected into Texas oil and gas wells, study finds
A new report from a public health watchdog found that more than 40,000 pounds of PFAS has been injected into more than 1,000 wells across Texas — and warned that the chemicals could pose a risk to public health
Gov. Greg Abbott vow to exclude renewable energy from any revived economic incentive program
In 2021, the Texas Senate declined to consider a bill extending the program, which discounted local property taxes to lure big companies to the state. It had become plagued with bipartisan accusations of “corporate welfare.”
In South Texas, opponents say planned natural gas export facility’s carbon capture promises are “greenwashing”
A company planning to build a massive liquefied natural gas export facility near Brownsville says carbon capture technology will reduce its pollution, but some locals say it’s a “Band-Aid on a bullet hole.”
In East Texas, a town fights to keep an oilfield waste dump from opening near wetlands and water wells
The Texas Railroad Commission has rejected the proposal twice over water contamination concerns, but locals are dismayed that the commissioners keep giving the developer more chances to alter its application.
State agency that oversees Texas power grid needs more money to do its job, Sunset Commission finds
The Public Utility Commission has about 200 employees but needs more to handle shoring up the state power grid and tackling an expanded list of regulatory duties, according to the state Sunset Advisory Commission.
GOP lawmakers accuse investment firms of breaking a law that prohibits divesting from oil and gas
At a senate committee hearing in Marshall, Texas Republican lawmakers accused investment firms of pulling back on fossil fuels, running afoul of a 2021 law that prohibits the state from contracting with or investing in companies that “boycott” oil, natural gas and coal companies.
In defamation lawsuit against Beto O’Rourke, lawyers debate whether Kelcy Warren is a public figure
Warren, a Dallas pipeline tycoon, sued O’Rourke in February over accusations he made on the campaign trail that Warren effectively bribed Gov. Greg Abbott with a $1 million campaign contribution following the 2021 power grid collapse.
Texas lawmakers ask state agency to delay power market redesign until after 2023 legislative session
In a Monday committee hearing, lawmakers questioned whether a Public Utility Commission proposal to redesign Texas’ electricity market would lead to the building of more natural-gas-fired power plants. Regulators say it would.
Texas oil and gas agency investigating 5.4 magnitude earthquake in West Texas, the largest in three decades
The quake was the third largest in Texas history, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. An increase in seismic activity in Texas has been linked to injecting fracking wastewater underground.
Corpus Christi sold its water to Exxon, gambling on desalination. So far, it is losing the bet.
Concerns over ecological damage to Corpus Christi Bay have delayed plans to convert sea water to drinking water for years in this booming Gulf Coast city, where environmentalists see water supply as a “chokehold” to block new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Luke Warford tries to break the Republican hold on the Railroad Commission by focusing on the power grid and climate change
One of three seats on the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the oil and gas industry, is up for grabs this election. Democrat Luke Warford is betting his campaign on the issues of electric grid reliability, regulatory enforcement and reducing emissions.
Texas regulators proposed cracking down on harmful plastic “nurdles” — and then changed their minds
The Texas coast is a hot spot for “nurdle” pollution, tiny plastic pellets created in the process of producing everyday products. But a plan to require proactive prevention of their release has been scrapped.
Gov. Greg Abbott touts Texas power grid’s readiness heading into fall, election season
The governor shared the favorable forecast — which is normal for the fall months — ahead of a competitive race in which the grid’s performance during last year’s fatal winter storm may factor into Texans’ decisions at the polls.
EPA reverses course, rejects permit for massive oil exporting project offshore from Corpus Christi
During the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency exempted a proposed oil export terminal off the Texas coast from air pollution requirements. This week it rejected the permit because of pollution concerns.
Texas bans local, state government entities from doing business with firms that “boycott” fossil fuels
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar singled out financial firms under a 2021 state law that prohibits most state entities from contracting with companies that have reduced or cut investments in the oil and gas industry.
City council still divided on how to spend $50M of CPS windfall
The hot temperatures and higher natural gas costs have been pushing up power bills, which increases CPS Energy revenues in turn and the amount the utility passes on to the city. While city staff has proposed giving $50 million back to CPS customers - mostly through bill credits averaging $31 for residential customers- city council members haven’t all signed on to the idea..
“He has total veto power”: Greg Abbott takes control over who will lead Texas’ troubled power grid, sources say
Locked in a potentially tight reelection race and facing criticism over the grid’s 2021 collapse, the governor is exerting unprecedented influence over what the state grid operator shares with the public — and who will be its next CEO.