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mexican free-tailed bats
Reporting

Threatened: World’s Largest Bat Colony Waits for Leaders to Digest the Science

As an estimated 10 million Mexican free-tailed bats — nursing mothers and their young — began to form into a swirling gyre and rise on a gentle South Texas wind, a small crowd gathered on split-wood benches overlooking the slowly darkening Comal County cave for a lesson in bat ecology […]

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San Antonio’s Poor Clean-tech Ranking Due to “Jockeying,” Lost Data Set

San Antonio’s standing nationally on the clean-tech scene could be better. But for a newcomer on the scene being ranked 42 among U.S. cities is still commendable, according to Bryce Yonker, director of business development at Clean Edge. “The places that are at the top have been at this for […]

west fertilizer blast
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West Fertilizer Explosion Death Toll A Rolling Target

I have to credit a much-overlooked story from the Dallas Morning News for pointing my nose back to West this week (which, in return, revealed an uncomfortable pattern of stack failures at an Eastside San Antonio chemical company). Randy Lee Loftis reported Monday that the death toll from the West Fertilizer disaster is […]

ammonium nitrate
Reporting

After West: San Antonio Chemical Plant’s Compliance History Demands Scrutiny

In the summer of 2007, a pump at the Blue Line Corporation in East San Antonio was “inadvertently turned off,” releasing about 50 pounds of hydrochloric acid into the air. Five employees at a nearby business began to experience breathing difficulties and called emergency responders. Four were examined onsite for complaints […]

texas boat drought
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Conservation and Desalination: An Alternative Prescription For Texas Water Management

The nation needs $384.2 billion dollars in water infrastructure and development to meet its needs for clean drinking water, according to a recent EPA report to Congress. The figure reflects the fact that the bulk of the nation’s water systems are approaching the end of their life expectancy. The authors of […]

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Governor Perry Vetoes Hard-Right Endangered Species Bill

It was an endangered-species bill seemingly made in red-state heaven. The economic engine of Texas first, the myriad unique creatures fashioned by the God of the Bible second (complete with a commissioned study to recommend policies “to defend against the overreaching inclusion of species on the Endangered Species List by […]

texas sea level rise
Reporting

Sea-Level Rise in Texas: Science & Self-Censorship In An Age of Urgency

A new report on the dangers of accelerating sea-level rise along the Texas Gulf Coast from a coalition of leading scientists and state research institutions is a call to action. However, while the report “The Risk of Rising Sea Level: Texas Universities Ready and Able to Help Coastal Communities Adapt” (pdf), pulls […]

U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11
Reporting

Agent Orange: Gulfport Residents Fear Silent Killer Stalks Them

One month after ATSDR gives the “all clear” to current dioxin risk, the U.S. Navy prepares for a new cleanup effort. [NOTE: This is likely the most important story I wrote during my time in Mississippi. While it was on the front page of the Gulfport paper on September 12, […]

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San Antonio Trailing In National ‘Clean Tech Leadership’ Rankings

San Antonio (and Houston, and Dallas, and Austin) have made important strides in building increasingly sustainable cities rich in low-polluting clean-tech technologies and developing carbon-reduction strategies. San Antonio’s CPS Energy and Austin’s Austin Energy continue to lead nationally in green-power sales, for instance, and important weatherization efforts, electric-vehicle charging stations, […]

close san onofre
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San Onofre Nuclear Closure Will Take Decades, Cost Billions

Southern California Edison’s website boasts that the triple-reactor San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is the region’s “largest and most reliable source of energy.” Three hundred and fifty billion kilowatt hours of energy generated since 1968 that have been “virtually free” of pollutants. And yet utility officials announced today that the […]

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San Antonio River Authority Tackles Flooding As Helsinki Hails Storms

It’s not a groundbreaking pronouncement, but the message at the seventh European Conference on Severe Storms being held in Helsinki, Finland, this week is to hold on for more storms. For some time, Texans have heard (and recently have begun to feel) that climate change heralds a drier, hotter world. While citing […]

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Austin Energy, CPS Energy Rank Nationally for Green Power Sales

Municipally owned Texas utilities Austin Energy and CPS Energy still have some of the most robust renewable energy profiles in the nation, according to a survey by the U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). NREL’s annual Utility Green Power Leaders survey for 2012 ranks Austin second for total amount of […]