Archive for ‘Uncategorized’ posts

New Texas Statutes Aimed at Halting Zebra Mussels

Tomorrow marks the official end of summer and, in some sense, the traditional end of the boating season.  In Central Texas, where year-round warm weather is a calling-card, we may not have to head for the dock just yet, but the lakes will probably become a little quieter.  Hopefully they will also stay free of… Full Story

LCRA and the “Drought of Record”

The reservoirs Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis are the source of water on which most central Texans depend and which the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) manages. The reservoirs have experienced periods of drought in the past, with the drought of record in the 1950’s being the most severe and prolonged drought in recorded history… Full Story

Edwards Aquifer and Desalination

Texas groundwater districts are grappling with the difficult task of meeting mounting demands and preserving long-term supplies even as the recent Bragg decision has cast uncertainty over their regulatory authority. With luck, emerging strategies could help to reduce water usage and expand potential sources.  Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill to promote research that could make two particular strategies… Full Story

Texas Cities Can Enforce State-Level Air Pollution Laws

In 2007, Houston created its own air quality program to enforce at the municipal level laws that the state would not.  A local trade group with a masterfully euphemistic name – the Business Coalition for Clean Air (BCCA) – sued the city and argued that state air quality statutes preempted the program.  The city claimed… Full Story

Managing Texas Ground Water: More Difficult than Ever?

Managing the use of ground water in Texas has never been easy.  But a recent string of cases, now topped off by a stunning Court of Appeals opinion in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg, will make it much more difficult to conserve this vital resource for current and future users and to protect the spring… Full Story

Using Komesar’s Participation-Centered Model to learn more about Administrative Process

In his path-breaking book, Imperfect Alternatives (1997), Neil Komesar develops a simple model for comparing the ability of institutions to address various social problems – for example the relative ability of markets versus legislatures versus courts to resolve a particular issue.  Beyond informing questions about institutional choice, Komesar’s model can also be used to troubleshoot processes within… Full Story

Water Infrastructure Bill Could Upend Texas’ Water Planning Process

The water infrastructure bills that the legislature passed last session – and that have to be approved by voters under Proposition 6 in the November 5 special election to take full effect – have received a lot of press coverage, with most attention being given to the jaw-dropping sums of money involved. As with all estimates – particularly complex ones that peer far into… Full Story

Competitive Chemical Regulation: A Greener Alternative

In 2005, the City of Austin discovered that coal-tar based asphalt sealant was killing the highly endangered Barton Springs salamander. The sealant was leaching off freshly sealed parking lots and entering downstream pools where these fragile animals live. The surprise ending to the City’s detective work was not only that the sealant was gradually destroying its river… Full Story

Water Supply and System Loss in Texas

KVUE reported last week that the City of Austin lost 3 billion gallons of water to leaky or broken pipes in 2012 and another 4 billion in 2011 – at the very time Texas was contending with its worst single-year drought on record. The station quoted a city spokesperson as saying that Austin has hundreds of miles… Full Story