Blog

A War on Coal, or a War on Climate Change?

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday its plan to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants.  This is the latest salvo in what some Texans (and others) call the “war on coal.”  It is more likely a reluctant act born of political gridlock — a second-best option for a… Full Story

Clean Air Act Doesn’t Preempt Dallas’ Green Taxi Program

The Fifth Circuit has upheld a Dallas ordinance that incentivizes taxi operators to convert to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles by allowing them to cut to the front of holding lines at municipally owned Love Field.  The Association of Taxicab Operators (ATO) had challenged the ordinance, claiming it was preempted under the Clean Air Act… Full Story

Oklahoma Wins SCOTUS Red River Case

The Supreme Court ruled last week against a North Texas water district in a dispute with Oklahoma over water in the Red River basin.  In Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) v. Herrmann, the Court held that Texas did not have a right under the Red River Compact to divert water from within Oklahoma. In 2007, the… Full Story

“Interregional Conflicts” in Texas Water Planning

Since its release, the 2012 State Water Plan (SWP) has served as a blueprint for Texas water planning and a call-to-arms for lawmakers intent on increasing infrastructure funding.  But a recent state appellate court decision highlights the flaws inherent in the SWP and weakens its position as a foundation for future water policy. The SWP… Full Story

Texas’ Changing Relationship with Water

Austin journalist (and full disclosure: Energy Center friend) Ari Phillips recently published a fantastic investigative piece in Texas Climate News on groundwater depletion in Central Texas.  Among the highlights: Insulation from Drought:  Ari notes that during the 1950s drought – the worst on record, as many new stories about the current drought have reminded – “most Texans… Full Story

Texas Considers Benefit Corporations

A bill stalled out in the Texas legislature last week that would have permitted a new type of corporate organization intended to promote social entrepreneurship.  Introduced by state Rep. Stephanie Carter, H.B. 2565 – on the ropes for now, always capable of coming back – would have let Texas businesses operate as “benefit corporations.” Spread of Benefit Corporations… Full Story

Congressional Research Service on Drought

Though there has recently been heavy flooding in the Upper Mississippi, almost two-thirds of the country – including Texas — remains in a drought or abnormally dry.  Against this backdrop, the Congressional Research Service this week released a report on drought causes, patterns and policy responses.  Among the observations: Climactic Conditions Future Conditions Likely to be Drier:  Modeling suggests the… Full Story

Red River Compact Arguments Favor Oklahoma

The Supreme Court held oral arguments this week in the dispute between the Tarrant Regional Water District (Tarrant) and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) over rights to water in the Red River basin.  (For a transcript, click here.  For an audio stream, click here.) The Supreme Court press corps has dubbed the arguments inconclusive.  And the justices at times… Full Story

Water Protectionism Hurts the Economies of Fast-Growing Regions

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a water rights dispute between Oklahoma and a Fort Worth water district.  The outcome will determine the degree to which markets may be used to allocate water and address the impacts of droughts like the one now plaguing much of the country. In 1978, Texas and Oklahoma… Full Story

Plastic Bag Bans Likely to Spread, Regardless of Pending Lawsuit or Legislation

The California Senate last week approved legislation would establish the first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in the country.  And it’s likely that other states – Texas included – will ultimately head that direction. Dallas City Councilmember Dwaine Caraway recently introduced a proposed ban that, if adopted, it would become the fifth local ban in Texas, after Austin, Brownsville, Fort Stockton and South Padre Island.  Numerous… Full Story