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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

California Magistrate Finds BLM Fracking Leases Violate NEPA

Oil and gas producers have tagged California as the next great fracking frontier.  The state has a storied history in the energy sector and remains the fourth largest oil producer in the country, with pumpjacks still scattered around Los Angeles and even hidden within a luxury shopping mall. Its Monterey Shale formation is estimated to contain more than 15 billion barrels of oil – about 64… Full Story

Stormwater as a Source of Drinking Water: The Example of LA

The New York Times recently heralded efforts in Southern California to turn stormwater into drinking water: “Even in this water-starved region, storm and other runoff has become the primary source of water pollution. . . But now, local officials are trying to deal with runoff pollution and another problem — the lack of drinking water — with… Full Story

Ninth Circuit Rules Against PACE Proponents; Texas Bill Shows Way Forward

Back in December, we blogged about PACE litigation and predicted that the sole court that sided with challengers to a federal rule limiting PACE-financing on residential real estate – the Northern District of California – would be overturned.  This week, the Ninth Circuit did just that, snuffing any short-term hopes that may have remained for broad-scale PACE… Full Story

Conservation and Confidentiality: Are the Concepts Compatible?

The dune sagebrush lizard is a light brown, 3-inch long reptile that lives in sand dunes that support low, shrubby shinnery oaks in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas.  The lizard’s habitat overlies a small portion of the Permian Basin, which happens to be the largest onshore oil and gas field in the United States. … Full Story