In a dark basement at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, just north of downtown, sits a small, continually-refreshed stockpile of radioactive waste that awaits disposal. After it leaves Southwestern, it is taken out to the tiny town of Andrews, Texas, where it is promptly added to ... More >>
Earlier this week, the Dallas County District Attorney's office mysteriously dropped all felony charges against Columbia Packing Co. and its vice president, Joseph Carl Ondrusek Jr., for dumping pig blood into a tributary of the Trinity River in January 2012. Counting last month's dismissal of the c ... More >>
Back in the '80s, Prestonwood Country Club opened a course in Plano known as The Hills. To irrigate the greens and fairways, they pumped water out of Indian Creek. What the folks at Prestonwood didn't know at the time, or else chose to ignore, was that the water they were drawing from the creek, a ... More >>
Harold Simmons, 82, who in the last presidential election became the most prolific political donor in the country, died Saturday at the Baylor University Medical Center. His legacy is complicated -- at once toxic, literally and figuratively, and marked by laudable philanthropy. He grew up in Golden ... More >>
It's fun to joke about the filthiness of the Trinity River. It's even more fun to remind Houston that all that urine and feces and prescription medication we flush down our toilets winds up in their water glasses. By all means, this should continue. At the same time, it's worth being mindful of a t ... More >>
Is the gas industry mature enough to have a serious discussion with the American public about hydraulic fracturing, one that explores the benefits of domestic natural gas drilling but also carefully considers methane leaks, groundwater contamination, earthquakes and other potential risks that peer-r ... More >>
The ongoing legal war of many fronts among Dallas-based Luminant, the state of Texas, the EPA and environmentalists is mostly a war of incremental victories.This week, EPA arose victorious. Next month or year? Anybody's guess. Just know that this time, nobody (except the EPA) is totally happy with t ... More >>
Right now, something like 100 U.S. cities have curbside composting programs. That is, residents put their food scraps, yard trimmings and other organic waste into special bins alongside their trash and recycling cans and the municipality hauls it not to the landfill but to an enormous compost heap, ... More >>
Not if you're willing to listen Paul Ryan and his cronies, that is.
Does Texas' biggest electricity generator, Dallas-based Luminant, just have one hell of a poker face, or should we not read too much into Friday's announcement that it will idle two units at its Monticello plant for six months? If you'll recall, the company threatened to idle the units last summer, ... More >>
For four days last October, the Magnablend chemical plant along Highway 237 in Waxahachie burned. A flammable gas cloud had formed during the blending process and had been ignited by a spark of unknown origin. As the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality determined, "It appears that the incident ... More >>
When President Obama appointed SMU prof Al Armendariz to the EPA regional post in Dallas back in 2009, it was to the sound of collective groaning from the energy industry and Republican politicos. Only months before, he'd authored a study citing oil and gas production as a major source of air pollut ... More >>
By 2008, the high price of natural gas, coupled with the novel combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, touched off a modern-day gold rush in the Barnett Shale. Regulators were caught on their heels. "They moved forward very rapidly, and state regulatory programs had a difficult ... More >>
Speaking of the council's Wednesday briefing and sewers and so forth ...There are a few things council will actually vote mid-week, seeing as how they're on spring break next week. Among 'em: a resolution tsk-tsk'ing the Columbia Packing Company in Oak Cliff, infamous for having been caught turni ... More >>
In one of America's wealthiest suburbs, an unlikely band of drilling opponents helped drive away the world's biggest energy companies. Did they save the town or ruin it?
Photos by Taryn WalkerThe crowd at yesterday's Arlington trip sizes up an actively drilling Chesapeake site.Tuesday, Dallas gas drilling task force members -- and city council members Angela Hunt, Linda Koop and, but of course, Sheffie Kadane -- poured out of two white 15-passenger vans and into the ... More >>
When Dallas' drilling rules get tougher, you'll have a professional needlepointer to thank.
Warren Chisum doesn't mind a little chisum in his drinking water. Frackers, oil companies, plastics makers, wastewater managers -- more or less anyone who spews a little shit into our midst in order to keep things running around here has dumped some money into the lap of Rep. Warren Chisum, the R ... More >>
Sam MertenWhat Gov. Rick Perry thinks of the Environmental Protection AgencySurely you're aware of the ongoing battle between the Environmental Protection Agency and Governor Rick Perry over the state's enforcement (cough) of the Clean Air Act. Long story short: The governor says the feds don't h ... More >>
Harold Simmons and the missusBack in February 2009, then-Observer-er Alexa Schirtzinger wrote about how General Electric was burying millions of cubic yards of Hudson River carcinogens out at the West Texas dumping ground owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, the wizard behind Waste Control ... More >>
Two months ago, TXI made a big deal out of shutting down four wet-process cement kilns in Midlothian -- a move hailed by Jim Schermbeck, head of Dallas-based Downwinders at Risk, as "the culmination of a 21-year fight that began in 1989 by a group of residents who found that burning hazardous waste ... More >>
Patrick MichelsEPA representatives hear concerns over current air pollution regulations for the natural gas industry Monday night.They came in striped ties and checkered ties, sport coats and shirtsleeves and the beard stubble of Washington operators on the road. The four white-collar grunts from ... More >>
From an Economic Development Committee agenda item in April 2010For the last several days I've been trying to find out the answer to one simple question: Is the water in Fish Trap Lake -- site of the Dallas Watersports Complex since put on indefinite hold by the Dallas Housing Authority -- safe f ... More >>
Maybe, at some point, we should tell Andrea that council committee meetings are streamed online.Good afternoon from the hoppin'est club in Downtown Dallas, Room 6ES inside City Hall, where the Transportation and Environment Committee is presently meeting, as Bobsky told you earlier today, about i ... More >>
Back in February, Alexa wrote about the pending transport of Hudson River sludge to West Texas, where Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons's Waste Control Specialists will turn one state's trash into one man's treasure. That trash in question are millions of cubic yards of PCBs -- or polychlorinated bi ... More >>
Alexa SchirtzingerStormwater Management Assistant Director Errick Thompson, left, gets a lesson in southwest Dallas developer politics from farmer Frank Bracken.Thursday morning, Cedar Vista neighborhood advocate Frank Bracken -- the southwest Dallas farm owner profiled, in part, in this week's cov ... More >>
Economic pressure from local cities helps clean up smoky kilns
Former County Judge Margaret Keliher keeps trying to blow away the smoke over pollution plans
A body of water worth protecting
Steve Susman is the attorney leading the anti-TXU coal plant crusade down in Austin this morning. Last night in Waco, Steve Susman -- the Houston attorney working pro bono for Mayor Laura Miller's Texas Cities for Clean Air Coalition -- laid out the group's case against TXU and the 11 coal-fired pla ... More >>
In case you missed it, on Sunday some thousand folks gathered at the state capitol building to protest TXU's plans to build at least 11 new coal-fired plants in the state. And, in case you missed it, Laurie "Wife of Larry" David and Sheryl Crow are embarking on a two-week bus tour of the state and ... More >>
Dallas Is Banking On Ethanol, But Is It The Fuel Of The Future Or A Barrel Of Pork?
To Deep Ellum's problems, add this: an underground raging river of poop