About Air and Water

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Report on Capacity Model


Energy Market Overhaul


The Brief: Rift Opens Between Oil, Electric Interests on Market Overhaul

          by John Reynolds,   The Texas Tribune    i

The Big Conversation

The Public Utility Commission's proposed changes to the electric market gained a powerful detractor in recent days: the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the state's oldest and largest petroleum organization.
As reported by the Tribune's Jim Malewitz, TXOGA sent a letter to the PUC last week saying it opposed creating a capacity market "that would pay electricity providers billions of dollars to maintain excess generating capacity." The move also opens a rift between the influential petroleum group and the electric utility industry, which backs the capacity market model.
TXOGA asserted in its letter that the PUC did not have the authority to embark on a market redesign and that a capacity market would not work as intended. Instead, more efforts should be made to take advantage of "smart grid" technology, TXOGA argued.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Texas Among Nation's Worst Water Polluters

Texas Among Nation's Worst Water Polluters

Texas is the second-biggest water polluter in the country, in terms of pounds released, according a new report. But when the toxicity of the pollution is factored in, Texas jumps to the top of the list — and it’s not even close.

Texas polluters released about 16.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 2012, second only to Indiana, according to a report released Thursday by Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group based in Austin. 

And in terms of a measurement that compares pollutants according to how toxic they are, Texas is without rival. According to the report, Texas produced 34 million “toxicity-weighted pounds” in 2012 — 30 times more than the next state, and more than double the rest of the country combined. Almost all of that toxicity comes from one source: the Dow Chemical Company plant in Freeport.

“You can slice your Texas toast either way and it comes up toxic,” said John Rumpler, one of the authors. “We can do it [by weighted toxicity], and Texas comes up among the worst. Or we can just do it by straight-up volume, purely pounds of toxic chemicals dumped into rivers, and Texas still comes up one of the worst.”

The report is based on data self-reported by polluters to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA only requires this information from certain industrial facilities, which leaves out other sources of toxic pollution, including oil and gas drilling, the report notes. 

The Dow plant wasn't among the top 50 facilities in 2012 in terms of total pollution. But its chemical runoff, which flows into the Brazos river and the Gulf of Mexico, included 3 pounds of dioxin, an extremely toxic chemical that can cause reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage, and cancer. According to the EPA's guidelines, that's equivalent to 33.4 million toxicity-weighted pounds. 

A Dow spokeswoman acknowledged that the facility had released 3 pounds of dioxin, but disputed the EPA's toxicity measurement.

"Our water emissions are closely monitored and reported and we are in compliance with all state and federal permits," the spokeswoman, Trish Thompson, said in an email.

According to the EPA's website, the Freeport plant was noncompliant for 12 consecutive quarters ending in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available.

The top overall water polluter in Texas was the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken-processing plant in Mount Pleasant, which in 2012 dumped 2.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the Tankersley River in Northeast Texas, the report says. Most of those toxins were nitrates, chemicals found in fertilizer that can cause infant health problems and oxygen-depleted “dead zones” in waterways.   

A spokesman from Pilgrim's Pride said he couldn't comment without having read the report.

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, said the case of Pilgrim’s Pride shows that Texas water pollution is a statewide issue not limited to the chemical plants on the coast. 

“There are still millions of pounds of very dangerous chemicals going into our waterways which could put human health and the environment at risk," he said.

The report recommends that the federal government approve rules proposed earlier this year by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would extend Clean Water Act coverage to more small waterways. It also calls for stricter enforcement of existing regulations. According to Rumpler, lax state enforcement is a major reason for Texas’ poor water pollution record.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is responsible for enforcing environmental regulations in the state, "has not done its job in terms of either enforcing limits on pollution, or attaching stringent enough pollution limits in the first place to ensure that Texas rivers are clean," Rumpler said.

A spokesman from TCEQ declined to comment, saying he had not yet read the report.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/06/19/texas-among-nations-worst-water-polluters/.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

'Turn Red Seats Blue and END the Obstruction in Congress'

'Turn Red Seats Blue and END the Obstruction in Congress'

I'm supporting David E. Cozad for Congress. To stop the obstruction and have enough votes for Texas's priorities to be funded, we must send 7 more Democrats from Texas to the U.S. Congress.

To pass Pay Day Fairness we must change the ratio of Red to Blue.

Every Republican (women and men) voted against fairness for women in the workplace.

David E. Cozad will fight for Pay Day Fairness.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fracking fluid may be headed from Johnson County run-off into Joe Pool Lake

http://www.wfaa.com/home/Runoff-from-injection-well-site-worries-land-owners-138163754.html by CASEY NORTON WFAA Posted on January 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM Updated Friday, Jan 27 at 11:58 PM JOHNSON COUNTY - Rain raised lake levels and eyebrows in Johnson County. Water broke through a containment wall at a saltwater injection well and into a creek. Land owners want to know why authorities aren't doing more to stop it. Home video shows white water pouring through the berm during Wednesday's rainstorm. What was supposed to be contained inside the saltwater injection well site ran through an unnamed creek. The property owner says it's not the first time the berm has broken. "It does look different. It does smell different," Jennifer Dunlap said. "And we have had instances when the water in the creek has a sheen on top of the water." Dunlap is worried the cloudy, white water could be mixed with fracking fluids. Every day, dozens of trucks unleash fracking wastewater into a trough system. It splashes out the back of the tankers. That waste is collected in the trough and pumped into tanks, a reservoir or underground, but Dunlap is not sure how much from the haulers sprays onto the ground, sitting there until a heavy rain pushes it all into her pastures. "We've had some cattle that have been sick," Dunlap said. "Of course all the trees along the creek have died." She pointed to home video that showed dead trees near the creek bed. Video taken Dec. 5 shows a fog running through the creek. After a year of wondering about the site, that event was enough for Tim McCloskey to start documenting overflows with his camera. "This is our creek here, and in the summer time, there is a lot of white haze along the sides of it after the water recedes," McCloskey said, pointing to the stream that runs the length of the property. The EPA says it has investigated two complaints. On Oct. 13 and Dec. 5, 2011, it found no violations of the Clean Water Act. A spokesperson said rainwater that over tops the berm is not illegal. Containment is enforced by the Texas Railroad Commission. It says all sites are required to have secondary system, in case storage tanks leak. Laws say rainwater runoff is only a problem if the water contains elevated chlorides. That would prove contact with oil and gas waste. The Railroad Commission didn't say if it tested the water from this site. The company did not return calls from News 8, but a manager at the site showed us how standing rainwater was pumped into those same haulers. Once collected, it was then dropped into the trough with the fracking waste. The manager said there was never a breach in the earthen wall, but from Dunlap's property and inside the wall, one can clearly identify new gravel filling a gap in mud and grass. Dunlap has hired a private lab to test water samples on her property. "We know that creek goes into Joe Pool Lake, which is one of the main water sources for North Texas," she said. "I know I would not want to have that lake contaminated." Lab Tests may not reveal any contamination, but Dunlap wants to know what's in the water as long as it continues to flow through her pastures. E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

Travel to other worlds ... UTA Planetarium

Immersive full-dome 3-D Digital planetarium show narrated by Ewan McGregor (Obi wan Kepobi from Star Wars) - Astronaut takes you exporing the worlds of inner and outer space. The movie is projected all around you. You recline in specially constructed chairs which enables you to comfortably view the immersive full-dome planetarium show. Astronaut! (produced from the National Space Centre in England) goes beyond the stereotypical space movie. Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of the astronaut. Float around the international Space Station moving thorugh the microscopic regions of the human body! Discover the beauty and perils as "Chad", the test astronaut experiences everything thrown at him.

Summer Schedule (June 2-August 26):


shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Wed. through Saturdays at 11 a.m.
and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Cosmic CSI

shows at the UTA Planetarium 3-D Digital Dome.

Wed. through Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Rock Hall of Fame 1 (The Original)

shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Read more (Warning their flat dull website doesn't give much of a glimmer of the multi-dimensional experience you'll have once you enter the dome of the UTA Planetarium!)

Admission: Adults: $5.00

Seniors, Students, Children: $4.00

UTA Faculty, Staff & Alumni (with ID): $3.00

UTA Studens (with ID): $2.00

Groups of 10 or more with reservation: $3.00

Call 817 272-1183 or e-mail planetarium@uta.edu