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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Brains and Eggs: Keystone XL lets it flow

Brains and Eggs: Keystone XL lets it flow: It was declared dead , it came back to life .  Let's call it Zombie Pipeline . The Keystone XL Pipeline runs under Julia Trigg Crawf...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Brains and Eggs: Nobody likes Barry Smitherman

Brains and Eggs: Nobody likes Barry Smitherman: It's not just the residents of Azle and elsewhere in Frackland, but also the media and even a few Republicans.  Let's see what&#39...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Water! It's about Water and Education for Senate 9 Candidate

By Faith Chatham - Jan. 13, 2014
Gregory R. Perry is a quiet-spoken intelligent man. When asked why he is running for Texas Senate District 9, he replied: "Mainly Anger!"
When he begins talking about public policy and how it impacts his grandchildren, it becomes clear that Gregory R. Perry is determined to change the course of Texas public policy. Gregory is convinced that the trajectory of this state is at odds with the opportunities facing his grandchildren and their generations. Gregory R. Perry is a man with a purpose and he knows what must be done and is ready to get to work seeing that it gets done!
1. Education - "Without education no one is going anywhere!" Perry says that even highway funding is inconsequential if we do not educate our children. He is running in an urban district (Arlington,  Irving, Grand Prairie and the Mid-Cities) which has over 89,000 adults who have not graduated from High School.  Unopposed in the Democratic Primary, Gregory R. Perry is facing incumbent Kelly Hancock (R) in the General Election. Hancock voted to slash school funding in 2011 while in the Texas House. In the Senate he has done little or nothing to restore the funding or to strengthen the public education system in Texas. In the Senate, Hancock opposed Equal Pay for Equal Work for women.

2. Public Infrastructure - especially Water - For Gregory Perry it comes down to energy and water. The U.S. Government stopped building reservoirs in the 1980s. The Reagan administration tried to privatize building water reservoir. Perry, retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specialized in water management and river engineering. He says that until the Reagan administration, the Army Corps of Engineers built three reservoirs per decade to keep up with water demands from population growth and expanded industrial usage. When Reagan tried to sell of the reservoirs and speculated that future reservoirs could be constructed by private corporations, they failed to factor in the impact of flood control and sovereignty.
Only the United States Government can claim sovereignty. When reservoirs have to open the floodgates in exercising flood control, the government can defend itself from law suits because of sovereignty. A private company cannot. Therefore, it is too big a risk for private corporations to invest in reservoirs. There is a water crisis in Texas and it will not get better. Deferring investment in water solutions -- long term investment in infrastructure is imperative for the quality of life and economic future of North Texans. Gregory R. Perry worked on the Joe Pool Lake, Lake of the Pines, Sam Rayburn, and Lake of the Pines Corps of Engineers water management projects. He understand water and he knows Texas aquifers. With the stress of trillions of gallons of water used by horizontal drilling/fracking in Texas during drought, water is a priority for this next legislative session. He has worked on the rivers and lakes of Texas and now Gregory R. Perry is prepared to bring solutions to the floor for consideration.

Commenting on the power plants which went off-line during the January cold spell, Perry explains that these plants are coal power plants and it takes longer for a coal plant to come on-line. Water powered power plants come on-line rapidly. However, in Texas we do not have the water to power new hydro powered plants.

We have to think ahead and be innovative and apply sustainable energy solutions throughout the state. "Fossil fuel is a limited resource. We must shift to renewable energy for powering our homes and businesses and save the petro chemicals for producing plastics." Perry sees the current use of fossil fuel as "squandering resources which are too precious to use on generating electricity."

3. Equal Pay for Equal Work - Gregory Perry says that failure to index the minimum wage to inflation has eroded the financial base of families and transferred costs to the government which should be included in the cost of business when making a profit. In Senate District 9, over 48% of the households in the district live on less than $50,000 a year.  About 45% of the households in the District are renters. The median gross rent is $850 a month. Transportation cost is high. The Texas Legislative Council estimates that 110,536 people were living in poverty in Senate District 9 in 2011 and the per capita income is estimated as $25,046. Gregory R. Perry believes all workers should be fairly compensated. Gender and racial workplace discrimination must stop. The percentage of Latino and African American workers are three times more likely to live in poverty than Anglo workers. Texas has a higher employment rate than many other states but 28.6% of Texas jobs are low-wage. Gregory R. Perry says that "Trickle-down economic is a dismal failure. Money flows to the top one percent and American jobs have gone off-shore. Money hasn't trickled down to the middle class. The earning of many of the middle class is now below the poverty level." Gregory Perry cites a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report that the number of families living in poverty in the United States is now at the highest level in 50 years.

Perry sees education as the big divide between economic stability and opportunity.  The Texas Legislative Council reports 26.6% of the adults in Senate District 9 have Bachelor's Degrees or higher. However, 18.1% of the adults 25 years and older do not have high school diplomas. Many of the 45.8% of the district which have graduated from High School have difficulty affording a college education. In 2011 only 45,613 persons in the district were in college, attending university or trade schools. Gregory R. Perry says that lack of education combined with racial and gender discrimination in pay rates and job opportunities impacts the poverty level in the district. When families earn less, they have less to spend. This impacts the retail, housing and wholesale sectors of the district and impacts the overall economics of the region.

Gregory R. Perry does not think in sound-bites. He thinks like an engineer who is interested in macro economics. He views the big picture and looks for short-term solutions as a bridge while  long-term investments can be implemented to prevent future problems.

I found the conversations with Mr. Perry very stimulating. He does not duck and hide from the difficult questions. He is a family man who thinks of the future instead of just trying to put a band-aide on current problems. I find him refreshingly honest and intelligent. He is not a politician. He's neither polished nor evasive! He does have a plan and he has purpose. I like him. He is worth giving serious consideration for replacing the current incumbent in Senate District 9. Visit his website at www.txsen9gregoryperry.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GregoryRPerrySen9/ Google+: https://plus.google.com/114868630917640358013

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