Environment

As part of Texas Public Radio's on-going focus on the environment, we are proud to bring the public and our members special events, stories and initiatives to help improve and draw attention to the city's health and environment.

Garbage Gas: Is Methane Going To Waste In Texas?

Dec 5, 2012
Dave Fehling / StateImpact Texas

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 27 landfills in Texas that are producing enough methane gas to make electricity or provide fuel to power industrial equipment. The agency says another 57 landfills are candidates for such projects.

Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.

It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.

When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.

There's mixed reaction this afternoon to the news that BP has agreed to a deal with federal authorities to pay $4.5 billion in criminal and civil penalties related to the 2010 Gulf Oil spill.

SAWS

San Antonio Water System customers could be facing a rate increase of nearly 10 percent in 2013. An aging infrastructure is one reason, but another is pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency.

SAWS spokesperson Anne Hayden said each year the EPA targets cities to reduce sewage overflows. San Antonio treats more than 250 million gallons of sewage each day. Hayden said 99.9 percent of that sewage never escapes the system, but the EPA wants even better numbers for compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal misconduct related to the 2010 Gulf Oil spill and will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties, the company just confirmed. And it will pay $525 million in civil penalties in a resolution with the Securities and Exchanges Commission. BP will make the payments over six years.

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