Environment

Solar Energy
2:41 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

San Antonio & Austin Generate Four Times More Solar Energy Than Rest Of State

A graph generated by Enviroment Texas shows the solar energy generation in some of Texas' major cities.
Environment Texas

According to one nonprofit company, San Antonio and Austin generate the vast majority of solar energy produced in the state. As the expansion of solar moves across Texas, both cities are emerging as solar front runners.

San Antonio and Austin combined for 85 percent of the state’s solar energy installations. That’s according to a report from Environment Texas.

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Water Conservation
2:34 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Texas In Need Of A Long-Term Water Plan

Is the water glass in Texas half-full or half-empty? It depends on who you ask.
Chris Eudaily TPR News

When it comes to water in Texas, unless you’re a farmer, most people in the state don’t care.

A public opinion poll conducted by faculty members at the University of Texas in association with the Texas Tribune found that the economy, immigration and education are top of mind for most, yet water registers as a top issue with only 4 percent.

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Energy Efficiency
12:59 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

You May Qualify For CPS Energy's Casa Verde Program

The Casa Verde program is targeting older homes like this one that could use additional weatherization.
Eileen Pace TPR News

CPS Energy is looking for new applicants to its Casa Verde energy-efficiency program, a weatherization program designed to help families in need reduce their monthly utility bills.

CPS Energy provided no-cost home improvements to 800 CPS Energy customers last year.

CPS Spokesman Albert Cantu says the program offers free energy recommendations for the customer’s individual needs and home, and even sends workers to replace or upgrade items on the list:

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Green Construction
4:48 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Contest Pits Low Impact Development Against Traditional Building

Sustainable Roof Gardens are a Low-Impact Development technology utilized by Madison High School and the Hippolito Garcia Federal Building downtown
San Antonio River Authority

The San Antonio River Authority is using a new contest beginning this week to create awareness for the benefits of Low Impact Development.

"Initially we're targeting the private developer community and their engineers, architects, and landscape architects," says Stephen Graham with the San Antonio River Authority.

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State Park Funding Shortfall
11:53 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Putting Money Back Into Texas State Parks

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Texas lawmakers are looking to save Texas state parks from closing down by making sure that taxpayer funds intended for state parks get there. 

When you go to a sporting goods store and buy a canoe there is a little tax that supports the Texas park system, since a person would be likely to enjoy paddling that canoe on Texas state waterways.

Over the years the state diverted that park tax money and held it in order to balance the state budget on paper.

In the current state budget, $184 million pegged for parks was diverted to help balance the overall budget.

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Environmental Impact
6:11 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Commissioners Approve Controversial Century Oaks Development

Residents of Hidden Oaks off Evans Road say there's little space between their large-lot properties and a densely-designed Gordon Hartman subdivision going in over the aquifer recharge zone
Eileen Pace TPR

Residents are opposed to the densely-designed neighborhood, saying it would adversely affect the water supply and endangered species. Last year, County Commissioners postponed their approval to do further research and to put pressure on the developers to address the concerns of the surrounding property owners.

Residents and water conservationists had expressed concern that the property over the Edwards Aquifer had a high impervious cover ratio that would cause harm to the water supply.

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Environment
11:05 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Laura Bush Encouraging Environmental Literacy Programs In Texas

Former First Lady, Laura Bush, after speaking at the Texas Natural Resources/Environmental Literacy Summit in San Antonio.
Eileen Pace TPR

Former First Lady Laura Bush was in San Antonio Friday to meet with educators at the Texas Natural Resource and Environmental Literacy Summit. Bush is working with a coalition to restore Texas natural lands and promote environmental literacy.

Environmental literacy is more than teaching kids to appreciate nature. Research shows kids who play in nature are more creative, stronger leaders, and have better physical and mental health.

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Environmental Protection
5:37 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Is $29 Million Too Much To Protect Texas Salamander Habitat?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for public comment about granting federal protection for new salamander species in Central Texas.

Protecting these little guys it’s going to cost about $29 million in economic impact over the next 23 years.

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Environment Texas
2:36 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Texas Ranks Tenth in U.S. for Sustainable Building

University of Texas at Austin

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:52 pm

Texas ranks tenth in the country in Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. That's according to a report issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that issues LEED certification.

The LEED 100-point scale rates the design, construction, and operation of buildings, neighborhoods, and homes to promote sustainable infrastructure. It looks at factors such as sustainability, water and energy efficiency, materials, indoor environmental quality, as well as design and innovation to issue one of four different levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

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11:55 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Tracing The Culprit When Fracking Pollutes Water Supplies

Lead in text: 
Several research teams have developed techniques like adding tiny fragments of rust (iron oxide) or synthetic DNA to the drilling fluid to make it easier to identify what drilling rig is responsible for contamination. This practice could help produce hard evidence in cases that are brought to court over natural gas drilling practices.
Scientists are developing ways to add non-toxic tracers to drilling fluid so if groundwater is contaminated, investigators would be able to pinpoint if an oil or gas drilling operation was to blame.

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