Environment

Fire Warning
2:27 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Red Flag Warning Issued For Areas Of South Texas - Fire Danger High

The area in pink is under a Red Flag warning for fire danger until 7 p.m.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for the western part of South Texas due to "critical" fire conditions. The warning is in effect from noon to 7 p.m. due to a dry cold front that will drop temperatures across the state.

Winds of 15 to 20 mph are expected and may reach up to 30 mph in some places. These gusty winds make the danger of wildfires especially high when paired with low humidity and very dry air. Outdoor burning is not recommended, and any fires that do start will likely spread rapidly.

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Construction Impact
9:47 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Decision Postponed On Century Oaks Development

Bexar County

Bexar County Commissioners have postponed a decision on whether a local developer can build hundreds of small-lot homes in far north Bexar County. Commissioners are asking developer Gordon Hartman to meet with attorneys and area homeowners who oppose the subdivision.

Residents of Hidden Oaks near Cibolo Creek fear the development of Century Oaks will cause harm to the environment; specifically, the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, the large oaks trees that are already being cut down, and the water. The land is over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

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Solar Power
11:56 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Council Approves Solar Facility Deal For Brooks City Base

City of San Antonio

In exchange for creating hundreds of jobs, the city has agreed to a business deal with solar manufacturing company Nexolon America.

Nexolon will build a manufacturing plant at Brooks with ordinances to create a reinvestment zone at the base including: A 10-year 100 percent tax abatement, $400,000 in grant money to create 400 jobs, and $12 million for future infrastructure improvements.

Mayor Julián Castro believes the project contributes to the vision of SA2020 to create a highly skilled workforce.

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Winter Weather
5:16 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Get Ready For Cold Weather: Protect Your Pipes

Though temperatures rarely get low enough to freeze and burst water pipes in San Antonio, these kinds of things do sometimes happen, so it is good to know some simple ways to prepare your house for the freezing weather.

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Wildlife
9:30 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Increasing Number Of Black Bears Spotted In South Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Counties along the Texas-Mexico border are reporting higher numbers of hungry invaders from Mexico -- bears -- and wildlife biologists are trying to quickly educate border residents about the dos and don’ts of living with the big mammals.

Black bears are native to most of the Southwest, but in Texas, human development, hunting and trapping drove the ursine wildlife out of most of South Texas and the Hill Country decades ago.

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StateImpact Texas
11:05 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Garbage Gas: Is Methane Going To Waste In Texas?

New Braunfels trash trucks unloading at Mesquite Creek Landfill.
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.

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Environment
2:18 am
Fri November 23, 2012

An Arbor Embolism? Why Trees Die In Drought

A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Andrea Nardini Nature

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

BP Settlement Of Little Comfort To Some, A 'Down Payment' To Others

June 2010: A boom floats in the water as contract workers from BP use skimmers to clean oil from a marsh near Venice, La.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:36 pm

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.

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EPA Regulations
12:58 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

EPA Pushing Compliance With Clean Water Act - SAWS May Increase Rates

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.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Thu November 15, 2012

BP Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $4 Billion In Criminal Penalties For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:32 pm

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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