The race is on for this area to stay in compliance with federal guidelines on air quality but local leaders are being pushed up against huge obstacles.
The biggest hurdle may be complying with a lower Environmental Protection Agency standard, currently set at 75 parts per billion. San Antonio is just outside that number, while technically still in attainment of the Clean Air Act.
Investigators are looking into a weekend fuel spill that shut down paddling trails on the San Antonio River. Oil booms were still in place along the Mission Reach Monday, but parts of the river closed Saturday were open again.
The good thing is the spill was small and no wildlife were harmed, but this is the second spill at the Calumet refinery, which produces ultra-low sulfur diesel, naptha, specialty solvents, vacuum gas and jet fuel, the product that spilled on the ground and into a San Antonio River tributary late Friday evening.
Padre Island National Seashore has reopened its beaches after cleanup of the oil spill that made its way from Galveston to the southern coastline.
But farther up the coast, government agencies and volunteers are still struggling to clean up the oil that settled in at Matagorda Island, while protecting its wildlife.
It’s been more than two weeks since a barge in the Houston Ship Channel spilled 168,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay. It took a while for the oil to drift southward to the pristine beaches that draw more than 300 bird species each spring.
City leaders are in the middle of talks about a possible ban on single-use plastic bags in the Alamo City. While the debate lingers on, city staff members have come up with several options they will present a council committee with in April.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, says several members of the Texas Retailers Association have requested he find about the legality of some Texas city’s efforts to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.
Flynn is hoping to discover whether plastic bag bans violate sections of the state’s Health and Safety Code:
"Well it’s a health issue -- they want you to use these cloth bags that get so nasty and dirty," Flynn said. "Why in the world would government get involved in something like this? And then, of course, the retailers are getting beat up over this."
A major climate change initiative by the Obama administration has been challenged. The White House, in an re-interpretation of the Clean Air Act, enacted stricter regulations for greenhouse gases, and stated it would begin permitting polluters.
Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in Texas v. EPA. Texas' permitting system for air polluters predates the EPA and the state believes it has done and can do a better job of the permitting.
Embyro-less stem cells will revolutionize the research that has for decades been mired in the moral dilemma. A new study points out another avenue for researchers looking to avoid the "potential-human-life vs life-saving therapies debate."
What does this mean for future efforts in stem cell research and personalized medicine?
A loophole is letting hundreds of oil and gas companies emit a combined 8.5 million tons of toxic chemicals every year in America and they don’t have to tell the public anything about it.
A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project has highlighted industry in Texas as being THE biggest polluter of the eight states they investigated, noting nearly 100 individual facilities releasing 10,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each year.
Officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement as it pertains to Texas’ clean air plan. The resolution allows major polluters like oil refineries some flexibility on clean air permits.
Texas Matters: The Environmental Protection Agency drew fire from gas interests and politicians in how it handled the case in Parker County, which is west of Fort Worth, but the new report finds the agency followed all laws and rules in the investigation. Also on this show: Oil lobby contests crude oil export policy, Texas Monthly's Bum Steer Award(s) and a holiday tamale making tradition.