February 2012

It was the entirety of the last ten years of the Barnett Shale compressed, geologic-like, into one meeting. There were the traditional clean air allies melting into the woodwork when it came time to not only protect the air, but the water, and people affected by gas pollution. There was the Big Green, conflicted environmental […]

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Per our warning last week, industry representatives on the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force, assisted by turncoat “resident representative” John McCall, will indeed be trying to rollback setback protections for homes, schools, and hospitals, as well as attempting to allow drilling in city parks at this afternoon’s meeting, beginning at 1:30 pm in room 6ES […]

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(Dallas)—-Kansas City-based Ash Grove Cement Company has submitted a permit amendment to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that seeks permission to convert its Midlothian plant from three wet process kilns operation to a single dry process kiln by 2014. In a cover letter to the TCEQ dated January 13th, Trinity Consultants’ Kasi Dubbs writes […]

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Remember when we only had to worry about smog during the 7-month “ozone season?” Those were the days. Now, thanks to the natural gas industry, people who live in the West also have to worry about it during the other five months of the year. First discovered in Wyoming, then Colorado, and now Utah, “wintertime […]

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“….genetic factors and brain changes triggered by man-made chemicals in the environment are equally to blame for the development of autism in young children,” according to panelists at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science panel in Vancover as reported in the Irish Times last Monday. Professor Scott Selleck of Penn State is […]

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Seems like just the other day we were commiserating with some fellow activists about the lack of infrastructure in the DFW environmental community. Here we are in the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area and yet the amount of staff and resources and institutions doing or supporting basic environmental work is still the same as it was […]

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Revolving Door Exit to Industry in 3, 2…

by jim on February 24, 2012

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Executive Director and figurehead Mark Vickery announced his retirement from government yesterday. He’ll be departing in May to “write a new chapter” in his life. The smart money is betting that the title of this new chapter is, “Using My Government Service to Benefit the Polluters I Supposedly Regulated, or, […]

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If gas industry representatives get their way during the final Gas Drilling Task Force meeting next Tuesday, fracking will be allowed much closer to homes and schools, and even inside Dallas parks, a reversal of previous positions. What’s ironic is that the President of the Dallas Parks and Recreation, Joan Walne, may facilitate these efforts. […]

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You might have already heard or read about the Dallas City Hall news conference that took place yesterday where a new and startling map of gas-drilling leases already approved by the City of Dallas was unveiled for the first time. It wasn’t a product of city staff. A citizen put it together from Open Records […]

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That’s an old grassroots slogan and it’s one of Downwinders guideposts as a grassroots group. Since the moment we were founded, our board has included a wide spectrum of ideological points of view. When your property, family and community are under assault, you’re not really that interested in the politics of the person working beside […]

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After 21 years, four Presidents, countless political battles and lots of pollution, the EPA finally released its health reassessment of Dioxin this past Friday. Like so many environmental decisions from this Administration, the report splits important hairs. While confirming that ultra-low exposures (we’re talking 1 millionth of a gram or less) to Dioxin can cause […]

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This week, we’ve examined new studies linking brain damage to breathing. Let’s take on heart disease now. Short-term exposure – less than seven days – to common air pollutants raises the risks of heart attack, according to a new study that looked at air quality from 100 studies on five continents. “…an improvement in air […]

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Craig McDonald and Texans for Public Justice do a great and basic civic service every year by collecting all the information about which Austin lobbyists got paid by whom to do what. They put out an annual report that analyzes The Lobby by industry, and lobbying firms, as well as by individual clients and lobbyists. […]

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Senior House Energy and Commerce Committee member Democrat Henry Waxman of California and other House Dems released a report on fracking the other day that deserved more attention than it got. Using data that the last (Democratically-controlled) Congress required oil and gas companies to submit concerning the ingredients and volumes of chemicals used in fracking […]

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Wasn’t it just the other day that we were talking about the harms of Particulate Matter (PM) pollution and mentioning that the Obama Administration was holding up new PM standards? And yet on Wednesday the US was announcing a new international effort to cut methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and yes, PM pollution, in an effort to make […]

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Texas Observer Gives Us a Shout-Out

by jim on February 14, 2012

Gather ’round children, and you will hear, when daily newspapers had no peer….Hard to believe now, but not very long ago, daily newspapers hired writers who also reported. These were the kind of literary roustabouts who could go from writing a book, to a New Yorker piece, to how a local bad guy got what […]

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