October 2012

Here's a radio report by KUHF out of Houston that features DFW's own Rita Beving and Rep. Lon Burnam talking about the sorry state of IT at the Railroad Commission. You can't get a good map of a pipeline, look up violations, or report problems in a timely way. One of the RRC Commissioners themselves […]

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It may come as a shock, but the EPA and industry view exposures to toxic chemicals in basically the same way that a famous 16th-Century  occultist named  Paracelsus did over 500 years ago: The amount of exposure to a chemical determines its toxicity; the higher the dose, the more toxic it is. The lower the […]

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A dozen environmental and citizens groups filed a petition with EPA on Wednesday to close a loophole in the law and include oil and gas pollution in the annual system of self-reporting emissions and releases with which most US industrial polluters already have to comply. The Toxic Release Inventory, or TRI, was created in the […]

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Looking for something to do this Friday late afternoon? Why not join concerned Dallas citizens for a fun little encounter with officialdom out at the newly made-over "Luna Vista" municipal golf course by North I-35. Members of Dallas Residents at Risk – a coalition that includes Downwinders – will be showing up at the grand […]

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Texas environmentalists are a hardy lot. They have to be given the state's political leadership over the last two decades. Being from Texas, we know what lost causes look like, and how to most gloriously lose them. Being environmentalists, we understand that you have to wade through a lot of biowaste to get any energy […]

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When the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster struck Japan last year, there was a lot of gaps in information about radiation levels, and a lot of public distrust with official pronouncements about those levels. As a way of getting around this, some entrepreneurs teamed up with software and hardware engineers and started building small portable […]

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EPA Interpretation of Soot Regs Under Fire

by jim on October 22, 2012

In an important challenge to the way EPA has gone about regulating the tiniest and most harmful forms of soot, or "Particulate Matter" pollution, attorneys for environmental groups seem to making some headway in the courts. Currently, EPA is about to recommend new PM pollution rules that will reportedly lower the exposure standard for "PM […]

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One of the most basic arguments of industry opponents of clean air regulations is that they really don't do that much to improve public health. Given all the studies concluding that increases in air pollution lead to increases in illness and death, this argument is every bit as plausible as denying global warming at this […]

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It was inevitable. Like chocolate and peanut butter. Like rats and the plague. Two notoriously polluting industries find solace in each other's ability to scratch each other's dirty, irritating itches. Cement plants are always looking for ways to get paid to burn other people's garbage. It takes a lot of energy to fire a 20-foot […]

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What Kevin Said

by jim on October 17, 2012

Kevin Drum talks about the politics of Climate Change, and why it never came up in last night's presidential debate.

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This is what we call enforcement. Italian Justice Department officials seized a cement kiln run by Italcementi, the world's fifth largest cement manufacturer, near the village of Velletri, southwest of Rome, for not completing updates in equipment that would bring it in line with European Union environmental standards. It's the second time this year that […]

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For most of modern history, Texas Governors haven't served more than two four-year terms and most had trouble doing that. Although they might be able to appoint a lot of folks to state agencies, current Governors couldn't re-make the agency into their own private fiefdom because there were too many members who owed their jobs […]

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GAO stands for Government Accountability Office. We bet you didn't think there was such a thing. The GAO is in business to issue reports on how government works and doesn't work. It's the audit and investigative arm of the Congress. Today comes news that the Office has issued two new reports on fracking – one […]

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We can't tell you how many times a resident from DFW will go on a business trip or vacation to a less-polluted place and report an almost instant shedding of the ill effects of dirty air, only to have an almost equally fast re-acquaintance with those effects once they return. Could air pollution really make […]

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You may remember that Dr. Jay Olaguer with the independent Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) set off a bit of a controversy last month with publication of a new study showing that gas mining activity in DFW was "significantly" increasing local smog levels 2 to 8 miles downwind. His report focused on flares and compressors […]

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A new analysis of the historic 2009 Cook Children's Hospital survey of regional childhood health confirms that higher levels of Tarrant County childhood asthma track closely with the downwind pollution plume coming from the three Midlothian cement plants in adjacent Ellis County. According to researchers Patricia Newcomb and Alaina Cyr from the UTA College of […]

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