October 24, 2010

Wind power showdown set in Austin

To get a sense of how contentious Monday’s hearing about where to build a massive electric transmission line through the Hill Country will be, consider this: It’s being held at the Austin Convention Center. That’s big enough to hold more than 1,000 people — and there are easily that many with a stake in the outcome. Read full San Antonio Express article here.

Art Exhibit at TSU: “Signs of Life” by Mark Schatz

How do you remember a favorite place like a childhood home or town? Is your memory clouded by idealized nostalgia? Or do you overlay your memory with residual bad emotions? Are you frustrated when you return and find that a remembered place has been forever changed by our ever-sprawling built environment? Learn more

Lake Mead sinks to a new historic low

Pay attention to this reminder of how drought and growing water demands have sapped the Colorado River (the other Colorado River) and its huge reservoirs. Click here

13 seek to bring water to city

By Friday’s deadline, 13 potential sellers responded to San Antonio Water System’s request to help diversify its water sources. With the new approach, water sellers would compete to do the work — obtain pumping permits and pipeline easements, financing construction and, in some cases, work to change state law to allow for a pipeline to be built. Read full San Antonio Express article here.

October 22, 2010

Travis County action to protect the Trinity Aquifer inspires Statesman editorial

The decision by Travis County commissioners to temporarily ban new development over the Trinity Aquifer was not only a good one, but it also should serve as yet another reminder that Texas counties need more land use authority. Read more here.

October 21, 2010

PUC Comments Support Line Alternatives

When the PUC met Thursday, two of the three acknowledged that alternatives filed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas last week for the Kendall-to-Gillespie and Gillespie-to-Newton sections of the wind energy transmission lines appeared to be cost effective. Those comments were encouraging for opponents of the lines who agree that the ERCOT suggestions are less invasive than the route proposed by the LCRA. Read full Fredericksburg Standard article here.

This is Native Plant Week in Texas

The awareness week is sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the National Wildlife Federation, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the City of Austin. The slogan for the week, which occurs during the fall planting season, is “Proud Texans Plant Texas Natives.” Learn about Texas Native Plant Week here.

LCRA to look for new water sources

Long reliant on one source of water for much of Central Texas, the Lower Colorado River Authority will study alternate sources to meet future demands of the growing region, according to a plan the authority’s board approved Wednesday. Read more from Statesman.com here.

Forum to address state water issues, November 6 in Seguin

The League of Women Voters (LWV) and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) are co-sponsoring a regional public forum, “State Water: What You Should Know.” The purpose of the forum is to address issues regarding the allocation of water in Texas. Read more here.

October 20, 2010

Travis County commissioners ban development that uses Trinity Aquifer water

Travis County commissioners unanimously approved a one-year ban Tuesday on nearly all new development in western parts of the county that would rely on water from the Trinity Aquifer. Read full Statesman.com article here.

October 19, 2010

Driven Apart – Land Use and Transportation

“This analysis, once again, shows that many of the assumptions driving big investments of taxpayer dollars that shape our communities are outdated,” said CEOs for Cities President and CEO Carol Coletta. Driven Apart adds to the growing body of evidence that shows compact development that puts many destinations close at hand has unexpected benefits — in this case, less time spent in traffic requiring less spending on highways. If we heed its findings, we’ll save time and money. Full story

October 18, 2010

Preserving national treasures

America’s third national park, Yosemite, the home of spectacular waterfalls, silent groves of ancient trees and an unequaled alpine wilderness, celebrated its 120th birthday this month. The place John Muir considered “nature’s temple” was arguably where the national park idea was born; a uniquely American idea whose enduring meaning is being proved again in the midst of an economic downturn, as millions of families have flocked to Yosemite and other parks to make memories that will last their lifetimes, to reconnect with nature and our shared history. Read full Statesman.com article here.

Texas Rural Billboard Proliferation Continues Unchecked

It seems that every time you drive out of town, a new rural billboard has been built to capture your attention-and spoil the view. Since so many Texas cities (over 200) now prohibit billboard construction, industry growth has moved into the rural areas, exactly where billboards do not belong. Read more from Scenic Texas here.

October 16, 2010

Of Windmills, Powerlines and Sand Plants

As an advocate of private property rights, I support the ability of any landowner to make decisions about the disposition of their property. I’ve always been able to count on the practicality and good sense of those around me to make sure that, no matter what they were doing on their property, it did not infringe upon my property rights. Until now. Read this editorial from Mason County here.

Central Texas Wins Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant

The Central Texas region has been awarded $3,700,000 from the federal Sustainable Communities Partnership, part of the DOT’s, HUD’s and EPA’s coordinated effort to promote sustainable communities through a $98 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. Read more from Envision Central Texas here.

October 13, 2010

Shortest, Cheapest Not Necessarily Best

When it comes to a big electric transmission line in the Texas Hill Country, the shortest and cheapest route is not necessarily the best. In some cases, such as the McCamey D to Kendall route proposed by LCRA, it can be one of the worst. Read full article by Bill Neiman here.

October 12, 2010

Deadline to nominate “Most Endangered Places” this Friday

Preservation Texas is accepting nominations for the 2011 Texas’ Most Endangered places through Friday. The selected properties will be announced in February 2011 in Austin during Preservation Day events. HCA has resources to help you. Click here for details.

Texas leads the nation in loss of farmland

Texas leads the country in total acreage of farmland lost to development between 1982 and 2007, according to a new report from the American Farmland Trust. Read full Houston Tomorrow article here.

State’s budgetary woes may derail water reform

While the establishment of water districts to cover the entire state may be boiling over with some municipalities, a $21 billion shortfall in the state’s budgeting is likely to curtail any serious reform measures. Read full Lake Travis View article here.

Expert: Texas is getting hotter due to global warming

A recent Texas A&M University news release said the heat could bring water shortages, more severe droughts, crop failures and more difficulty controlling air pollution… and the heat will further deplete Texas’ aquifers. Read full USA Today article here.

Wimberley Eco-Fest October 16 at the Katherine Anne Porter School

Wimberley Eco Fest 2010: Living Greener Together, sponsored by Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD), offers a free day of entertainment and ideas, with seminars, booths and activities. The seven hour event features experts giving talks and answering your questions on subjects chosen to offer help to Hays County residents eager to make practical, cost efficient and environmentally sound decisions about their property. Click here for more information. Download flyer here.

October 11, 2010

GEAA to host Town Hall Meeting November 8th in San Antonio

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance invites you to join state, local and county elected officials from San Antonio and surrounding communities to recount your experiences with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and to share your suggestions for improving this agency, in light of TCEQ’s upcoming Sunset Review. Details

October 10, 2010

Environmental Stewardship calls for citizen action – to keep groundwater for local use

The water marketers have taken steps to get Bastrop and Lee county groundwater against our wishes.” The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region L) move towards a $400 million pipeline from Bastrop, Lee and Burleson counties to San Marcos and San Antonio. Learn more here.

Water needs of proposed Colorado River power plant churn opposition

The $2.5 billion White Stallion Energy Center, which would be built just south of Bay City, would burn coal and petroleum coke to generate enough electricity to supply 650,000 homes. But it would also require as much as 7 billion gallons a year of water, nearly the same amount under contract to the City of Leander, at a time when molecules of Colorado River water are increasingly valuable. Raed full Statesman.com article here.

October 5, 2010

PEC Special Meeting October 13th

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 8:30 a.m. at PEC’s E. Babe Smith Headquarters Building in Johnson City. The meeting has been called for the purpose of conducting a Strategic Planning Session. The agenda will be posted on PEC’s website prior to the meeting, and the open session portion of the meeting will be streamed live on the website. Details

Water Symposium will air Sunday, October 10th on TPR

Last week’s water symposium sparked conversation about the rule of capture, water marketing and rainwater harvesting. Listen to Representatives Hilderbran, Callegari and Miller discuss water policy on Newsmaker at 8:00 pm, October 10th, KSTX 89.1. More about the Texas Water Symposium here.

October 4, 2010

Hill Country Transmission Line updates from SOSHE

Click here for the most recent update from Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment following ERCOT, PUC, LCRA actions to construct transmission lines through the Hill Country. The next SOSHE meeting is set for November 9th.

October 3, 2010

Electrification of Transportation Conference

On October 21-22, the Alamo Area Council of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, in partnership with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, will conduct the first ever Advancing the Choice event on electrified transportation. Read more