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Texas Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor, established in 1999, is a weekly map of Read More

Bill Gives Local Option on Permitting Water Wells for Fracking

One industry lobbyist wants words ‘hydraulic fracturing’ removed, fears ‘ballyhoo’ from fracking foes.

Groundwater conservation districts could chose to require conservation permits for water wells drawing large volumes of water for hydraulic fracturing operations under a bill that drew objections from the oil and gas industry Tuesday but gained support from several water districts and environmental groups.

A committee substitute for Senate Bill 873 by Sen. Glen Hegar, R-Katy, gives local water conservation districts the option, if they chose, to require permits and closely monitor production from water wells drilled for fracking. However, it also gives the water districts the option to exempt the wells from permitting if they chose.

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Cornyn Fights Premature Listing of Texas Species

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment today to reduce funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) listing activities for species in two recent settlements with environmental groups, including the Central Texas Salamanders and Lesser Prairie Chicken. His proposal, introduced as an amendment to the first Senate budget in nearly four years, would cut funding available for listing determinations for species that are based on arbitrary decision deadlines, reached in closed-door settlements of litigation under theEndangered Species Act:

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Global temperatures “likely” to set a new record this year

The Texas state climatologist — the top climate official in one of the most conservative states in the country — has predicted that this year probably will be the warmest on record.

In his periodic report on Texas weather and crops released this week, Texas A&M University atmospheric scientist John Nielsen-Gammon said:

Global temperatures have been relatively flat for the past several years. Some people use that information to try to imply that global warming has stopped. But it turns out that the factors causing global warming are still there, it’s just that the El Niño-La Niña cycle has temporarily trended cooler and has partially masked the warming. In the tropical Pacific, there’s actually fairly cold water just below the surface. With a La Niña event, that cold water is drawn all the way up to the surface, and interacts with the atmosphere and causes it to be cooler. If you leave the refrigerator door open, the room will be a little cooler. If my forecast is correct, and there’s no La Niña to hide the underlying warming trend, global surface temperatures are likely to increase and set a new record this year.

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