Tag Archives: Texas Environment

The Great Wall of Trump – Not so Great for Texas Wildlife

The Texas Tribune (in an article by Kiah Collier and Neena Satija) explains how the Great Wall of Trump planned for the border will have a potentially devastating impact on wildlife in the incredibly bio-diverse region that is the Texas-Mexico border along the Rio Grande or as Red prefers the Rio Bravo del Norte.   The problem is made greater because the Congress allowed the Department of Homeland Security to basically ignore all the environmental laws that would’ve required the agency to fully study how the Great Wall of Trump would affect wildlife.

 What the border fence has kept out instead, according to environmentalists, scientists and local officials, is wildlife. And the people who have spent decades acquiring and restoring border habitat say that if President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to turn the border fence into a continuous, 40-foot concrete wall, the situation for wildlife along the border — one of the most biodiverse areas in North America — will only get worse.

When you envision the U.S.-Mexico border, you might think of a barren, dusty desert. But it actually ranks among the most biodiverse places in North America — particularly the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. The Valley is home to some of the last remaining tracts of sabal palm forest in the country — a lush, subtropical ecosystem that is prime habitat for an endangered wild cat called the ocelot.

Two major migratory bird paths also converge in the region, and several tropical bird species there can’t be found anywhere else in the United States. More than 100 other endangered species may be impacted by construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an analysis of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data.

As Red has noted, this is what the people voted for and this is what they deserve to get.   Screw a bunch of ocelots and coatis if it will keep one more illegal alien from trying to make a better life for himself or herself in the land of the free.   And it will be a minor deal compared to the screwing that many Trump voters are going to get with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Trees are a Communist Plot

Image result for donna campbell new braunfels

State Senator and Tea Party favorite Donna Campbell of New Braunfels is up in arms about municipalities protecting trees.  It’s the latest attempt to wrest control of local issues away from the citizens of Texas cities and have policy dictated by the right-thinking stalwarts of the Texas Legislature.

Campbell has introduced Senate Bill 782  which provides that a landowner owns the trees on his or her property, and limits the mitigation fee that a local government can impose on a landowner for removing trees greater than 10 inches in diameter.  According to Campbell, her bill:

“limits the power of government by ensuring Texans have solid ground to stand on when it comes to managing and developing their own land. City tree ordinances are some of the most egregious examples of property rights violations in our state, affecting millions of property owners in Texas. It’s time to shift the balance of local control back in favor of local liberty.”

What a crock.  If the voters in these godforsaken liberal bastions don’t want tree ordinances they are perfectly capable of voting out their council members and mayors who have enacted them and replacing them with Tea Partisans like Campbell.  Red guesses that aint happening and Campbell just can’t stand the thought that others may not believe the Tea Party nonsense she spouts.

Bottom line – Teabaggers like Campbell believe in local government right up to the point where they don’t agree with the policies enacted.  So Campbell and her Tea Party sycophants do not believe that Texas cities have the right to enact ordinances to protect their local environments and preserve their natural resources as they see fit for their communities.

Red won’t call Campbell a “ten dollar whore” of the development lobby because she probably has raked in a lot more than that in campaign contributions from the big developers who view trees as impediment to more profits.  Red is sure she can justify being bought and paid for because she probably believes her own BS.

Wigglers in the Water

Residents of a small Texas town woke up to discover that water coming out of their taps was contaminated by tiny red worms.  Red for one is totally grossed out.   The Houston Chronicle has more.

 No one seems to know how worms got in the tap water, but residents in Old River-Winfree, a town of about 1,400 people 25 miles east of Houston, are drinking from bottles this week.

On Monday evening, the first residents of the Woodlands Acres Subdivision showed up at city offices with containers full of water and small red worms they say came out of their faucets, sprinklers and shower heads. Three days and dozens of reports later, Mayor Joe Landry said, “people are not taking chances.”

Landry’s office has been using city money to buy bottled water to hand out to residents. When he spoke by phone with the Houston Chronicle, he had just returned from the nearby Dollar General to restock the water supply. City officials have handed out at least a thousand bottles, he said.

He also opened three men’s and three women’s shower facilities in the city office for any resident to use.

Landry said representatives of J&S Water, the town’s private water utility, have told him that the company had an electrical problem and its chlorinator stopped working. J&S did not respond to inquiries from the Chronicle.

“We’re hoping for an update as to where we need to go with the situation from here,” he said. “We’re hoping for directives. Right now we don’t have any answers.”

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials planned to visit the town to test water safety and try to identify a solution.

“We’ll be working with the city to identify where the breach occurred and how to fix the breach and flush the system,” agency spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said.

Tar Balls on Texas Beaches – Not so Mysterious

ABC News reports that mysterious tar balls have been washing up on Texas beaches.  Just how often do these folks go to the beach?  In Red’s experience tar balls at the Texas coast are not that unusual.

We don’t have a source for the oil,” Jim Suydam, a spokesman for the Texas General Land Office, told ABC News today, noting that samples of the substance have been sent to the U.S. Coast Guard for analysis. So far, their only conclusion is that it is a “crude oil product” that came from “two different sources.”

“It is unlikely the source is from Texas waters, but possible sources include offshore rigs, a pipeline, a ship, or from natural seepage,” Suydam told ABC News in a statement.

Tar balls are dense accumulations of hydrocarbons that have been mixed and rolled with sand and shells before washing ashore. The source could be natural leaks along the continental shelf, which runs 40 to 100 miles off the Texas shoreline, or the result of frequent spills that occur when crude oil is transported from one tanker to another in the Gulf of Mexico before being brought into port.

If the investigation proves the oil came from man-made sources, it will come as no surprise to Luke Metzer, director of Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group based out of Austin.

“Oil spills are a way of life here in Texas,” Metzer said, noting that 543 spills occurred in 2012, according to the Texas General Land Office.

“It all adds up to have a big toll on the marine life in the Gulf,” he said.

Metzer argued that Texas should establish “no-take” Marine Protected Areas, which prohibit fishing, oil drilling, and other extractive uses.