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environment

Kathleen Hartnett White is facing scrutiny from U.S. senators today as part of her nomination to lead President Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White was Texas' top regulator for six years. Her nomination to the White House post has proved controversial, even in an administration that is no stranger to controversy.

Kathleen Hartnett White was a top environmental regulator in Texas from 2001 to 2007.

From Texas Standard:

While the Trump administration says the "war on coal" is over, market forces are having their say when it comes to the fossil fuel, closing plants in several Texas communities.

Texas' largest generator of coal-powered energy, Luminant, says it is ceasing operations at two plants in the state. The company says Texas' competitive energy market and cheap natural gas  make these older coal-fired plants unprofitable. Another Texas coal operator has already announced plans to close two facilities.

Robert W. Hart

Earlier this week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency will seek to repeal the Clean Power Plan — President Barack Obama’s signature effort to combat climate change.

Hurricane Harvey flooded more than a dozen Superfund toxic waste sites when it devastated the Texas coast in late August. An EPA report predicted the possibility of climate-related problems at toxic waste sites like those in Texas, but the page detailing the report on the agency's website was made inactive months before the storm.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

It’s estimated that 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. A few years ago, National Parks decided to try and make a small dent in that number by banning water bottle sales on parkland. Now, the Trump administration has reversed that policy.

From Texas Standard:

There has been a growing public debate over President Donald Trump's plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but many residents in Texas' Rio Grande Valley say a whole host of other issues affecting their region are being ignored.

At two protests last weekend against the wall in Mission, Texas and at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, south Texans tried to call attention to the untold stories.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will use its authority to bypass environmental laws and other regulations to "ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Summer school's gliding along in North Texas, but students aren’t the only ones in session. Southern Methodist University's STEM Academy is for science teachers. 

For one recent lesson, they left dry land behind to kayak the Trinity River that wanders through the Great Trinity Forest. 

After an explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people in West, Texas, in 2013, the EPA created new safety protections for the storage of dangerous chemicals. Now, at the urging of the industry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is delaying those rules until 2019.

In a rare victory for environmentalists under President Trump, the Senate rejected efforts to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from energy production sites on federal land.

The vote over the greenhouse gas was close — 49-51 — with Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins coming down against the resolution, which would have repealed the Bureau of Land Management's Methane Waste and Prevention Rule.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe, for the People's Climate March, demanding action on protecting the environment.

On a sweltering hot day in the nation's capital, protesters made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, singing and banging drums. Once they reached the White House, some staged a sit-in while others marched past carrying signs and shouting, "Shame, shame, shame."

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

This week has been a dizzying one for people working to understand and combat global warming.

Tweets on climate change from the account of the Badlands National Park were deleted. Plans to scrub climate information from Environmental Protection Agency websites were walked back by the Trump administration. Then, news broke that the budget for the EPA may be cut by $1 billion dollars.

How Population Growth Is Affecting The Texas Landscape

Sep 13, 2016
Shutterstock

Texas consistently ranks as one of fastest growing states in the U.S. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with conservationist David Todd about the ways that growth is affecting the natural landscape.

STEPHANIE KUO

ExxonMobil shareholders in Dallas once again failed to pass several resolutions that would force the oil giant to address climate change. The Irving-based company has been under scrutiny for how it’s handled environmental issues.  And while environmentalists are disappointed, they're not surprised.

Earth Day Texas / www.earthdaytx.org

Fair Park is expecting a crowd of 75,000 starting Friday for a three-day, Texas-sized Earth Day celebration.

The environmental movement in North Texas has come a long way since those first, small gatherings back in 1970.

Texas Wind Capacity Is Number One In The Country

Nov 25, 2014
Pablo Arauz Peña KERA News

From the top of El Centro College, there’s no escaping a skyline that is – in part – a tribute to the fossil fuel industry. Not exactly the place you’d expect to find a wind farm.

Iwan Baan / National Geographic/Reportage by Getty Images

Over the past century, we've managed to warm the Earth by more than a degree Fahrenheit with heat-trapping emissions. And sea levels hiked with the temperature - about eight inches, in fact. What will this ongoing trend mean for America's coastal cities, which had a taste of destruction during Superstorm Sandy? At noon on Think, we'll hear from science writer Tim Folger about how we could adopt and adapt ideas from the world's flood-endangered islands. He wrote the cover story "Rising Seas" for the September issue of National Geographic, in which these photos appear. 

Sarah Fields Photography / Shutterstock

The largest federally-owned wind farm is about to be built at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced today. The five-turbine project will power more than 60 percent of the plant once it is complete.

Texas author John Graves, 92, has died at the home he called Hard Scrabble, southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth near Glen Rose. Graves was best known for sparking an interest in environmental literature with his book, "Goodbye to a River, " which chronicled his 1960 canoe trip down the Brazos River. Here's a Texas Monthly profile from 2010.

Great Plains Restoration Council

Update, Tuesday 4:47 PM: Jarid Manos says that his group, the Great Plains Restoration Council, would likely try to work with the prospective buyer on preserving even a portion of Rock Creek Ranch.

“If we do this right and there’s conservation, it makes [the buyer’s] project not just another [building], but sustainability for the landscape," Manos says. "There are very accomplished landscape architects. We can still use it in a way. [Rock Creek Ranch] is too priceless to lose. It expresses life like people don’t imagine, right in our own backyard."

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

This is the third installment in the KERA News series "Inside the Bush Center."

The new George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas has thousands of artifacts on display. But it also has the largest collection of electronic records of any presidential library. That means hours and hours of video, 4 million photographs and 200 million emails. 

Dane Walters / KERA News

This is the first installment in the KERA News series "Inside the Bush Center."

George W. Bush’s environmental legacy as president was decidedly mixed. He established the largest protected marine environment in American history – more than 100 million acres set aside in our Pacific territories. But he also permitted more mountaintop removal by mining companies. And he refused to sign the Kyoto protocols on global warming. Yet the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of SMU is unequivocally eco-sensitive. The new center will be dedicated Thursday.

The Dallas City Council is taking a “do-over” on its new strategic trash and recycling plan. Environmentalists and businesses claimed they were shut out of the discussion.

Exide’s exit from the city of Frisco was formalized last night quickly and without dissent. That’s a stark contrast to the three-year, citizen-led campaign to push the lead battery manufacturer out of the community.

President Obama’s decision to halt construction of the Keystone tar sands pipeline has not stopped plans for segment passing through East Texas. And KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports a group of landowners has organized to fight back.

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