Amal Ahmed

Amal Ahmed is a general assignment reporter at the Texas Observer. Originally from Dallas, she has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and previously worked at The Atlantic and Texas Monthly. You can contact her at [email protected].
Environment

Nobody Warned Texans About the Public Health Risks of the Winter Storm

Without advance warning about the true scale of power outages and the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, local officials say they were caught off guard, leaving residents to fend for themselves.

This story was published in partnership with Southerly. Sheletta Brundidge watched from Cottage Grove, Minn., as severe winter weather descended on her hometown of Houston in February. She worried that snow and ice could shut down power for days, and … Read More

Environment

Industrial Facilities Released Millions of Pounds of Illegal Pollution During the Winter Storm

Many of them won’t face any consequences for the excess emissions that they pumped into the air, endangering the lives of communities downwind.

When the lights went off during the winter storm last month in Galena Park, a city of 10,000 people on the east side of Houston, an eerie orange glow emanated from across the bayou that borders its southern edge as … Read More

News

ERCOT Increased Revenue and Executive Pay In Years Before Texas Power Outages

Top ERCOT officials collected six-figure salaries while failing to prepare for extreme weather events that they were warned about.

Bill Magness sat in the Texas Senate chamber for several hours Thursday, defending himself and the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) that he runs. Senators grilled him about why the state’s once-obscure electric grid operator failed to prevent one … Read More

News

Low-Income Texans Already Face Frigid Temperatures at Home. Then the Winter Storm Hit.

Power plants without insulation failed, leading to sustained blackouts. But poor insulation in homes across the state made it even harder to stay warm.

This story was published in partnership with Southerly. When the temperature dropped into the single digits last Monday night, Edilisa wrapped herself and her 9-month-old baby in blankets and huddled in the closet of her studio apartment in Austin. It … Read More

News

Why Texas Wasn’t Prepared for Winter Storm Uri

A disaster management expert weighs in on how poor planning and communication failures deepened the crisis that left millions without power during the deep freeze.

The snow has melted and the record-breaking, freezing temperatures have warmed back up, but Texans in nearly every county will be dealing with the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri for months to come. It’s likely one of the most widespread … Read More

Environment

The Sunniest City in Texas is Expanding … Natural Gas Production

After New Mexico rejected a proposal for the El Paso power plant, the Biden administration could be El Paso’s last line of defense.

Jeanette Lara is one of a handful of doctors who serves the small, unincorporated community of Chaparral, New Mexico. Every day, when she drops off her 8-month-old son to his grandparents before work, she drives past the Newman Power Station, … Read More

Chanté Davis is a lead organizer in the Sunrise Movment, a youth-led climate action organization.
Environment

Teens for a Green New Deal

Sixteen-year-old climate organizer Chanté Davis on how change could start with young people in Texas.

Chanté Davis, a 16-year-old New Orleans native, knows that climate change is urgent and personal. In 2005, she and her family evacuated right before Hurricane Katrina decimated their hometown. They settled in Houston, where, over the past decade, she’s lived … Read More

Chittering Solar Farm.
Environment

Solar Energy is Hitting a Growth Spurt. So Is The Disinformation Around It.

Anti-renewable energy campaigns are nothing new in the Lone Star State. A new wave of disinformation could spell trouble for the state’s fledgling solar industry.

David Dunagan doesn’t want a 760-acre solar power plant to be built across his fenceline. The Old Jackson Power Plant will replace farmland in Van Zandt County with gleaming, metal panels. Though the 127-megawatt plant will provide clean, renewable energy … Read More

Human Rights

Bringing the Dead Home

Thirty years after Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, only a fraction of human remains held by Texas’ museums and universities have been returned.

Thirty years after Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, only a fraction of human remains held by Texas’ museums and universities have been returned. By Amal Ahmed November 16, 2020  Ramón Vásquez can’t tell you … Read More

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