With a GOP committee chair gone and new bills in the pipeline, state lawmakers and government transparency advocates seek to close loopholes in Texas open records law.
It’s been three years since Enrique Iglesias walked away from the Rio Grande Valley holding a proverbial sack full of taxpayer cash. He got the money in 2015 for crooning in the city of McAllen’s annual holiday concert and parade, … Read More
O’Rourke’s strategy of hitting all 254 counties didn’t win him the race, but it likely gained Democratic ground in small-town Texas, Republicans’ most reliable stronghold.
At first glance, it would appear as if Democrats were dealt a series of miserable defeats in rural Texas Tuesday. Beto O’Rourke, who spent beaucoup time and money to campaign in all of Texas’ 254 counties, won only 32 of … Read More
A report released by the Environmental Integrity Project identified Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson as major dischargers of wastewater containing high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.
The Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” — a Connecticut-sized stretch of saltwater where chemical runoff from farms in the Mississippi River watershed feeds oxygen-stifling algal blooms — gets a lot of press. The low oxygen levels spur massive fish kills … Read More
The impending closure of the 650-megawatt Oklaunion plant is more writing on the wall for the state’s power generators.
Chalk this one up as another loss for the White House. Last month, American Electric Power (AEP) announced that it would close its 650-megawatt power plant in Vernon, a rural community of 11,000 just south of the Texas-Oklahoma line, by … Read More
Sid Miller’s Ag Department Knew About Dangerous Pesticide Violations in 2015, Did Nothing for Two Years
A state inspector found that USDA's fever tick teams broke state and federal rules by indiscriminately spraying poison and dumping toxic pesticides on ranchland.
On August 17, 2015, Harlingen rancher Danny Davis called in a complaint to the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). Like many others who raise cattle and horses near the U.S.-Mexico border, Davis was caught in the state-federal fever tick dragnet … Read More
Conservative lawmakers, an oil investor and other activists did all they could to stop a wind project in rural Texas, even as the state has increasingly embraced renewable energy.
Earlier this year, a Canadian energy producer was poised to build two large wind farms in Clay County, a mostly featureless stretch of plains at the Texas-Oklahoma line. The 300-megawatt project would have bolstered Texas’ growing portfolio of renewable energy, … Read More
Journalist Sarah Smarsh’s book encapsulates what it’s like to grow up in the forgotten farm fields of America, artfully mixing anecdote with political context and societal commentary.
Having fun during a Kansas winter, as Sarah Smarsh writes in her new memoir, Heartland, requires creativity: “Lots of snow, no hills.” In one memorable scene, she recalls the time her grandfather Arnie hitched a beat-up canoe to an old … Read More
Mindy Brashears, a Texas Tech animal scientist nominated by Trump to lead the food safety arm of the USDA, is deeply embedded in the agribusiness industry.
Trump’s nominee to head the food safety division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is deeply entangled with agribusiness. According to ethics documents obtained by the Observer, Texas Tech University animal scientist Mindy Brashears has earned at least $320,000 from … Read More
The DPS proposed to close “inefficient” driver’s licenses office in mainly rural areas, even though it would have created an extra hurdle for voters to get state-required photo ID.
In a victory for Texas voters on Wednesday, a panel of state lawmakers unanimously killed a proposal to shutter up to 87 “inefficient” Department of Public Safety driver’s license offices in mostly rural areas. DPS issued the proposal after the … Read More