Rural Reporting Project
Texas has the largest rural population of any state—3.8 million people—yet many journalists treat much of the state as flyover country. The Observer has made reporting on rural Texas a priority with this long-term project. Staff writer Christopher Collins, who has investigated how crop dusting is putting Texans’ health at risk and the connection between destructive Panhandle wildfires and a mismanaged federal land program, is spearheading the effort from West Texas. View an interactive story map here.
Ready, Set, File: Transparency Bills Passed by Legislature Could Open the Door to Once-Public Records
The measures would sew up the so-called Boeing loopholes, which the government has used thousands of times to keep taxpayer-funded deals private.
UPDATE: The effort to close the “dead suspect” loophole, which Texas law enforcement agencies have used to keep secret the circumstances surrounding...Read More
Experts have long debated the efficacy of capturing and storing carbon underground to reduce emissions. Now, in North Texas, oil and gas companies are getting in on the game.
– by Sammy Feldblum May 15, 2019 The Farnsworth Unit Oil Field is a small oil patch in North Texas’s Anadarko Basin, just south of where the skinny Okla...Read More
Sulfur dioxide levels in the vast West Texas region may be hitting dangerous levels. Meanwhile, the state is hardly bothering to monitor the pollutant.
In the Permian Basin of West Texas, there’s something in the air. For the oil and gas industry, it must be the smell of money — lots of it. But for the peop...Read More
The EPA Told Texas to Crack Down on Dangerous Air Emissions in 2015. The State Never Did, and Now It Won’t Have to.
Trump’s EPA rescinded a rule that would have forced Texas to close a loophole exploited by industrial polluters in 97 percent of illegal emission events.
May, 22, 2015, was a red-letter day for Hilton Kelley. The 58-year-old environmental justice activist was on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., 1,300 miles from ...Read More
As the agency courts tankers that can carry 2.2 million barrels of crude each, activists worry that the plan could spoil the habitats of the aquatic species that thrive here.
In the middle of the Texas Gulf Coast, among a constellation of barrier islands where thousands of Texans come to fish, boat and play each year, lies one of the...Read More
About a quarter of Texas counties have two or fewer primary care doctors and pharmacists. What happens if they refuse service?
Matthew Glass said the first red flag was when the pharmacist called across the room, loud enough for other customers to hear, “What’s the Truvada for?” T...Read More
As the Legislature considers greenlighting hemp production, a litany of farmers, rural economic development advocates and even conservative Republicans are singing its praises.
Haskell, a town of 3,200 an hour north of Abilene, is in high cotton. It has not one, but two grocery stores. Most of the storefronts in the downtown square are...Read More
As industrial chicken farming expands to East Texas, local residents say they’ve been bombarded with the waste of hundreds of thousands of birds, an “overpowering” stench and heavy truck traffic.
It took a decade for Ronnie Blundell to find the perfect plot of land where he could build his dream home in rural Upshur County, a community of 40,000 about 14...Read More