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At Texas oil and gas regulator, close ties to industry

State lawmakers have regularly shot down efforts to make the agency’s relationship with industry more transparent. Every session, for example, the Republican-led Legislature kills efforts to change the name of the agency — which has had nothing to do with railroad regulation for generations — to something like the Texas Energy Commission or Texas Oil and Gas Commission. The resistance by the industry to a name change is “partly because there’s a desire to keep it in the dark,” Gary Gates, a Houston-area businessman and largely self-financed Republican candidate for the commission, told the Statesman.

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Metzger, Smith: What's in our Drinking Water?

Since the time of Roman aqueducts, water infrastructure has been a hallmark of advanced civilization. Yet we have let our public drinking water systems crumble in neglect. The EPA now estimates that communities face a $384 billion backlog to repair drinking water infrastructure across the country.

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Groups weight disasters, climate

“From massive floods to severe droughts, dangerous weather is already hitting close to home,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, the national group’s branch in the Lone Star State. “And without action to stop climate change, scientists say these extremes and their impact on Texans will only get worse.”

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Supreme Court Hands Paxton Setback on Mercury Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Texas and 19 other states to block a landmark federal rule requiring power plants to slash emissions of mercury, acid gases and other toxic metals environmentalists cheered the decision. “Today’s move by Chief Justice John Roberts was a huge victory for our health and environment, especially here in Texas, where two of five worst polluting power plants are located,” Sara Smith, deputy director of Environment Texas, said in a statement. 

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Target, other major retailers asked to go solar

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Texas continues to create more solar energy, one environmental group in Austin is calling on big box retailers to install even more solar panels.

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