Mose Buchele

Senior Reporter, Energy & Environment

Mose is KUT's energy and environment reporter, previously under the StateImpact Texas project. He has been on staff at KUT since 2009, covering local and state issues.  He's has also worked as a blogger on politics and an education reporter at his hometown paper in Western Massachusetts. He holds masters degrees in Latin American Studies and Journalism from UT Austin.

Ways to Connect

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Student activists around the country are pushing for universities not to invest in industries that contribute to global warming. But at the University of Texas, some environmentalists are taking a different approach, urging UT not to divest, but to adopt more climate-friendly drilling rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As a boy in the 1950s James White remembers going with his father to his job in the oilfields of the Permian Basin. His dad would give him a five-gallon bucket, some soap and a scrub brush and come back to check on him hours later.

During those hours of scrubbing in the West Texas sun, he developed a passion for oil rigs and pump jacks.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is evaluating the destruction caused by a landslide last week along Shoal Creek, just downstream from Shoal Creek Boulevard. Part of a hill next to the creek collapsed after heavy rains Friday, but the full scope of the damage – including damage to private property in the posh Pemberton Heights neighborhood – is only now coming into focus.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Jessica Zarowitz was in for a surprise while walking her dog, Lady Bird, along the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail on Monday: The trail that had been there for years suddenly wasn’t. Trees had fallen over it, and the pavement had buckled and slid into the creek in places.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

When electric scooters flooded into Austin, the companies that rent them touted their environmental benefits: “Riders were able to prevent 445,334 pounds of carbon emissions,” a press release from Bird said. The startup LimeBike estimated its scooters reduced 8,500 pounds of CO2 here in just two weeks.

But those numbers are based on some shaky assumptions.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For all the good news in the oil business these days, its long-term future remains uncertain. The rise of electric vehicles, the potential for stricter climate regulation and the volatility introduced by fracking all pose threats to the industry. But oil companies still need to place their wagers on the future of energy, and in a few weeks Shell is placing a big one on the Appomattox Deepwater Platform, which sets sail soon from the Texas coast.

University of Texas at Austin

Astronomers usually study their subject from afar. They peer at stars and planets through telescopes, or rely on physics and math to hypothesize about the universe. Now, a group of researchers at UT Austin hopes to open up a new way of studying space: by re-creating the stuff stars are made of in labs right here on Earth.

Anthony Albright via Flickr

If you live in Austin, chances are your gas bill is going up. That’s because Texas Gas Service, the utility that supplies most of the city with gas, is raising rates. The company has done it every year since 2011, and some people think the process by which rates have risen needs an overhaul.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In East Austin – just east of Airport Boulevard and a short drive from downtown – you’d rightly expect to find a new crop of houses going up. Instead, you'll find La Loma Community Solar Farm.

Mose Buchele / KUT

If you’ve spent your life in the city, maybe you’ve never experienced the smell near a dairy farm, cattle feedlot or a newly fertilized field.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In a letter to construction contractor S.J. Louis, the City of Austin calls the Waller Creek tunnel “diminished” and “defective,” and writes that shoddy construction has reduced “the primary purpose of the tunnel, flood protection.”

That might lead you to think the tunnel won’t serve its purpose to divert floodwaters away from downtown Austin. But in interviews Friday, city staff said the tunnel should work fine.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For more than a year, Brian Manley has been serving as Austin’s interim police chief. Now, voices are growing louder to make that role permanent. So loud, in fact, that Austin’s city manager has said he expects to update people about the chief’s job in the near future.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Kyle and Joycelyn Olson keep a whiteboard on the refrigerator in their East Austin home. They used to use it for things like planning dinner, but these days it has another purpose.

“What we’ve done now is we start to write down what day packages are supposed to arrive and when, even possibly noting the size of the package,” says Kyle Olson, whose wife had a baby this week.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For some local festivalgoers, South By Southwest means more than just music, movies or tech; it means finding as much free food and drink as you possibly can. But just how far can you take it? And is it worth it?

It’s a challenge I put to Twitter earlier this month, and one local man was willing to find out.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

On the floor of Austin airport, right by the baggage claim, there is a cryptic map made of terrazzo tile. It represents downtown Austin, but not quite as it is today. The story of how it came about reveals much about Austin’s past – and maybe its present.

The U.S. is on track to become the world's biggest oil producer, pumping out more crude than at its peak nearly a half century ago. For decades, few expected such a comeback, and it's all the more remarkable because the price of a barrel of oil is nowhere near what it was during the last, recent boom.

"This is an incredible statement, but we're probably making more money at fifty dollars a barrel than a hundred," says Kirk Edwards, president of Latigo Petroleum in Midland, the de facto oil capitol of West Texas.

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

A website that warns Central Texans about road flooding is getting an overhaul this month. The designers of the new site say the changes should give visitors more detail about flooding near them.

Chase Fountain/TPWD

“Infested” is not a word you want to hear in reference to anything. But that’s exactly the word the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is using to describe Lake Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Billy Whipple was learning carpentry as a young man in New England, he got some strange advice about from a veteran carpenter.

“He had his old beliefs that holes [in houses] were good; they got you fresh air,” he says. “Now we’re so sophisticated that we manage the air.”

Austin Price for KUT

At a new 28-home development in East Austin, workers for Lighthouse Solar pull solar panels from the back of a trailer, haul them to a ladder, and then carry them 30 feet up to the recently shingled rooftops where they'll be installed.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened up a public comment period for new floodplain maps for Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales and Hays counties, showing a significant increase in flood risk, especially in places that recently experienced devastating floods.   

Mose Buchele / KUT

In the brutal final scene from the 2007 movie There Will Be Blood, sociopathic oilman Daniel Plainview meets his rival for the last time. If oil fields are like milkshakes, he says, it pays to have a straw that reaches all the way across the room “and starts to drink your milkshake.”

“I. Drink. Your. Milkshake,” Plainview screams maniacally. “I DRINK IT UP!”

What does that have to do with the Railroad Commission of Texas? More than you might think. That’s because the commission regulates oil and gas in Texas. Ironically, it has nothing to do with railroads.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A lot of what you read in the news boils down to numbers. What's the unemployment rate? How's the stock market? What’s the price of a gallon of gas? When those numbers are wrong, the whole story can be wrong. That’s exactly what appears to be happening with some important numbers from the Energy Information Administration.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Like most everyone else, Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has been feeling the chill lately. He's even taken to wearing a coat in his office at Texas A&M.

“My office has been in the 50s the past couple days,” he said Thursday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Every year before Christmas, Loop 360 becomes the site of a uniquely Austin holiday tradition: The junipers along the highway are transformed into colorful Christmas trees.

People have strong opinions about the custom. Some say it’s a heartwarming expression of holiday spirit; others consider it a flagrant violation of Texas' anti-littering laws. But one thing no one really knows is how the tradition got started.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Texas just got out of its longest cold spell in six years. Starting Sunday, parts of the state dipped below freezing and stayed there for around three days. Ice caused accidents. Snow brought delight. But one notable outcome was something that did not happen: The lights didn't go out.

Mose Buchele / KUT

Kayak paddles, sleeves for coffee cups and spatulas were deployed across Austin this morning to scrape ice off windshields. Some commuters even used actual ice scrapers to maintain visibility as they confronted a rare hard freeze before their commutes.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Austin. But the city has known for a long time that at least one section of the path is unsafe – and it’s only getting worse.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Trey Murphy is a grad student in North Carolina, but he has dreams of owning land in West Texas. A few months ago, he was looking at real estate online and came across something strange.

“I saw that there was this particular listing that was selling the surface estate, but not willing to sell the wind estate,” he says.

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