Top Stories for Sunday July 24, 2011
President Perry and the EPA
The Statesman has a piece today about how a President Rick Perry might affect the Environmental Protection Agency. Perry has been highly critical of the EPA in his time as governor, pushing back on the agencies efforts to bring Texas' environmental regulations under tighter control. The Statesman's Asher Price writes that Perry has used the EPA as an example of what he sees as federal intrusion.
From his rhetoric and record as governor, one might think that he'd be tempted to dissolve the agency. He has actively loosened regulations in the name of economic development and denied that scientific consensus exists on climate change, ascribing anxieties about greenhouse gases to a "secular carbon cult." But on the campaign trail, he is likely to tell a story about environmental accomplishment. He will point to improvements in air quality in the state's major cities, and he will note that the state leads the nation in wind power. And he will say that Texas has done it by working with industry, not being its adversary.
Reclaimed Water and the Drought
The Texas Tribune's Kate Galbraith has a cool story on the demand for reclaimed water - basically, sewage used for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes. Texas has emerged as a leader in reusing water, and the current extreme drought is increasing demand for reclaimed water.
“We can’t provide it fast enough,” said Jerry Pressley, a water systems superintendent at the plant. The plant has provided reclaimed water for about a decade to one golf course next door, but it recently expanded its facilities and is upgrading its technology so that soon the wastewater headed for golf courses will be further disinfected via ultraviolet light rather than with chlorine, which can be toxic in large concentrations.
Tax Rates in Kyle May Jump Dramatically
Folks in Kyle could see their tax and utility bills go up by double-digit percentages next year, according to the Statesman. City officials say the increases are due to past spending decisions - including building new city facilities - and the bills are now coming due.
The city is proposing a $37 million budget, down 12.5 percent from last year. But despite slimming down, the city would raise taxes by nearly 8 cents, or almost 19 percent, to 49.24 cents per $100 of assessed property value. In addition, the average monthly water bill will jump 30 percent to $42.94, and the average monthly wastewater bill will increase 25 percent to $28.40. The plan also calls for 20 percent increases to water for the next two years, and 20 percent and 10 percent increases in each of the next two years for wastewater.