Mose Buchele, KUT

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.

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Mose Buchele / KUT

The annual return of the monarch butterfly is underway. They started showing up in Austin about a week ago, according to the crowdsourced online tracker at Journey North.

And, if you catch a glimpse of their orange and black wings over the next few months, you could be witnessing part of the biggest migration of monarchs in recent memory. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Everyone knows traffic in Austin is bad, and it’s hard to find worse traffic than downtown during South by Southwest. So if you’re going downtown, what’s the best way to get around? KUT asked three people to find out in a race through the thick of the festival.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Dear Austin,

I have a confession to make: I have misled you. It’s not something any reporter wants to say, but here we are.

I did it in a story I wrote a few years ago, after a listener asked about Austin’s claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World.” 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Environmental groups have announced their intention to sue the Texas Department of Transportation over how it has managed construction of its MoPac Intersections highway expansion project in Southwest Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Central Texas residents were confronted this week with two conflicting forecasts for the upcoming wildflower season. But the reports did agree on one thing: Flowers are coming early again.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When it comes to invasive wild pigs, Texas is No. 1.

There are at least 2 million feral hogs roaming the state – about half the animal's national population. Authorities say the hogs cause hundreds of millions of dollars a year in damage to property and agriculture. But, despite those numbers, hogs are usually thought to be confined to rural parts of Texas.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A couple years ago, Texas had a problem with abandoned oil and gas wells.

It still does.

That was the takeaway Wednesday from a hearing at the state Senate, where lawmakers learned the agency responsible for plugging wells can't seal them as quickly as they're being abandoned.  

Salvador Castro for KUT

Kinder Morgan is hosting an open house in Hays County tonight about its Permian Highway Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline the company plans to run through Central Texas.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A bill in the Texas House of Representatives would make it a crime for telecommunications companies to impair mobile internet service in declared disaster areas. It comes after firefighters in California had their data plans “throttled” by Verizon during wildfires there.

A man carries a sign in protest of the planned pipeline at the Wimberley Community Center Tuesday night. His sign says, sign says, "Our Founding Fathers saw England's rule as unjust. I see Kinder Morgan's rule over my community as unjust."
Salvador Castro for KUT

A public meeting Tuesday on a planned natural gas pipeline in Central Texas often felt more like a protest, as Hays County residents shared concerns about the project and speakers vowed to fight it.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A fight over a pipeline is never only about the pipeline. It’s about the environment, property rights, public safety and a community’s sense of itself. Just such a fight is now brewing in the Texas Hill Country, where company Kinder Morgan plans to lay a part of its 430-mile natural gas Permian Highway Pipeline.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If the oil and gas boom continues as projected, the planet could experience "catastrophic climate change" by 2050, according to an analysis released yesterday.

The report from Oil Change International, a coalition of environmental groups, says continued growth in fossil fuel extraction – much of which occurs in Texas – could derail any hope of avoiding dire effects of climate change.

Tom Devitt

A team of biologists announced this week they’d found three new species of rare salamanders in Central Texas. The discovery of any new species is big news for science, but in Texas – where the fate of salamanders and people are often linked – it could also set up a new fight over endangered species protections.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas is not a state known for strong environmental protections. The fact is, many green groups head into legislative sessions more concerned about stopping bills that might do harm than supporting bills that might help.

Austin Water delivered an “after action” report to City Council today on the weeklong boil-water order enacted during severe flooding in October. During its presentation, the utility shed more light on what happened to bring about the emergency and what the city might do to avoid future water-boil mandates.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

Austin is known for a lot of things, but fall foliage is not one of them. That is, until this year. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Friday, while millions of Americans recovered at home from Turkey-induced torpors, the Trump administration released a report on climate change that forecasts a grim future for Texas. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

There are enjoyable ways to walk or bike across Lady Bird Lake, but the Pleasant Valley Bridge is not one of them. A narrow sidewalk, a chain-link fence and low guardrails are features that make the East Austin crossing unsafe

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austinites may soon be getting more information on why they had to boil their tap water last month.

The Austin City Council on Thursday ordered the City Manager’s Office to provide a report by Dec. 11 on the water-boil and conservation mandates.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came out with an analysis this fall that found Austin and other parts of the state should expect more flooding in the future. And, as it turns out, Texas may see even more flooding than the Atlas 14 study suggests.

Seal of the Texas Railroad Commission
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

From KTZZ and KUT:

Tuesday is midterm Election Day. Of course you’ve heard about the heated Texas Senate race, and some of the state’s more competitive congressional districts, the governor’s race. But there are also several statewide races on the ballot this year that aren’t getting much attention – like railroad commissioner. Current commission chairman, Republican Christi Craddick, is running for a second term against Democrat Roman McAllen and Libertarian Mike Wright.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Take a look around the next time you’re outside and you might see wings of orange and black fluttering in the sky.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the old saying goes, “You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.”

But rather than sit around missing your water, it may be wiser to ask some simple questions: “Why did the well run dry?” “How did the well work in the first place?”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Update: The LCRA now says it will not open eight floodgates on Thursday, Oct. 18, but may in the coming days. 

It’s never happened before, but the Lower Colorado River Authority will likely open eight floodgates on the Mansfield Dam above Lake Austin by noon Thursday.

So, what can you expect if you live in Austin?

Andrea Garcia for KUT

Jonathan Hammond has lived in Marble Falls all 30 years of his life. Until yesterday, he'd never seen flooding so bad.

"This is just crazy absolutely crazy," Hammond said, standing on the Highway 281 bridge watching floodwaters rushed by.

A flood camera helps monitor conditions along the Colorado River in River Hills.
Eddie Gaspar for KUT

After a new study showed thousands of additional homes were at risk of flooding in Austin, the city is preparing to revamp rules on building within a floodplain.

The study, known as Atlas 14, revised the city's understanding of historical rainfall data, adding 3,000 properties to the city's 100-year floodplain – which impacts everything from what people pay for insurance to how they can build homes.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texas-based oil giant Exxon Mobil got some good press this week when it announced it was donating $1 million to a campaign to enact a carbon tax in the U.S. But many worry the tax proposal would not slow emissions quickly enough and could harm the environment through its legislative giveaways to the oil and gas industry. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Environmentalists in Austin worry about methane emissions from Texas oilfields, plastic pollution clogging up creeks and rivers or nuclear waste being shipped through the state. But one thing they rarely worry about is each other – at least until recently, when an initiative called Proposition J landed on the ballot.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A massive update to Austin’s floodplain map shows about 3,000 properties are at higher risk of flooding than previously thought. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Around 3,000 more Austin properties will find themselves in high-risk floodplains thanks to a new National Weather Service study called Atlas 14. Those new flood designations could impact everything from what you pay for insurance to how you build your home.

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