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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Demonstrators protesting police brutality marched onto I-35 from Austin Police headquarters on Saturday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of people protesting the police killings of George Floyd and Mike Ramos demonstrated outside Austin Police headquarters and on I-35 on Saturday, temporarily blocking all lanes of traffic.

NWS

A flash flood warning is in effect for much of Central Texas until 12:15 AM Monday. Storms moving through the area could bring flooding, lightning and hail up to one inch in diameter in some areas.

Cots in the Smithville Recreational Center during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Read this story in English.

El coronavirus llegó al centro de Texas con la primavera. Esto significó cancelar el festival South by Southwest y un final anticipado para el año escolar. También significó que la gente que tuvo que quedarse en casa, al menos, disfrutó de un clima bastante bueno.

Pero esto podría estar a punto de cambiar.

Cots in the Smithville Recreational Center during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The coronavirus arrived in Central Texas with the spring. That meant no South by Southwest and an early end to the school year. It also meant people stuck at home, at least, enjoyed some pretty good weather.

That’s likely about to change.

The control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texans.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The group that operates the Texas electric grid expects the state to break records for peak electricity use this summer, despite the fact that people are using less electricity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An oil rig outside Midland, Texas.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For months, the state agency that regulates oil and gas in Texas has considered reducing the amount of crude companies can pump from the ground. Supporters of the plan hoped it would reduce a supply glut and stabilize oil prices. But the proposal died Tuesday without a final vote.

In Texas, a proposal to cut the amount of crude that oil companies are allowed to pump from the ground appears dead. The regulator who proposed it — Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton — says commissioners "still are not ready to act" on the plan, which would have cut production 20% to try and stabilize prices amid a historic oil glut. Regulators had been expected to vote on the plan Tuesday.

A blue jay is perched on a birdbath in the Cherrywood neighborhood of Austin on Wednesday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Click here to read this story in English

Una de las primeras cosas que la gente notó fueron los pájaros.

Luego de las órdenes de quedarse en casa y de que los sonidos del tránsito y los negocios se atenuaran, el canto de os pájaros parecía más fuerte. Parecía que había más aves.

A blue jay is perched on a birdbath in the Cherrywood neighborhood of Austin on Wednesday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

One of the first things people noticed were the birds.

Once the stay-at-home orders were in place and the sounds of traffic and business dimmed, the birds seemed louder. There seemed to be more of them.

Pipes for Kinder Morgan's Permian Highway Pipeline are stacked in the Hill Country as the company begins work on the natural gas pipeline.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Hays County Commissioners Court has revoked permits it issued to let Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline project bore under county roads.

An oil rig and gas flares in far West Texas
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A meeting of Texas oil and gas officials started Tuesday with a prayer both ominous and inscrutable.  

“Father, we come to you this morning recognizing an attack upon us as a country, as an industry,” Railroad Commission Chair Wayne Christian intoned.

The Austin skyline
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin’s air was more polluted with toxic particles than ever before in the period from 2016 through 2018, according to the American Lung Association. The group warns air quality could continue to worsen as the federal government erodes public health protections.

An oil pump jack in Odessa.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For the first time in history, a barrel of West Texas oil was so worthless Monday that oil companies would pay you to take it. Oil prices have been low for months, but the negative pricing of a valuable commodity can be hard to wrap your head around. How does it happen?

A message in chalk reminds people to wash their hands and be safe.
Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

The number of deaths related to COVID-19 have likely not peaked nationwide, UT Austin researchers reported Friday. Their findings are in contrast to those of a popular COVID-19 predictive model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which suggested U.S. deaths peaked Monday.

An oil rig outside Midland, Texas.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In a move that would have been unimaginable just a couple months ago, Texas is considering limiting oil production in the state. Capping the amount of crude that can be pumped is a power the state has not used in nearly 50 years. But, at a meeting Tuesday, regulators heard it may be needed to stabilize an industry in freefall.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

No matter what you do (or did) for a living before the COVID-19 pandemic, it's probably safe to say your work life has changed dramatically since its arrival. If you haven’t lost your job, you may be working from home. Or you may find yourself working out in the world, in sectors deemed “essential” by stay-at-home orders.

Stuffed animal bears are placed in a window of a home in the Rosedale neighborhood as part of a "bear hunt" game families are playing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The coronavirus and the stay-at-home orders enacted to help slow its spread have changed almost every aspect of daily life. One that you might not notice, unless you’re looking, is the appearance of stuffed animals in window frames around town.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Click here to read this story in English. 

Cada día oímos cifras actualizadas sobre el COVID-19: el número de casos confirmados. El número de personas hospitalizadas. El número de personas que han muerto. Sabemos que las cifras están aumentando y esperamos que lo sigan haciendo. Pero aparte de eso, puede ser difícil entender lo que estos datos nos pueden enseñar acerca de la propagación de la enfermedad y si estamos progresando en la lucha contra ella. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Every day, we hear updated COVID-19 numbers: The number of confirmed cases. The number of people hospitalized. The number of people who have died. We know the numbers are going up, and we expect them to continue to rise. But beyond that, it can be difficult to understand what they teach us about the spread of the disease and whether we’re making progress against it.

The Trail Foundation is closing outdoor gym equipment around Lady Bird Lake.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Trail Foundation recommends people exercise as close to home as possible and stay off the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

H-E-B set limits on how many cleaning products customers could purchase at a time after people were clearing out shelves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Cities across the country are expecting a surge in plumbing problems related to the use of disinfecting wipes to combat COVID-19. In Austin, water utility officials are urging people not to flush wipes and other products that can jam up private plumbing and the wastewater system.

 A line of shoppers waits to enter Costco in South Austin during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez C. Pérez / KUT

New rules went into effect in Austin on Saturday night to enforce social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Bars and businesses are closed and boarded up on Sixth Street on Thursday.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin small businesses and nonprofits hurt by the COVID-19 crisis can now apply for emergency loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Austin City Council is also considering a gap-financing program that could provide loans to applicants as they await the federal loans.

A sign posted at Via 313
Julia Reihs / KUT

The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department doesn't know how many residents will lose income because of the bar and restaurant closures and crowd-control rules announced to stop the spread of COVID-19. But, with more than 125,000 people working in the service and hospitality industry alone, the number is bound to be high.

Laborerers work on the helipad of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Coronavirus hit the global markets this week, sending stocks reeling and pushing economies toward possible recession. In Texas, the view could be even bleaker thanks to plummeting oil prices. Analysts say the state can expect layoffs, bankruptcies and state revenue shortfalls in the months ahead if prices remain low.

State-owned land in Southeast Austin has been turned into a homeless camp.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

On a late February afternoon, cold winds tore through the Responsible Adult Transition Town in Southeast Austin, thrashing the tarpaulin and nylon walls of its tent village. But the chill didn’t deter Robert Rhodes from making his rounds.

Bluebonnets and other wildflowers dot the landscape near I-35 earlier this month.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Bats in December. Bluebonnets in January. Butterflies in February. These are a few of the unseasonal appearances Austinites noticed this warm winter. And, experts say, people should get used to such sights.

Gas is burned off from an oil well in West Texas.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The amount of natural gas that oil companies burn off in Texas as a waste product could power every home in the state. It’s an industry practice known as “flaring,” and as it grows, so does pollution and waste associated with oil extraction. So, last week, a top state oil and gas regulator produced a report on it.

Camp R.A.T.T.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A homeless camp in an unused state vehicle maintenance yard in Southeast Austin has been growing for months. Beginning with fewer than a dozen people occupying tents and re-purposed storage units, it’s now home to more than 140.

A coyote in the middle of a residential street.
Austin Animal Center

Even if you haven’t seen them yourself, you might have noticed a lot of coyote sightings reported around Austin on social media lately.

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