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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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.

Trucks move trash in the Austin Community Landfill off Highway 290.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to build a garbage transfer station in North Austin. The project is facing growing opposition from public officials, neighbors and environmental groups.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Construction on a 430-mile natural gas pipeline planned to run through the Texas Hill Country reached a milestone this week when pipeline company Kinder Morgan announced it had secured the legal right-of-way necessary to build out the project on private land across the state.

Residential property in the Pemberton Heights neighborhood uphill from Shoal Creek was damaged by a landslide in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The city is abandoning efforts to stabilize a part of the cliff that runs along the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail near Pease Park after landowners up the hill refused to grant property easements needed for the work.  

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

The head of the Texas Oil and Gas Association said Tuesday his group agrees fossil fuels contribute to global warming and that the industry will find ways to reduce emissions.

Ribbons and wrapping paper on display in a store.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It's the holiday season, and if you celebrate, your trash and recycling bins are likely filling up faster than usual. During the season, you might find yourself standing over one of those bins, holding a byproduct of gift-giving or feasting, and wondering where to toss it. 

Solar panels
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Georgetown earned international attention a few years ago by becoming the largest city in the U.S. to run completely on renewable power. Now, the city has chosen a subsidiary of Shell Oil to take over management of its energy holdings.

U.S. Geological Survey

Earthquake activity has skyrocketed in Texas over the last dozen years because of increased oil and gas activity. But those manmade quakes are not included in a long-term earthquake hazard map released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

An artist's rendering of a cross-section of the proposed bridge over Lady Bird Lake.
City of Austin

The City of Austin is one step closer to taking down the “last major barrier” on the Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. And, according to city street designer Nathan Wilkes, the idea came from the public.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When the Trump administration announced plans to roll back Obama-era rules limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations, even some in industry cried foul. Many saw the regulations as a modest attempt to curb Earth-heating emissions.

The beach in Port Aransas
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Plans for a crude oil export terminal in Port Aransas have provoked strong opposition from environmentalists and local groups worried about what the project could mean for the Gulf Coast and the popular tourist community.

Bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue bridge.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has decimated bat populations, is spreading in Texas. Scientists are trying everything from vaccines to UV lights to control the disease. Now, they’re asking the public for help.

People sit in a banquet hall during a condemnation hearing.
Mose Buchele / KUT

Kay Pence owns a ranch in the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. About a year ago, she got a call from the pipeline company Kinder Morgan. The caller told her the company planned to run a section of its 430-mile Permian Highway natural gas pipeline through her property. Pence didn’t like that.

A house is flooded in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

About 2% of U.S. homes are at risk of being flooded by the end of the century, thanks to rising sea levels. And the reason for rising sea levels, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is climate change. But flood risk is not translating into lower property values in some areas along the coast.

Lady Bird Lake
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Floodwaters shut down the Colorado River a year ago, bringing mud and silt to the treatment plants that supply Austin’s water. That aquatic sediment was too much for the plants to filter out efficiently. What followed will be remembered by anyone who lived here as “the week we all had to boil our water.”

When Arthur Mosely moved to East Austin in the 1980s he didn't worry about flooding. His property was not in a designated floodplain, and he thought of the creek that ran behind the house as an amenity. It guaranteed privacy and a green space full of muscadine grapes and pecan trees.

But over the years more houses went up and the creek flooded repeatedly, almost reaching his house twice. "All of this was water," he explains on a recent windy morning, gesturing to a wide swath of his backyard.

Salvador Castro for KUT News

The city of Austin is signaling it intends to sue Kinder Morgan, the company behind the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline — a 430-mile natural gas line that has provoked major opposition in the Texas Hill Country. In filing its Notice of Intent to sue, Austin joins opposition already being mounted by San Marcos, Kyle, the Barton Springs Aquifer Conservation District and a property-owner group called the TREAD Coalition

A piece of an old pipeline that ran through the Hill Country in the early 1900s.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Charles Chaney Jr. has Utopia on his mind. The Texas City resident is a month away from retirement, and Utopia is the name of the scenic Hill Country town where his family has lived for generations. He had planned to build a house on land he owns there near his brother and sister.

Now, he’s not so sure.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Mention the year 2011 to any Austinite who lived here then, and expect to get an earful. It was the hottest year recorded in Austin's history – so hot and so dry that living through it has become a kind of shared trauma for many.

Greenpeace activists in Texas recently rappelled off a key bridge over the Houston Ship Channel, unfurling streamers and hanging in midair in a scene that looked kind of like high-rise window washers meets Cirque de Soleil. Their aim was to protest the oil and gas that funnels through the waterway every day by disrupting bridge and water traffic.

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