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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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.

Wikimedia Commons

Divers have found large amounts of invasive zebra mussels at intake pipes that feed Austin’s water supply, opening up a costly new challenge for the city’s water utility.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A plan to build a publicly funded seawall to protect oil refineries has highlighted gaps in how oil and gas companies inform investors of potential risks associated with climate change.

Vivian Abagiu / UT Austin

Scientists say they’ve invented a new tool to fight mosquito-borne illnesses. The technology could help public health officials rapidly track and fight the spread of diseases like Zika and dengue fever.

All it takes is a cellphone, a small 3D-printed plastic box and a chemical mixture, says Sanchita Bhadra, a molecular biologist at UT Austin who worked on the project.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution Thursday encouraging local stores to keep honoring the city’s so-called bag ban. It’s the latest response to a state Supreme Court ruling this year that found Texas cities and towns could not enforce regulations of single-use plastic bags.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin has had 48 triple-digit days so far this year. That puts this summer on track to be the third hottest ever recorded in the city in terms of average temperature. It also continues a trend of warming in the region that became more pronounced around the turn of the century.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Turtles across the state can breathe a sigh of relief this weekend, thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. In a vote this week, the statewide environmental regulator prohibited commercial hunting of Texas turtles – a measure that's been slow-moving for years.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Chemical plants and oil refineries spewed millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and on the ground after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas a year ago. Some parts of the state did a better job than others in controlling those emissions and spills, according to a new report that tries to take lessons from Harvey to better prepare for the next storm.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Four large wildfires have broken out in Central Texas in just about a week. It’s part of a bad year for Texas fires, and climate researchers say the uptick in fires bears the fingerprints of climate change.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Take a rapidly growing state, add a scorching heat wave, and you have a recipe for historically high electricity use. So it was that Texas broke the record for power demand three times in the last week. Through it all, the state’s electric grid operated without major disruption.

That success nevertheless revealed some interesting things about the ways we generate and consume electricity.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

You’ve probably noticed it’s been a hazy summer in Austin. And you may have heard that's because of massive clouds of dust blown across the ocean from Africa. That fact alone inspires awe.

But it turns out there is much more to these dust clouds than the distance they travel.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s a strange time of year to enjoy the outdoors in Austin.  We’ve got triple-digit heat, Saharan dust filling the sky, and, you may have noticed, grackles are looking a little worse for wear.

Julia Reihs

Austin is ending its ban on free single-use plastic bags at stores and restaurants after a state Supreme Court ruling against a similar ban in Laredo. But repealing the ordinance, commonly known as the “bag ban,” doesn't mean every store will start handing them out again.  

Eddie Gaspar for KUT

Texas leads the nation in flash-flood deaths, with more than 75 percent of those deaths occurring at low-water crossings. Now, a part of the state known as “flash flood alley” is turning to technology to help.

City workers in Austin are visiting creeks at low-water crossings to install cameras that will make images of flooding available to the public in real-time.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled Laredo can't ban the use of single-use bags. At issue was whether the city could ban bags under the state law regulating so-called solid waste management.

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