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 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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The oil and gas industry is releasing 60 percent more methane than the Environmental Protection Agency currently estimates, according to a study published in latest edition of Science.

That’s bad news when it comes to global warming.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Dripping Springs wants to be able to discharge treated wastewater into Onion Creek, but that's rubbed a lot of people downstream the wrong way. Now, city officials say, there may be a compromise on the table.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A decision expected soon from the state Supreme Court could hobble Austin's ability to regulate plastic bag litter and contamination.

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The stars at night could get bigger and brighter in Fredericksburg, as it works to achieve "dark-sky" designation from the International Dark-Sky Association. The effort by the Hill Country city aims to reduce the light pollution to both boost the quality of its stargazing and increase tourism.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said this week that the Department of Energy is working on a plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power in the name of national security. While the details are scarce, the idea’s been the subject of speculation and criticism from energy experts, environmentalists and grid operators.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke in Austin today about a new Department of Energy plan to bail out failing coal and nuclear power plants in the name of national security.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Last month was the hottest May ever recorded in the Austin area. If that has you worried about what's in store, you have good reason to be: A vicious circle of self-perpetuating heat descends on Texas in the summer.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Lead has been found in the drinking water of five Austin public schools, new data obtained by Environment Texas from the Austin Independent School District shows. It's the second time in the past year the toxic metal has been discovered in AISD schools and facilities.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you like going to the park to feed the ducks, you can thank the Migratory Bird Act of 1918.

“Ducks were nearly eliminated at one point," says Steve Holmer, vice president of policy for the American Bird Conservancy. "But through the law and through the effort of conservation, there has been a complete turnaround."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is hosting three roundtable discussions this week in response to the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The first roundtable, held Tuesday, focused on "school and community safety."

The meeting was private, but afterward Abbott read reporters “a list of suggestions and ideas that came out of" the discussions.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today convened the first of three roundtable discussions on "school and community safety" in response to Friday's school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Student activists around the country are pushing for universities not to invest in industries that contribute to global warming. But at the University of Texas, some environmentalists are taking a different approach, urging UT not to divest, but to adopt more climate-friendly drilling rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As a boy in the 1950s James White remembers going with his father to his job in the oilfields of the Permian Basin. His dad would give him a five-gallon bucket, some soap and a scrub brush and come back to check on him hours later.

During those hours of scrubbing in the West Texas sun, he developed a passion for oil rigs and pump jacks.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is evaluating the destruction caused by a landslide last week along Shoal Creek, just downstream from Shoal Creek Boulevard. Part of a hill next to the creek collapsed after heavy rains Friday, but the full scope of the damage – including damage to private property in the posh Pemberton Heights neighborhood – is only now coming into focus.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Jessica Zarowitz was in for a surprise while walking her dog, Lady Bird, along the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail on Monday: The trail that had been there for years suddenly wasn’t. Trees had fallen over it, and the pavement had buckled and slid into the creek in places.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

When electric scooters flooded into Austin, the companies that rent them touted their environmental benefits: “Riders were able to prevent 445,334 pounds of carbon emissions,” a press release from Bird said. The startup LimeBike estimated its scooters reduced 8,500 pounds of CO2 here in just two weeks.

But those numbers are based on some shaky assumptions.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For all the good news in the oil business these days, its long-term future remains uncertain. The rise of electric vehicles, the potential for stricter climate regulation and the volatility introduced by fracking all pose threats to the industry. But oil companies still need to place their wagers on the future of energy, and in a few weeks Shell is placing a big one on the Appomattox Deepwater Platform, which sets sail soon from the Texas coast.

University of Texas at Austin

Astronomers usually study their subject from afar. They peer at stars and planets through telescopes, or rely on physics and math to hypothesize about the universe. Now, a group of researchers at UT Austin hopes to open up a new way of studying space: by re-creating the stuff stars are made of in labs right here on Earth.

Anthony Albright via Flickr

If you live in Austin, chances are your gas bill is going up. That’s because Texas Gas Service, the utility that supplies most of the city with gas, is raising rates. The company has done it every year since 2011, and some people think the process by which rates have risen needs an overhaul.

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