Hill Country

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 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.

Hill Country residents are worried developers will scar the area’s scenic hill tops, and one town has decided to do something about it. 


A bird feeder and birdhouse on Hill Country property that the pipeline would go through.
Julia Reihs / KUT

A new front has opened in the legal battle against a 430-mile natural gas pipeline planned through the Texas Hill Country, this time focusing on how the project will impact the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas’ oil and gas industry is seeing a boom — thanks in large part to the relatively new oil-drilling method called fracking. Late last year, Texas oil helped push the country to become the largest producer of crude in the world. Around the same time, however, the boom came to an end for one town in the Hill Country.