Jesse Morrell is a Christian, a Christian who recently visited the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. He lives in Lindale, 90 minutes east of Dallas off I-20, where he’s the head of a group called Open Air Outreach, which is “dedicated to taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to where it truly belongs — to lost sinners.” His approach has not been accepted by all. In his self-written Wikipedia user profile, Morrell addressed some of theseÂ criticisms, saying he is “often called a ‘heretic’ and a ‘Pelagian’ by Calvinists, but he is in good company because these same Calvinists say the same thing about great revivalists like Charles Finney, William Booth, and John Wesley.”
As you can see above, Morrell did not enjoy his visit to the Perot Museum. He called it “fairytale propaganda” and was stunned that a science museum included photos of Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins. Imagine that, a science museum with photos of scientists. The above screengrab is a Google review Morrell wrote, brought to the attention of the masses via Reddit.Â Redditors got a good laugh at Morrell’s expense, but thought he was nothing more than a troll. Wrong.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality filed a complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to order New Mexico to release water the commission believes belongs to Texas, the American-Statesman reports.Â Texas says that New Mexico has dodged a 74-year-old agreement to deliver Texas’ share of Rio Grande water by illegally allowing diversions of both surface and underground water.
“It is unfortunate that we have had to resort to legal action, but negotiations with New Mexico have been unsuccessful, and Texas is not getting the water that it is allocated and legally entitled to,” TCEQ Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein told the paper in a statement.
Much of the agricultural land in Texas receives its water from the Rio Grande, and constitutes half the water supply for El Paso. Jump for the full filing:
Or the City Plan Commission is reconsidering their Dec. 20 vote on Trinity River floodplain fracking. One or the other. Full agenda right here, and the Trinity East Energy plan from the Dec. 20 meeting is right here.
The Observer‘s cover story this week, written by the unbelievably handsome, tall, and single Brantley Hargrove, is about the Keystone XL pipeline, the stuck craw of, well, just about everyone. A few fellas in East Texas have now climbed into a tree in an attempt to peacefully stop the pipeline’s construction; the video above is a live feed. For more info, head to Tar Sands Blockade.
The largest source of power plant mercury emissions nationwide is owned by Dallas-based Luminant Generation, and three of the company’s other plants rank in the top 10, according to a report released today by the Environmental Integrity Project. The No. 1 polluter –Â Martin Lake Steam Electric Station & Lignite Mine in Rusk County – allegedly pumps out 1,501 pounds of mercury emissions each year. The other three Luminant-owned plants are located in Freestone, Titus, and Milam counties, respectively. A plant in Harrison County – but owned by Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power – also made the top 10.
“Nationwide, equipment has been installed over the years to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter,” said EIP attorney Ilan Levin, in a statement. “That has helped cut down on the release of mercury, toxic metals and acid gases from power plants over the last ten years. However, that progress is uneven, and the dirtiest plants continue to churn out thousands of pounds of toxinsÂ that can be hazardous to human health even in small concentrations. For example, emissions ofÂ mercury from coal-fired power plants have actually increased in the last decade in the state ofÂ Texas.”
Luminant began 2013 with a new CEO, Mac McFarland.
Emails have been sent to Luminant reps; we’ll update accordingly.
UPDATE: From Luminant spokeswoman Ashley Barrie, “Luminant stands by its strong track record of exemplary compliance in meeting or outperforming all state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations. Our voluntary installation of activated carbon injection systems on all of our coal-fueled power plant units demonstrates our commitment to protect air quality and the environment well in advance of state or federal mandates. This equipment has resulted in the reduction of fleet-wide mercury emissions by more than 20 percent since 2005, despite the addition of 2,200 MW of coal-fueled units. In addition, we’ve continued to make investments including $300 million in emission control equipment across our fleet – $80 million at Martin Lake Power Plant — which will further reduce mercury and SO2.”
The last-minute fiscal cliff deal spared the lapse of the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit late Tuesday, saving close to 37,000 jobs across the country, StateImpact Texas reports.
The support was created in 1992 to help spur wind and geothermal energy exploration, and provides suppliers a 2.2-cent tax credit for each kilowatt hour of energy they make during their first ten years of operation. The one-year extension of the credit – approved as part of the fiscal cliff bill – is expected to cost $12.1 billion over ten years.
And why is this important to Texas? Well, on Christmas Day, ERCOT set a new wind-power record.
“Unlike traditional power plants, wind power output can vary dramatically over the course of a single day, and even more so over time,” said Kent Saathoff, ERCOT’s vice president of Grid Operations and System Planning, in a statement. “With new tools and experience, our operators have learned how to harness every megawatt of power they can when the wind is blowing at high levels like this.”
Despite the soothing,Â pachouli-scented tones of Matthew McConaughey’s voice reminding all of us that Reliant is “totally alright, brother,” electricity deregulation may not have been that great for Texas consumers. The Texas Coalition For Affordable Power found that Texans have paid an extra $10.4 billion for electricity under deregulation. That’s mostly due to a run-up in electric rates between 2005 and 2008, when natural gas prices skyrocketed, the Texas Observer reports.
While the number – $10.4 billion! — is jarring, TCAP reports that, percentage-wise, Texas is fairly middle-of-the-pack. The 48 percent leap since 1999 trails the nation’s largest jump – Michigan – by 12 percent.
For the masochists in the bunch, there’s a 100-page report to parse through after the jump.
The Dallas City Council green-lighted continued negotiations with AT&T and SMU for the proposed Trinity Forest Golf Course today, so city manager Mary Suhm will now take the baton and run, presumably, to the corner of Loop 12 and Pemberton Hill Road and startÂ shoveling.
The full agenda item and packet are Addendum #21 right here.Â With regard for your time, brainpower, and willingness to keep reading about this damn thing, I’ll stop (but you should read Tim’s latest missive, first).
Only a quarter-inch of rain fell – on average — across Texas in November, prompting meteorologists and climatologists to worry about a second (third? fourth? thousandth?) wave of the state’s crippling drought. The rain report for Dallas-Fort Worth for the month was even more bleak – .05 inches, according to the Star-Telegram, the fifth-driest on record.
So where does that leave us? If you look at the fancy map atop these words, D-FW is in much better shape than most of the state. The Panhandle and far South Texas are still mired in droughts of epic proportions, far worse than our area. Take a closer look, though, and the picture becomes less clear.
Yesterday, the Morning News reported on its Scoop blog that XTO, an Exxon-Mobil subsidiary, hadÂ filed for zoning changes that would authorize drilling at Dallas’ Hensley Field, adjacent to Mountain Creek Lake.
The goal – as is with most businesses – is to get up and running ASAP. But the City Council still hasn’t decided what to do with the recommendation from its drilling task force: send it back to the City Plan Commission, sit on its hands, or go full-drill ahead.
Dallas Residents At Risk chimed in this morning with a letter, seen below:
Yesterday, on my walk back from the Perot Museum, I spotted this sign outside El Fenix.
Today, I called the El Fenix to see what might go into a Deck Park Margarita. My guesses:
- grass clippings (for color)
- shredded money from Kelcy Warren’s secret vault (for richness)
- a individual hair off Klyde Warren’s head (for saltiness)
Turns out: hibiscus flower. Too bad the deck park doesn’t actually have any hibiscus in it.
The Perot Museum of Nature and ScienceÂ invitedÂ the city’s media elite / anyone they could scrape together that wasn’t doing actual work to tour their stone edifice today. Tim, Zac, Liz, and I went to this morning’s session; a corduroyed arts editor was seen heading for the 11 a.m. session.
In short, it’s a great museum, well worth your time, and opens December 1. We spent less than two hours in the exhibit halls but could’ve spent three times that. Here’s some photos, so you can feel like you were there:
According to Jackson Landers, author of Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species, YES.
There are so many people right now who have meat-eater’s remorse – people who eat meat and feel kind of bad about it, but they’re not actually going to stop. Or they’re vegetarians and their bodies actually crave meat. But there’s so much awareness about what’s wrong with the mainstream food system – and they haven’t known what to do about that. The beautiful thing about hunting, especially invasive species, is it’s a way of dropping out of the mainstream meat paradigm, where so many of the ethical and health problems associated with eating meat arise.
Q. Local and federal agencies seem to be divided on this issue. How is conservation reconciled with food safety? For example, should we hunt species like feral boar rooting in spinach fields?
A. The [U.S. Department of Agriculture] doesn’t really care if hunters are out in spinach fields shooting feral boar. The [Food and Drug Administration] has more of a problem in that regard. Because whenever federal regulations come into play involving the sale of meat across state lines, it has to be slaughtered and processed in an approved slaughterhouse – which is kind of ridiculous. In Europe, wild game can be killed in the field, brought to the butcher, cut up, and sold. It’s not like big E. coli or brucellosis outbreaks are happening; they’ve been doing this in Europe for over 100 years with good science behind it. There’s no special food safety danger with regards to selling the meat of animals that have been killed in the field, which is to say on a hunt.
Texas has more feral hogs than the rest of the country combined, and the state began hosting its “Get The Hog Outta Texas”Â competitionÂ in 2010. Maybe they should also let people bring a fork and knife.