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Year in Review: Environment

The drought dominated environmental headlines in Texas this year, along with rising concerns about the consequences of fracking and, as always, growing disputes between Texas and the feds.


2013 was a tough year for the environment in Texas, as the debilitating drought persisted in nearly half the state, leaving cities scrambling to acquire new water supplies or enact historic water conservation measures.

The drought also received significant legislative attention in 2013, with state lawmakers overhauling the Texas Water Development Board and providing funding for water infrastructure projects in the only way Republicans would allow — by getting voters to approve a constitutional amendment taking money from the Rainy Day Fund.

The state's oil and gas boom continued to accelerate in 2013, raising questions about safety and negative impacts on the environment and air quality — while also adding to the state's coffers. That's made the federal government an even bigger target of Republicans, who have lambasted everything from possible endangered species listings to new rules on air pollution and greenhouse gas limits. 

Meanwhile, there are still far more questions than answers more than six months after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West that killed 15 people and leveled much of the town. 

Getting Serious About a Texas-Sized Drought 

Texans Vote For Water Infrastructure Funding 

Supreme Court Backs Oklahoma Over Texas Water District 

Officials Search For Answers After Explosion in West 

In Texas, Fight Over Water Spills Underground 

LCRA Likely to Cut Off Rice Farmers Again in 2014 

Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas Panhandle Suffers Big Drop 

Battles over Endangered Species 

The Consequences of Fracking 

Texas vs. the Feds 

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/12/24/year-review/.

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