Mose Buchele, KUT News | KUOW News and Information

Mose Buchele, KUT News

Mose Buchele is the Austin-based broadcast reporter for KUT's NPR partnership StateImpact Texas . He has been on staff at KUT 90.5  since 2009, covering local and state issues.  Mose 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.

Scott Canada says his company had big plans this year for a 100-megawatt solar farm outside Fort Stockton, Texas.

“It would have been built over the next 18 months,” says Canada, senior vice president of renewable energy for McCarthy Building Companies. “It generally would have probably employed 300 to 400 people at its peak, depending on how tight the schedule was being compressed.”

News that the Sandow Power Plant outside Rockdale was closing broke on Friday the 13th.

“You would think you could put off till Monday to make that announcement," Steven Garza chuckles. "But that’s how it went down.”

Garza has worked as an electrician at the plant for four years. He and his wife were driving their son to school when he got the call and had to tell her he would be out of a job. 

Kathleen Hartnett White is facing scrutiny from U.S. senators today as part of her nomination to lead President Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White was Texas' top regulator for six years. Her nomination to the White House post has proved controversial, even in an administration that is no stranger to controversy.

While the small Texas town of Sutherland Springs struggles to come to terms with the mass shooting at First Baptist Church on Sunday, another Texas community is also reeling.

A new island has risen up near the boardwalk on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. I noticed it on a recent jog, and I’m not the only one.

One of the many things Donald Trump promised during his campaign was that he would boost the country’s coal industry. Soon after he won the presidency, though, it became clear to some experts that the future of coal in the U.S. was dim; that natural gas, wind and solar were pushing it out of the market.

The coal industry found an ally in Trump’s pick to helm the Department of Energy: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The debate over rewriting Austin’s land use code has inflamed passions. People argue over how the plan, called CodeNEXT, will affect affordability, quality of life – the very character of Austin. Now, the proposal is exposing a division in Central Texas' tight-knit environmental community.


Kathleen Hartnett White was a top environmental regulator in Texas from 2001 to 2007.

A major earthquake-monitoring network is up and running across Texas.

Thanks to an interactive website hosted by TexNet, you can now see where quakes are happening and learn about them in real time. The tool could be useful for the growing number of people who’ve felt earthquakes here.

Energy company Luminant says it’s shutting down three of its coal-fired power plants in Texas by early next year. The sudden closure of so many plants is unprecedented. That's not the only thing unexpected about the closures, though.

The Eliza Springs Amphitheater sits like an abandoned ruin near the Zilker Zephyr train station by Barton Springs Pool. The oval-shaped, open-air gallery was built into the ground in 1903 near Eliza Spring – one of the four springs feeding into what we know as Barton Springs. Over the last year, the city has been renovating the relic to accommodate its endangered inhabitants.

The weather was good for the funeral. The sunset painted the Port Aransas sky in pinks, yellows and blues. The breeze off the Gulf cut the humidity. The crowd of 60 or so on the beach was dressed eclectically. Some wore t-shirts and swimsuits, others traditional black. They were all there to mourn Tony Amos. They would do it in a way that, probably, no man had been mourned before.

It wasn’t just people who found themselves displaced after Hurricane Harvey flooded parts of Texas. Animals escaped the floodwaters, as well – and not just run-of-the-mill house pets.

The Austin Zoo recently took in a tiger, two lions, and a family of tamarin monkeys – all rescued from the Texas Zoo in Victoria, Texas, which flooded after Hurricane Harvey.

A hiring freeze for most state jobs hurt Texas’ ability to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, the state employees union says.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the hiring freeze earlier this year to save money. At Texas Health and Human Services, that meant 600 vacancies for “eligibly workers” went unfilled, union President Judy Lugo said.

Right now, an army of FEMA home inspectors is working its way through parts of Texas decimated by Hurricane Harvey. The inspectors are recording information that will help the government decide who gets disaster aid and how much. But the way that money is distributed has come under fire.

When it comes to Hurricane Harvey, Austin got off easy compared to other cities. The storm proved challenging for the city’s electric grid, however: About 79,000 customers lost power, and the city's electric utility is still tallying the cost.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University has announced a new archival project to gather materials from Texas musical history.

David Coleman, director of the Wittliff, says the plan is to build on an assortment of artifacts already on hand, like a songbook written by an 11-year old Willie Nelson.

“It’s got some great lyrics in it, just from an 11-year-old boy,” he says, including a song about the "hangover blues."

“I think he knew pretty darn early what his path was."

Like thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims, Patricia Belcher spent her time last week in limbo. She and her family were stuck in a shelter in Austin after the managers of her Victoria apartment complex called with bad news.

Standing on the bank of Onion Creek at McKinney Falls State Park, De Ding watches his wife and two kids splash in the water.

“I’ve seen enough water,” he chuckles. But, it's better than the water he was dealing with Houston, he says.

For some people, Hurricane Harvey destroyed a life’s worth of memories. For others, it was their dreams that the storm interrupted. That was the case for one young couple who had just gotten engaged and bought a house on the Gulf Coast when the hurricane hit.

Some evacuees from Hurricane Harvey are coming up on a week living away from home. That’s a long time to spend on a cot in an unfamiliar city, especially if you’re a kid. So what is there to do?

At the Delco Center shelter in East Austin, one 10-year-old volunteered to help others.

On Sunday morning Jessica Hulsey woke up in her home in Houston’s East End. She went to her front door to see how high the water had risen – but it wasn’t the water that surprised her.  

Tropical Storm Harvey has brought the mighty Texas oil refining industry to its knees, at least temporarily, and Texas drivers are just starting to feel the pain.

Sitting in front of the temporary shelter in Smithville on Sunday, evacuees watched rain patter across the parking lot and speculated about which roads had been closed and reopened. Some of them had been through floods before.

‘This ain’t my first flood, but this is my worse flood. I’ll tell you what,” chuckled Floyd Henderson, one of 76 evacuees saying at the Smithville Recreation Center on Sunday. 

If you find yourself walking on Red River near 12th Street downtown, stop for second. Glance toward the state Capitol and enjoy a view that cost the city millions. This is the site of the biggest snag in Austin’s ambitious plan to harness the flood waters of Waller Creek. But now, after nearly 20 year of work, the project may be close to complete.

It’s estimated that 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. A few years ago, National Parks decided to try and make a small dent in that number by banning water bottle sales on parkland. Now, the Trump administration has reversed that policy.

The invasive zebra mussel has been moving south for years, leaving destruction its wake. Now, it’s in Lake Travis (update: and Lake Austin), and it will soon make its way downstream, changing the look, feel and maybe even the taste of Austin’s lakes forever.

The science on whether there's a link between oil and gas activity and a surge in earthquakes in Texas isn't clear-cut, says the new seismologist for the agency that regulates the industry here.

A few years ago, self-driving cars seemed like something out of The Jetsons. Now, they’re here (at least in prototype). Their proliferation promises easier commutes and fewer accidents. But, that’s just the start.

Autonomous cars could forever change how cities like Austin look – and how they operate – in some major ways.

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