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.

The legacy of Austin’s polluting past still lives in its soil. Parcels of land, especially on the city’s East Side, carry contamination from businesses and industries that long ago closed up shop. For the last several years, the city has had federal help cleaning up some of the land for new uses.

But now that funding is under threat. The program that provides the grants would be slashed by 30 percent under the Trump administration's proposed budget.

As greenhouse gasses heat the atmosphere, we can expect more severe floods and droughts. That could be trouble for critical infrastructure like bridges and roads in many cities, including here in Central Texas.

After an explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people in West, Texas, in 2013, the EPA created new safety protections for the storage of dangerous chemicals. Now, at the urging of the industry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is delaying those rules until 2019.

Signs went up recently near KUT's studios on the UT campus, warning people about aggressive birds. After two members of the newsroom got dive-bombed by grackles, we started wondering what it was all about.

Fish can breathe under water. They’re great swimmers. But they’re not really known for their singing.

But they do sing – kind of. And now scientists on the Texas Gulf Coast are hoping that fact can help sustain their populations.

When lawmakers meet in Austin later this summer for a special legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott wants them to curb the ability of Texas cities to protect trees.  

Gas prices could hit a 12-year low this summer. That’s as much as 40 cents lower than analysts thought they’d be in some parts of the country.

When Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a special session of the state Legislature to convene next month, he told lawmakers to tackle hot-button issues like abortion, property taxes and school vouchers. And then there were the trees.

Every morning hundreds of thousands of people traverse Austin's congested roads to get to work. Most of them have probably thought: There’s got to be a better way.

This is the story of one man who found it.

Researchers mounted air pollution monitors on Google cars driving around to record images for the tech giant's Street View maps. The result, they say, is a new way to measure and track air quality.

Coal is one of the big reasons President  Trump has ended the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord. He says ending a pledge to reduce CO2 emissions could help reinvigorate the coal industry. So we decided to ask people in the one coal-producing area of Central Texas what they thought of the decision. 

Christine Hawkes says her work isn’t all that glamorous.

“Sometimes when people ask me what my job is, I say 'digging holes,'” she says. "You know? It’s a lot of what I do is just digging up soil.”

Ask Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter what caught his attention in a recent release of census data for Texas cities, and he’ll tell you: Houston, in Harris County.

“In the past three or four years, prior to the [2015-16] set of estimates, Harris County was the most significant growing county in the country numerically,” he says.

The U.S. Census is out with new numbers on which cities grew the most and which cities grew the fastest last year. Texas leads the pack in both categories.

From the hike and bike trail on Lady Bird Lake to Mount Bonnell, Austin is proud of its parks. But a new study ranking city parks around the country suggests that pride might not be fully justified. Austin ranked just 46 out of the 100 largest U.S. cities.

Building a better battery is the holy grail for people who want better technology. Now researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, say they may have found that battery — or something close. But their claims have sparked controversy.

It’s still a long time before the congressional midterm elections in November 2018. But a lot of candidates are already showing interest in running. And many of them are embracing an environmental message that, traditionally, has been kept on the sidelines.

Texas leads the country in wind energy production and, because of the way the state’s electric grid is set up, most of that power stays right here. But a plan that would allow the state to make money exporting wind and solar power is moving slowly. 

Judging from how hot it has been, this year could end up being Austin’s hottest ever. Heat impacts health, happiness and the environment. So the city is trying a simple approach to reducing it: planting trees.

Depending on what thermometer you’re looking at, this year’s average temperature has been between 5 and 7 degrees hotter than usual so far in Austin. That could set 2017 up to be one of Austin’s hottest years ever.  People who research climate change already know a lot about how warmer temperatures disrupt human activity. But hot days may have an impact on our mental health that we’re only just starting to understand.

Since Scott Pruitt has taken the reigns of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency has rolled back regulations, scrubbed information on global warming from its website and dismissed members of a key science advisory board. But that isn’t enough for some climate change skeptics and fossil fuel advocates, who would like to see the EPA rescind its entire rationale for battling global warming.

More people in Texas drink from water systems that are in violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act than any other state in the country,  according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The City of Austin has unveiled a new blueprint for its zoning overhaul, known as CodeNEXT – a plan aims to manage growth and transportation challenges by rewriting Austin's land-use code.

But critics say, for a city that prides itself on its environmentalism, Austin has failed to take into account one important thing in CodeNEXT: the future impact of climate change.

The population boom in Central Texas has brought a lot of challenges to the region – some expected, some less so. One question you may not have considered is what happens to all the extra sewage water produced by the growing population. Now, a bill at the state Capitol hopes to answer that very question.

Austin is among a handful of U.S. cities that could see a rush of newcomers in the next century as rising sea levels force people out of coastal areas, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change.

The only peregrine falcon that lives year-round in Central Texas makes her home in a wooden box on the UT Tower. More than a month ago, the bird laid a clutch of eggs. But, as the weeks passed, it became unlikely that the eggs would hatch. So, the university agreed to remove the eggs for research. 

For years the electric car company Tesla has tried to change the way people are allowed to buy cars in Texas. The company wants make it legal for consumers to cut out the middleman and buy cars directly from the manufacturer, a way of car shopping that’s already been adopted in many other states. 

In 2016, Texas was one of the fastest growing states in the country, adding almost a half-million people in a year’s time. With growth like that, securing future water supplies will become critical, so Sen. Ted Cruz filed a bill to loosen regulations around importing water from other states. The idea is to make it easier for Texas to buy water from its neighbors. But some worry it could lead to environmental destruction.

If you walk by the UT Tower and you look up above the belfry, near the very top, you can just make out a small wooden box. In that box lives a lonely bird that might be the only peregrine falcon that’s a permanent resident in the area – but some hope she won’t stay lonely forever. 

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