Energy regulations should be left to experts and politicians, not voters

Democracy can be a really bad idea. The majority of voters cannot be trusted to make the best decision when it comes to emotional or complex topics, such as minority rights or industrial regulation. Deeply ingrained prejudices, personal profit motives and intentionally misleading propaganda often sway voters more than reason or science. That’s why referendums […]

Guidelines Could Make Oil Companies Better Neighbors

In Yorktown, Texas, they put locks on fire hydrants to keep oil workers from stealing water. Meanwhile, the ammonia level at the water treatment plant has been rising, and officials suspect it’s from oil field workers illegally dumping used wastewater into the sewage system of the small town, 150 miles southwest of Houston. “It’s easy […]

Conservation Efforts are Best handled Locally

Here’s a little-known fact about species proposed for federal protection: They are everywhere. They are in every Texas county, all but two Texas rivers and are found above ground, underground and in the water and the air. Susan Combs, the state comptroller, told me her team has totaled 129 so far, 12 of which are […]

Capturing CO2 to Produce More Oil Solves Several Problems

Capturing man-made carbon dioxide and pumping it into the ground would not only help the environment, but also help the United States continue producing record amounts of oil. Many people question how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, released last week, could present a business opportunity for Texas companies. The answer […]

First Houston Chronicle Column: Export Crude and Technology

The next big thing for oil and gas drillers will be Mexico. Or maybe China. But then, East Africa is showing some promise. And we can’t forget about the Norwegians. They’re producing a lot of oil and gas these days from some very old wells. If you thought the Eagle Ford Shale was the only […]

New Job as a Columnist for The Houston Chronicle

Nearly 20 years after my first Associated Press byline, I am leaving the global wire service that sent me around the world to become a columnist for the Houston Chronicle, focusing on energy, business and policy. The new leadership team at the Chronicle, Editor Nancy Barnes and Managing Editor Vernon Loeb, are giving me space […]

Split over $2B State Water Infrastructure Fund

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Early voting is underway on whether to tap the state’s rainy day fund to create a $2 billion water infrastructure fund, but while the constitutional amendment enjoys widespread support, there is vocal conservative opposition that could derail it in a low-turnout election. Listed on the ballot as Proposition 6, the measure […]