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Country’s biggest new refinery since the 1970s is coming to Texas

By Ryan Osborne

DUVAL COUNTY

The biggest new oil refinery in the country since the 1970s is coming to South Texas, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Houston-based Raven Petroleum plans to process up to 50,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Eagle Ford shale at the facility. It would be located off Texas Highway 359 in Duval County, between Laredo and Corpus Christi, according to the Express-News.

Raven Petroleum plans to export gas from the refinery by rail, possibly to Mexico. Construction on the facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The refinery would sit in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale, which stretches from the Mexico border at Laredo across South Texas, covering 30 counties, according to EagleFordShale.com. The website noted 45 active rigs in the shale as of last week.

The Permian Basin’s Wolfcamp formation in West Texas is considered the biggest shale in Texas and the U.S.

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Proposed Bill Could Require Teachers To Out LGBT Students

By Jennings Brown

A Texas State Senator is fighting against transgender-inclusive policies with a new bill that could force teachers and school facility to tell parents about a student’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

On November 16, State Sen. Konni Burton proposed the “Parent’s Right to Know” bill that would give parents access to all records involving their child, including counseling and psychological records. Under bill SB 242, if an administrator withholds information from a parent or encourages a student to withhold information from their parent, the school employee will face discipline.

Civil rights groups like Equality Texas have spoken out against the legislation, insisting such a law would mean teachers will be forced to out students. Progressive site The New Civil Rights Movement predicts the law “would place LGBT youth in the conservative state at risk for abuse, neglect, or suicide if their parents aren’t accepting. It could even expose them to the dangerous, discredited practice of ‘reparative therapy.’”

Burton’s chief of staff Elliot Griffin told the Houston Chronicle that the connection to reparative therapy was an “unfortunate interpretation” and that the bill does not force a school to share information unless a parent requests it.

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Lawmaker Files Bill in Response to Skyrocketing Creepy/Criminal Teacher-Student Relationships

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In fiscal year 2015-2016, Texas broke a new record that they definitely didn’t want to achieve: An eight-year high in inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

On Friday, Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) filed Senate Bill 7 in order to try and reel in a problem that has become such a mess that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently named inappropriate teacher-student relationships as a top 10 legislative priority heading into the 2017 regular session. Lt. Gov. Patrick announced the initiative on the same day that a San Antonio soccer coach was charged with allegedly showing naked photos of himself to a 17-year-old girl.

“Any inappropriate relationships between teachers and students must be stamped out, period,” says Bettencourt. “I was shocked to hear in testimony before the Senate Education Committee that in some cases school districts simply quashed subpoenas and ‘passed the trash’ rather than protecting the students in their charge. That is unacceptable.”

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RRC relaxes requirements for plugging inactive wells

By Mella McEwen

The Railroad Commission recently has made moves to address some issues facing the state’s residents and its oil and gas industry.

The commissioners have relaxed requirements for plugging inactive wells, allowing low-producing wells to remain active.

“Our move was to lower the production limits to consider wells active,” said Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton in a telephone interview. “We have a lot of stripper wells in the state that are still producing and we wanted to make sure operators have the flexibility they need to keep operating.”

The requirements to be considered active have been lowered from 10 barrels of oil or 100,000 cubic feet of natural gas per month for at least three consecutive months, to five barrels of oil or 50,000 cubic feet of gas per month in that time. Wells can also be considered active if they produce at least one barrel of oil or 1,000 cubic feet per month for a year.

“The difference between 10 barrels a day or more versus five barrels a day is not a lot, but it’s enough to allow operators who want to keep operating their wells,” Sitton said.

It is also about meeting the agency’s primary mission of minimizing waste and about improving efficiency, he said.

Lowering the requirements that keep wells active means fewer wells that operators would be required to plug and “fewer wells that go on our list” of wells the commission has to pay to plug, Sitton said. Its well- plugging fund is funded by permit fees paid by oil and gas operators.

At the same time, Sitton announced a collaboration with the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research, an industry-sponsored multidisciplinary research center under the Bureau of Economic Geology that conducts research into naturally occurring and potentially induced seismicity.

“The CISR project is industry-funded, but it’s operated by the BEG and is not beholden to its sponsors; it’s beholden to the state,” Sitton said.

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RRC notes well activity could cause earthquakes in JC

By Todd Glasscock

In a statement released this week, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton specifically named Johnson County as an area potentially at risk for non-natural earthquakes caused by injection well activity.

The Railroad Commission plans to collaborate with three research groups, the Bureau of Economic Geology and the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research and the Texas Seismometer Network, according to the release, “to better understand both naturally occurring and potentially induced seismicity and the associated risks.”

The release specifies Johnson County as an area these groups want to look into more closely as potentially affected by oil and gas injection activities.

“The science is clear that it is physically possible for injection wells that dispose of fluids deep underground to cause earthquakes in certain rare cases, given the right set of conditions,” Sitton said in the statement. “I have been working diligently on this issue since I joined the Commission in 2014, and after thorough study and visiting with researchers and operators across Texas, I have determined that we need to begin to look more closely at oil and gas injection activities in specific areas. One such area is Johnson County. I have seen credible data and science from operators that lead me to believe that area has elevated risks of seismicity related to disposal activities, and therefore warrants additional investigation.”

A study in the journal Science recently confirmed five quakes, one of which was a 4.8 magnitude temblor, in East Texas in 2012 and 2013 were directly related to injection wells, the sites used to store waste water from oil and gas drilling.

Stanford geophysicist William Ellsworth, who co-authored the study, told the Dallas Morning News that researchers developed a technique using radar and satellites that can determine which quakes are natural and which are man-made. It also showed high-volume deep water wells are kinds of wells responsible for the quakes.

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Mexican cement company offers to BUILD THE WALL for President-elect Donald Trump

By Will Kirby

DONALD Trump’s plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico have been given fresh hope after a Mexican cement company made a shock bid to take up the task.

Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC), one of Mexico’s largest construction material companies, has offered to do the job for the President-elect.

GCC chief executive Enrique Escalante said: “We can’t be choosy.

“We’re an important producer in that area and we have to respect our clients on both sides of the border.”

Trump’s proposal to build a “big, beautiful, powerful” wall to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico was one of the most controversial elements of his divisive election campaign.

The US-Mexico border is 1,954 miles long and while there are already 650 miles of walls and fences along the fro

The President-elect recently conceded he would accept a fence instead of a wall in certain areas, adding: “But certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction, there could be some fencing.”

His comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico have received widespread media attention.

frontier, it is estimated around 11 million illegal immigrants have escaped to the United States.

During his speech in which he announced his candidacy for President, he compared Mexican immigrants to “rapists”, saying: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best.

“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them.

He continued: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”, before conceding: “some, I assume, are good people.”

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With Trump in office, Mexican demand for U.S. gas falls into question

By James Osborne

WASHINGTON – Tensions between the United States and Mexico following the election of Donald Trump are raising concerns that a large and growing market for U.S. natural gas could be cut short, hurting Texas producers and pipeline companies investing billions of dollars to supply utilities, factories and other customers south of the border.

Already, officials in Mexico, which relies on the United States of about three-fourths of its natural gas imports, are in discussions about finding alternative sources, given Trump’s campaign promises to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and build a wall on the southern border, said Jose Antonio Prado, an attorney in Mexico City who formerly served as general counsel for the government-owned power utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad.

“The Mexican government has relied on gas from Texas and other parts of the world,” he said in an interview last week. “If you have a president that has shown not to be very friendly with Mexico, you’d have to take your precautions about that. It’s about not having all your eggs in one basket.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump carries through with pledges that could potentially sour relations with Mexico, but the implications for the U.S. and Texas energy sectors could be large. Any moves by Mexico to reduce U.S. imports could endanger a growing business for U.S. pipeline companies as President Enrique Pena Nieto has steadily moved his country to buy more of the cheap natural gas flowing from shale fields such as Texas’ Eagle Ford since the advent of the hydraulic fracturing boom.

Companies including Spectra Energy of Houston, Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, and Calgary-based Transcanada, which has a large presence in Houston, are all in the process of developing multi-billion dollar pipeline projects running across the border. Kinder Morgan has announced plans to expand existing pipelines running into Mexico from Texas and Arizona.

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Rick Perry’s Ties To Dakota Pipeline Could Hurt Bid For Trump Cabinet

Chris White

Environmentalists believe former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s position with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) could create a conflict of interest if he takes a spot in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet.

Activists contend that Perry’s role with Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the multi-billion dollar DAPL, will present a problem if the decision to approve the pipeline is left to the Trump administration.

“The incoming Trump administration ran on draining the swamp, however the deep financial ties they have with Big Oil and Wall Street makes all the campaign rhetoric just words,” Jane Kleeb, the president of activist group Bold Alliance, told reporters Tuesday.

She added: “If Trump is serious, he will require all appointments to cut all financial ties with these big corporations which are clear conflicts of interest.”
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Governor, Sen. Cornyn, Rep. Cuellar Request Info On DHS Border Resources

By Staff

Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) today sent aletter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting additional information on DHS’s aerial-based border security resources.

In February, the leaders expressed concern that DHS had only requested half the normal flight hours from the Department of Defense (DoD) to support Operation Phalanx, despite a full appropriation of funds from Congress.

At this time, DHS has not requested any flight hours to support Operation Phalanx for calendar year 2017.

“Given the continuing surge of migrants along the Southern Border beyond FY15 numbers and a large uptick in apprehensions already for the month of November 2016, we believe DHS should be requesting more surveillance and security resources, not less,” Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar write in the letter. “Given that Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine is currently 12 percent below its goal for air interdiction agents this cut in DoD support is extremely imprudent.”

Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar requested that DHS identify which resources will be utilized to backfill the gaps left by a reduction in the aerial resources used to support the nation’s border security efforts.

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Proposed Texas law would make targeting police officers a hate crime

A new bill proposed by Texas state lawmakers Monday would make it a hate crime to target police officers or first responders.

The legislation was filed just one day after a longtime San Antonio police officer was assassinated while he sat in his patrol car writing a ticket.

“We’re going to ask that it become an emergency legislative item for the governor so that as soon as we get to Austin in January, we pass it right away, make it law right away,” Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba told KHOU-TV.

“Texas will arm our prosecutors, D.A.s and judges with every tool they need to punish to the fullest extent possible those who harm our first responders,” he explained.

If passed, the bill would become the first of its kind in the United States.

According to KHOU, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called for a bill similar to this in July after five Dallas police officers were murdered in the streets during a protest.

In 2016, 58 police officers nationwide have been murdered via gunfire in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Seven of the firearm murders have happened in Texas.Re

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