Movement Of Texas Prisoners Continues In Response To Harvey, And A Judge’s Order

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 22, 2017 11:25 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Thousands of Texas prison inmates are being moved to other prisons. It started earlier this summer when a federal judge said prisoners deemed heat-sensitive at the Pack Unit in Navasota had to be moved to air-conditioned facilities. Then Hurricane Harvey hit and prisons near the rising Brazos River were evacuated and taken to this same un-air conditioned facility at the center of the original lawsuit.

Now, the judge is requiring those evacuated prisoners be moved to air-conditioned units, too. And other inmates are having to move elsewhere to make room.

Jason Clark, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the agency began moving prisoners on Thursday morning.

“I think the description of musical chairs is an accurate description. We are going to have to move about 3,300 offenders over the next couple of days in order to comply with the judge’s decision,” Clark says.

The prisoners who were evacuated to the Pack Unit can’t be moved back to their original unit because, like most state prisons in Texas, it isn’t air-conditioned.

A new report out this week looks at the future of production in the oil-rich Permian Basin, under two different scenarios.

Marfa Public Radio’s Elizabeth Trovall reports that one scenario sees production peaking in the next four years.

A new study suggests oil production in the Permian Basin could peak as early as 2021 due to geological constraints. This was the downside scenario gamed out by researchers with industry intelligence company Woods Mackenzie.

“We’re going to drill really really hard for the next there of four years. We’re going to exhaust a lot of those parent locations. We’re going to keep drilling, but we’re going to drill into pressure-depleted areas,” said researcher Robert Clarke, explaining the report in a Woods Mackenzie podcast.

He said in this downside scenario there will still be a lot of drilling, just smaller wells.

“Taking that downside scenario case forward, even out to 2030, the Permian’s still producing just shy of 3 million barrels a day,” Clarke said. “So this isn’t a story of it peaked and it’s finished.”

Another scenario considered in the report looks at how advances in technology could actually lead to widespread, more efficient fracking. This upside scenario saw production peak at 5.6 million barrels a day in 2025.

One of Gov. Greg Abbott’s dogs, Oreo, has passed away at the age of 13. Abbott announced the sad news about his border collie on Twitter Thursday.

Oreo is survived by Abbott’s other dog, a golden retriever named Pancake,  who joined the family in 2015.