News Roundup: Researchers Map North Texas Fault Lines Vulnerable To Oil and Gas Drilling

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 26, 2019 1:17 pm

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

A study out this week finds most faults in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are sensitive to forces that could cause earthquakes. Specifically, they’re susceptible to activities related to oil and gas production such as high-volume wastewater injection underground.  

Peter Hennings is a research scientist with the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, and one of the study’s authors. He points out that earthquakes are a relatively new issue in the region. 

“The north Central Texas area was not experiencing earthquakes before 2008. And then from 2008 through 2016, the rate of earthquakes increased dramatically,” Hennings says.

A number of previous studies have linked this significant increase in seismic activity in North Texas to oil and gas operations. 

This new study identifies 251 faults in the Fort Worth Basin – the most comprehensive fault map of the region to date. Hennings explains why this research is valuable: 

“It’s a tool that can be used to manage the hazard to understand where sensitive faults might be, and future subsurface activities can be conducted with this new hazard characterization in hand,” Hennings says.

The researchers expect there are still many more faults in the region that need to be identified. 

Texas is among 20 states that restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals only after they pay fines and fees tied to their completion of parole or probation. That’s according to a new report released Thursday by the Campaign Legal Center and Georgetown Law’s Civil Rights Clinic. Ashley Lopez with KUT News reports voting rights advocates say this amounts to an implicit, modern-day poll tax:

Advocates say these practices effectively deny people the right to vote based on their wealth. According to the study, Texas implicitly considers the payment of fines and fees before someone is allowed to vote. That’s because the state requires completion of parole and/or probation before someone gets the right to vote back. And completion is often tied to whether someone pays off their legal debt. Aderson Francois is with the Civil Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law:

“We should care about this because it fundamentally raises the question whether or not we have the right to call ourselves a true democracy when we use so many tools to disenfranchise so many people.”

According to the study, while 20 states have practices that implicitly require paying off fines to vote, there are eight states that explicitly require it.

The State Fair of Texas announced, on Friday, the creative culinary concoctions in the running for the 15th annual Big Tex Choice Awards. 

There are 33 semifinalists: 20 savory entries, and 13 that are sweet. 

Savory contenders include dishes such as the “Loaded Baked Potato Funnel Cake” and the “Pig in a Cannoli.” On the sweeter side is the “Extreme Fried Bananarama.” Finalists will be announced in August.