The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Prairie dogs may not seem threatening – but they’re the scourge of the City of San Angelo Parks and Recreation Department.
The little rodents have started a colony in Mary E. Lee Park in San Angelo, where they burrow underground tunnels. And the 500 or so critters in the park have been so busy that officials are concerned the ground could collapse underneath a vehicle or pedestrian.
The San Angelo Standard-Times reports the city will look at possible solutions later this month.
Those options include relocating the prairie dogs, poisoning them, or containing the colony to turn it into an attraction.
After a long slump, the Texas oil and gas industry continues to steadily recover – and the industry got more good news yesterday.
OPEC, the powerful cartel of oil-exporting countries, announced it would extend planned production cuts by nine months.
Travis Bubenik of Houston Public Media says the decision to extend oil cuts through March didn’t surprise people in the know. After all, there’s still a global oil glut that’s hurting prices. The ongoing cuts have helped, stabilizing prices around $50 per barrel– a place where Texas drillers can still make money.
Houston analyst R.T. Dukes with Wood Mackenzie says the OPEC decision is good news for companies, though not necessarily the best news ever.
“I doubt anyone popped corks on bottles of champagne with this announcement,” he says, “but I’m sure there were a few sighs of relief.”
$100 oil is still probably not anywhere in sight. But, Dukes says, the cuts and the stabilized market they’ve led to lets Texas companies be a little more relaxed about the future.
“I’m sure companies went you know, we planned for a $45-50 oil price, and this gives you a little bit more confidence that you’re going to get that in the next two and a half quarters,” he says.
What’s good news for the U.S. is still tricky for the world.
Another analyst firm, IHS Markit, says it expects production increases from the U.S. and Canada will basically cancel out the OPEC cuts by the end of 2018. Even with rising demand, that means the world will still have too much oil on its hands for a while.
It doesn’t look like state lawmakers will redraw Texas congressional district maps – but some of their colleagues in Washington wish they would.
The Texas Tribune reports that some Texans in Congress have lobbied the legislature to redraw the maps before a panel of judges can.
Federal judges have ruled the maps discriminate against minority voters, and could ultimately redraw them themselves.
But incumbent lawmakers feel that maps drawn by the legislature would give them a better chance at reelection than those drawn up in court.
But at this point, that would require a special session – and yesterday, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a legal advisory that said Gov. Greg Abbott has no plans to call one on the issue.