Texas Standard for Aug. 4, 2022: Dangerous methane leaks in the Permian Basin

Out in West Texas, oil and gas operations are being observed spewing dangerous amounts of methane unregulated and unaccounted for, according to a recent Associated Press investigation. Also: A big win for supporters of abortion rights in Kansas sends up red flags for Republicans and boosts hopes for Democrats – could it offer clues about how the issue could play out here in Texas? And: What a Dallas music writer calls Beyoncé‘s new album: a love letter to queer Black music.

Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardAugust 4, 2022 9:24 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022:

Attorneys for Sandy Hook parents provide new evidence against Alex Jones in defamation trial  

For years, longtime radio broadcaster and InfoWars host Alex Jones spread lies that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was staged. But once facing lawsuits, he said in a sworn deposition that a “form of psychosis” caused him to believe it was staged. Earlier this year, Jones lost by default the lawsuits brought against him by parents.  Now, in the damages stage of the first of three cases, Jones’ dishonesty is in the spotlight as plaintiffs’ attorneys proffer evidence that Jones lied during discovery when he claimed, under oath, he had never texted about the 2012 mass shooting. Dan Solomon, senior editor with Texas Monthly who has been covering Jones’ trial, joins us.  

How will the reversal of Roe v. Wade affect the upcoming midterms?

Voters in one of the most conservative states in the country, Kansas, voted earlier this week against an amendment that would remove abortion rights from the state’s constitution. That’s raising the eyebrows of political analysts eager for insight into how the overturning of Roe v. Wade may play out in the midterms — including in the Texas governor’s race. Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, shares more.

The collateral damage of flood improvements in Houston 

We’re nearing the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, a historic flooding disaster for not just the city of Houston, but large swathes of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. In a story from Houston Public Media’s new podcast Below the Waterlines: Houston after Hurricane Harvey, Matt Harab finds that as officials have been trying to make the region more flood resilient, there’s often collateral damage. 

Congress passes bipartisan legislation to boost semiconductor industry 

After three years of trying, bipartisan majorities in Congress last week passed the $52 billion CHIPS Act, a law designed to boost the domestic semiconductor industry. The goal is to stave off the kinds of supply chain problems that have cut chip production in the past couple of years – and to protect the U.S. industry from increasing global competition. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga has been following this story. 

Dangerous methane leaks in the Permian Basin 

In the oil-rich Permian Basin, its petroleum and natural gas deposits have been providing livelihoods to Texans for generations. But out in West Texas, these oil and gas operations are being observed spewing dangerous amounts of methane unregulated and unaccounted for, according to a recent Associated Press investigation that looked into 533 super-emitting sites. Michael Biesecker, a national investigative reporter with the Associated Press, joins us with more. 

Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” celebrates Black queer roots in music

It’s likely to be one of, if not the, biggest albums by a Texas artist this year. Beyoncé’s seventh studio album, “Renaissance,” dropped on Friday, bringing fans a joyous mix of danceable hits inspired by disco and house music. Influenced by the underground LGBTQ-dominated ballroom scene, Beyoncé incorporates the stylings of Black queer and trans performers in her new work. Taylor Crumpton, a music and pop culture writer from Dallas, wrote about the album for Essence and joins the Standard today. 

Texas, UIL lack improved heat safety protocols for student-athletes

The start of the school year is getting closer, and that means practice for fall sports like football is about to start as well. The heat is always a concern for student-athletes this time of year – but that’s especially true now, with the entire state gripped in a historic heatwave. According to some experts, though, the regulations in Texas that keep student-athletes safe from the heat could be much stronger. Joining us with more on her latest reporting is Lia Assimakopoulos, a high school sports reporter for the Dallas Morning News. 

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Shelly Brisbin with the Talk of Texas.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.