March 15, 2013

Texas drought, wildlife and more

Recently, endangered whooping cranes got a win in court, one that will have big fallout if drought continues.

Federal District Judge Janis Jack said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality failed to adequately manage Guadalupe River water flows, so that enough frewshwater reached the sea ot nourish crabs for the cranes' food.
“Inactions and refusal to act by the TCEQ defendants proximately caused an unlawful ‘take’ of at least twenty-three whooping cranes” in violation of the endangered species act, Jack held.
The biggie that she said drought was and is no excuse.

(And now, Attorney General Greg Abbott, who's never met a federal law he liked, is seeking a stay of the judge's ruling, while threatening to appeal if not — which he will anyway.)

And, speaking of, per the Lower Colorado River Authority, drought concerns are predicted this year on that neighboring lake.

Is LCRA right?

You bet your boots it is.

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, here's what spring-early summer looks like. More than 50 percent chance of above normal temps for the whole state, and 33 percent chance of below-normal precipitation for most of it, and that during Texas' rainy season. The height of summer has the same temperature predictions, and 33 percent chance for below normal rainfall over more than half the state.

No wonder ERCOT is warning of blackouts this summer, too.

And to the degree this reflects climate change, in the longer term, this will hurt Texas labor productivity.

And what that means is that if there's a lot more 100-degree days, a fair amount more 105 days and a few m ore 110 days, things like the economic miracle of oil and gas fracking are going to start melting like ice on a summer sidewalk.

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