John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste. (David Bowser)

Court Thwarts Sierra Club’s Radioactive Waste Challenge

A state appeals court has thwarted a challenge to a low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas – a ruling that signals growing difficulties for those trying to scrutinize the decisions of Texas environmental regulators.

Depending on whom you ask, such a trend would either rightly save companies time and money or unjustly bar citizens from fully sharing their environmental concerns.


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A jointly-owned oil rig atop the Eagle Ford shale south of San Antonio. (Larissa Liska)

A jointly-owned oil rig atop the Eagle Ford shale south of San Antonio. (Larissa Liska)

Giddy Up! Now You Can Buy Your Very Own Oil Well

From the first geyser to burst from the salt domes of Spindletop to the Texas fracking pioneer George Mitchell, who helped unlock massive oil and gas deposits in shale, the Lone Star State has always been willing to gamble on drilling. And the bets are big. The latest boom has been mostly the work of companies and investors with access to plenty of capital — it’s estimated each oil well in the Eagle Ford shale of South Texas costs between $5 and $10 million to drill.


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A Mennonite man drives a horse and buggy near Ciudad Cuauhtémoc. (Lorne Matalon/KRTS)

A Mennonite man drives a horse and buggy near Ciudad Cuauhtémoc. (Lorne Matalon/KRTS)

Drug Smuggling Twist: Innocent Mexicans Allegedly Duped By Mennonite Suspect

Federal prosecutors in Texas and New Mexico are dealing with a series of unusual cases.

Ten drug smuggling crimes have been traced to a man from a Mennonite community in Mexico who is alleged to have duped the victims.

The seduction starts with a classified ad in the paper, one that 23-year-old named Juan was drawn to. He asks that his last name not be revealed; he’s frightened there may be retribution if the man who placed the ad — identified by U.S. attorneys and the victims as David Giesprecht Fehr — finds him.


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Senator Wendy Davis fielding a question from West Texas Public Radio, April 2, 2014, Midland TX

Senator Wendy Davis fielding a question from West Texas Public Radio, April 2, 2014, Midland TX

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis campaigns through West Texas

Texas Senator Wendy Davis came to the Permian Basin on Wednesday. The Democratic candidate for Governor came to raise awareness and money in her fight against the Republican nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott.


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Byproduct materials nearing the end of disposal at the WCS Byproduct Material Facility in this photo from October 2013. (Waste Control Specialists)

Byproduct materials nearing the end of disposal at the WCS Byproduct Material Facility in this photo from October 2013. (Waste Control Specialists)

Nuclear Waste Site in West Texas Saw Years of Legal Battles

We’ve been reporting this week on the arrival to West Texas of some low-level radioactive waste that was originally meant to stay in New Mexico.

Over the next few months, contaminated clothes, tools and other items are coming to a site outside the town of Andrews run by Waste Control Specialists.

The waste comes mostly from the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, home to decades-long nuclear power and weapons research. Its temporary home in West Texas is, according to the company, the only storage and disposal site for this type of low-level radioactive waste in the country.

But some critics have fought for over a decade to keep that waste from coming here.

The Texas Tribune has been following news out of what critics call the “Nuclear Corridor” in Southeast New Mexico and Far West Texas. We recently spoke with Tribune reporter Jim Malewitz for some background on the years of debate over this site.

Note: According to WCS, the permits mentioned in this conversation as being granted in 2007 were not actually approved until 2008. The application and review process did begin in 2007, but the approval from TCEQ came later, after the company provided geological samples of the site to regulators looking at the potential for groundwater contamination.

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Thank You For Your Support!

Thanks to everyone who supported us during our spring pledge drive. We wouldn’t be here without your help. This has been a great week for us and we appreciate all of your contributions.

We also want to extend our gratitude to the businesses that have supported us during the fund drive: Mesa Vineyards, King Land & Water, Harvest Caffe, Mission Fitness, Medical Center Hospital, the West Texas Jazz Society, and the Gage Hotel.

And remember if you missed your chance to call in during the drive you can always become a member online – just click here to pledge your support!

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The Man in Black

Billy finally saved enough money to move his family from a trailer to a house in West Texas. He thought he left his problems behind… until some of them followed him into his new home.

There's Something Out There airs the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 8:00 pm.
John Ward, operations project task manager at Waste Control Specialists' facility near Andrews, Texas, walks over to inspect concrete canisters that will house drums of nuclear waste. (David Bowser)
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Curator Pujan Gandhi
A jointly-owned oil rig atop the Eagle Ford shale south of San Antonio. (Larissa Liska)
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La Llorona

Known as “La Llorona” in Mexican folklore, the ghost of the wailing woman haunts rivers, creaks and streets, depending on who you ask. This popular myth has been told by countless generations of Mexican families and continues to endure to this day. The key to its enduring popularity lies in its adaptability and each version reveals something about its teller.

There's Something Out There airs the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 8:00 pm.
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Seed Germination

As the weather continues to warm, we continue to look at the process of spring renewal and this week we focus on seeds. A seed is an embryonic plant, usually with its own source of nutrition, and surrounded by an … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm, and again on Thursdays at 7:06 pm.
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Curator Pujan Gandhi

Today at 3 PM: Interview With London Art Curator Pujan Gandhi

Pujan Gandhi will give a talk and presentation on the London art scene and the dynamics of the art world and market. Pujan Gandhi has assisted in the curatorial departments of the British Museum, Middlebury College Museum of Art, High Museum of Art and other galleries in New York and Mumbai.

He will be speaking tonight from 6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. the Turner Memorial Art Gallery in the Museum of the Southwest.

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Celebration of the Arts on Saturday in Downtown Midland

The Arts Council of Midland holds its annual festival on Saturday (April 5) in downtown Midland. It’s known as Celebration of the Arts.

KXWT News spoke to Executive Director Danny Holeva about its 31st year of artistic exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations. Click above for the radio report.

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Gap in the border wall, Fort Hancock, Texas & El Porvenir, Chihuahua (KXWT Photo, Lorne Matalon).

Confrontation In Arizona Between Mexican Soldiers, Border Patrol Confirmed

Two camouflaged Mexican soldiers crossed into Arizona in January, touching off a standoff with U.S. Border Patrol agents. Both sides drew their weapons before the the Mexican soldiers were detained.

It happened on Jan. 26, prompting a half-hour standoff 2.5 miles west of the Port of Entry at Sasabe, Ariz. After repeated denials that the Mexicans were military personnel, Mexico now says they were indeed soldiers, adding the pair was in pursuit of drug traffickers.

Richard A. Serrano and Tracy Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times broke this story. They obtained documents outlining what took place and confirmed the veracity of the documents.

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