January 17 News: Drought-Hit Texas Sues New Mexico And Oklahoma Over River Water Access

Drought-driven water shortages have erupted into lawsuits between Texas and New Mexico officials, and Texas and Oklahoma officials over access to river water. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the latter dispute. [WSJ]

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this month to take up a dispute between Texas’ Tarrant Regional Water District, an agency that supplies water to 1.7 million people in north Texas, and Oklahoma, over water that flows into the Red River. So far, lower courts have ruled for Oklahoma.

Drought-plagued Texas also asked the Supreme Court this month to consider a separate lawsuit alleging that New Mexico isn’t giving Texas its allotted share of water from the Rio Grande as spelled out under a 1938 compact. No other court has ruled on that case.

Texas officials maintain they had to take action against New Mexico because farmers and ranchers are illegally siphoning off some of Texas’ share of the river, which provides about half of the drinking water for El Paso. […]

Legal and political battles over river water are common in Western and Plains states, especially over the water in the Colorado River, which is rationed among seven states and Mexico, and used by more than 30 million people.

But the skirmishes are becoming more serious across the nation because of current drought conditions. Texas was experiencing moderate or greater drought in 84% of its territory as of Jan. 8, according to federal monitors.

China has set a goal to create as much as 10 gigawatts of new solar capacity this year. That would be on top of the 7 gigawatts the country already boasts, and it’s aiming for 21 total gigawatts by 2015. [CleanTechnia]

In 2013, the United States will overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of liquid fuels, according to projections by BP. [Bloomberg]

BP has also published a new study showing oil production will increase substantially, driven almost totally by unconventional and high-carbon oil. This could push carbon dioxide emissions up by a quarter by 2030 — an environmental disaster. [The Guardian]

A new report released today by Advanced Energy Economy shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. It was also a significant part of the U.S. economy, with $157 billion in revenue in 2012. [AEE]

Crop insurance could cost the federal government a record-breaking amount, nearly $16 billion, as droughts across the American midwest have driven down crop yields. The bill is exacerbating the already bitter dispute over government spending, as well as calls for an overhaul of agricultural policy. [NYT]

Paleontologists have found a correlation between temperature and mammals’ body size, leading to projections that as global warming continues horses could shrink in size. [ScienceDaily]

43 Responses to January 17 News: Drought-Hit Texas Sues New Mexico And Oklahoma Over River Water Access

  1. Esop says:

    On the lawsuit: It won’t be the last. Interesting times ahead.

  2. John McCormick says:

    Pull up a chair. Get some popcorn and watch the dust-up.

  3. PCalith says:

    With no water, it’ll be a heck of a dust-up indeed.

  4. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    “The Big Three: Obama’s Top Priorities For His Second Term: Guns. Immigration. Climate Change.”
    Hurrah!! Third billing.

  5. Jacob says:

    Just from the clip of the Guardian story…

    Are we not (this very moment) already witnissing an environmental disaster happening before our eyes?

    It will just be an even worse disaster twenty years from now if we continue on this path. It’s like they are saying we’re okay now, when we aren’t okay right now, the world is rapidly transforming right now from previous emissions, further emissions will just be exascerbating the disaster.

    I’m not sure TPTB are planning for the future reality, it seems as if they are planning for a fantasy reality which won’t exist in the future we’ve created.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Forgot to add, rather sad as he understood climate change and its importance…there will be a lot of forces that will want him replaced by someone who does not understand or think it important.

  7. Joan Savage says:

    On the equine paleontology, the findings are consistent with Bergmann’s Rule.

    What makes the horse study so useful is that it shows that a species’ average size can shift back and forth with climate.

    Bergmann’s Rule generalizes that larger animals within a genus or class are found in colder regions and smaller animals in warmer regions.

    The reasoning is that cold selects for animals with low surface to volume ratio as it retains heat, while a hot environment selects for the opposite, a high surface to volume ratio that radiates heat easily.

    This selection pressure already hits the big football players in the South who like polar bears can’t radiate heat fast enough.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    It will not address the cause of the problem.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    A Glimpse of hope and oh yes the MTV interview, almost forgotten this.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    And then factor in the cost and extra emissions for oil or gas, from ie. BP Algeria military intervention, kidnappings etc. or even for all the security apparatus.

  11. Joan Savage says:

    We are currently having a warning of a persistent (K-4 or K5) sudden geomagnetic pulse with the possibility of a G-1 event on the 20th.

    This may not seem exciting, but as climate hawks tend to turn to electricity as the end-all alternative to fossil fuels, it might be time to learn more about Faraday cages and protection from EMPs.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Like this…

    Rep. Lamar Smith, Who Criticized ‘The Idea Of Human-Made Global Warming,’ Set To Chair House Science Panel

    Inhofe would be perfect as an energy minister ( in the eyes of the denier and stoneagers)

  13. Merrelyn Emery says:

    There’s nothing like a good stoush to distract you from the task at hand, ME

  14. Sasparilla says:

    Oh prokaryotes, don’t give Axelrod any ideas….Inhofe would be…well I don’t even know what the word for it would be.

    But yes, all the forces that want no restrictions on fossil fuel exploitation and consumption are rabid to influence this choice I’m sure…Chu knew climate change and knew we needed to encourage plugin vehicle tech for the future.

    Serious bummer he’s going (however much the administration kept him from pursuing climate change related items).

  15. prokaryotes says:

    ringing his deep analytical skills to the energy debate, the ambitious Tea Party poster boy is making the fight against (communist-UN-Kenyan) renewable energy standards a signature issue, and has enlisted Virginia’s Dominion Power to help.

    This dovetails with recent reports of Koch funded efforts to thwart the overwhelming majorities of Americans who favor policies in support of renewable energy. Leaked documents detail plans to use “subversion”, fake “grass roots” activists, “dummy businesses” and “counter intelligence” to kill renewable energy projects at the state and local levels.

    Koch and Cucinelli behind bars for conspiring against government?

  16. Sasparilla says:

    Very true Joan, although based on humanity’s relatively recent history of responses to pollution, CFC’s and climate change – it would appear we’ll need mother nature to whack us good enough to cause a crisis (but not too much of one) before we take such matter seriously enough to plan for and address.

    Here’s another nice site that tracks the suns “weather”:

  17. jean says:

    TBoone Pickens controls lost s of water in Texas..He als owns his al,a mater Oklahoma State University..He wants Okla water..The drive from Okla to Dallas has become soooo ugly Big Box stores etc. Below Dallas they ahd built big highways before anyone lived in the area Who decides these things besides T.Boone Pickens.The Red River looks like a Creek

  18. Solar Jim says:

    Maybe El Paso should condense the water vapor resulting from fracked fossil methane gas flaring, which is so bright they’ve photographed it from space. (Or maybe they should stop fracking and go solar.)

  19. Solar Jim says:

    Texas Tea is the cause of the problem. And those other two (phases of matter).

  20. Solar Jim says:

    Or Guns, Germs and Steel with his state of the onion titled Collapse.

  21. Solar Jim says:

    Now the Energy Secretary! This administration is like a wholesale evacuation from a troubled Dreamliner. Who’s staying besides the VP?

  22. Solar Jim says:

    Perhaps they feel government is what one makes of it. Remember, corporations are “people” and have all the rights of a citizen as outlined in the Constitution. Especially when globalized. It’s a perfect arrangement.

  23. Solar Jim says:

    Soon it may have mule trains. That will be progress. Think of the “economic development” potential. Anyone interested in a vendor shack by the side of the “river.”

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    The Drought rippled again today ………. Cargill laid-off 2,100 people effect Feb. 1ST , at their Plainview, Texas meat packing plant.
    The reason , no cattle to process.

  25. Paul Magnus says:

    So that explains the amazing sunset tonight… and the grounding of the Dreamliner”:)

  26. Paul Magnus says:

    I can only say that these people on the other side are evil. Pure evil greed choking all action to do something on our home grown demise.

  27. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    At least the bloomberg report finally got it right when they said america will be the largest producer of “liquid fuels”, not oil, as most media outlets mistakenly report. The US produces 2 million barrels a day of non-crude oil liquid fuel, this has not changed much for decades. Also, most of the reason america may not need to import oil in 2030 is mainly because of increases in the efficiency of transportation, cars will use less than half the fuel per mile by then, and even big trucks will become more efficient under current gov. regs. from president obama. There will also be more of an electric alternative.

  28. prokaryotes says:

    btw What are the requirements to become Energy secretary?

  29. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Heat records are dropping like flies in SE Australia again today, ME

  30. Omega Centauri says:

    Its pretty normal for cabinet members to exit at the end of the first term. I’m sure working under the political constraints is really stressful.

  31. Omega Centauri says:

    Given the way oil exporters are increasing their internal consumption, and rapidly developing countries are increasing their consumption, and old oil fields are depleting, it will probably be real hard to find imports in 2030 anyway. Of course the CAFE standards aren’t set in stone, and would be placed on the chopping block should the other guys get in.

  32. Jacob says:

    It’s almost as if the only rational thing to do to stop these monsters is to do something irrational. But that’s just crazy talk.

  33. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    BP is really the very model of late neo-liberal capitalist perfidy, is it not? Whatever happened to that cynical PR ruse ‘Beyond Petroleum’ or whatever. Beyond Parody, or Beyond Perdition come more readily to mind. They boast, gloat even, that more hydrocarbons, more carbon-intensive hydrocarbons, than ever are going to be extracted and combusted. Surely this is now plainly a gigantic crime against humanity?

  34. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Axelrod is the ‘yami shogun’, Obama’s Cheney.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I see that spending on renewable energy dropped last year pretty much everywhere but China, where it rose 20%. Of course, as the smog emergency in Beijing shows, they need to, but they are doing it, unlike the West, in the grip of Rightwing denialists.

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I thought of that when I recently saw, in Hue, in Vietnam, the battered old jalopy in which a Buddhist priest drove to Saigon, where he self-immolated in protest against the Diem regime. Of course, that is not a course that I would recommend, or one that would be successful in Western societies, but how about leading scientists, religious leaders and non-imbecile politicians camping on the steps of their Parliaments, and staging hunger strikes, to demand crisis meetings on climate destabilisation, and action.

  37. fj says:

    Why doesn’t NYC build the 1st carbon zero transit system? @MikeBloomberg & @WorldBank Pres Kim #ttdc @worldresources

  38. Joan Savage says:

    As the lady said to Feynman, “Surely you jest.”

  39. Sasparilla says:

    When it comes to climate change Mulga you are dead on.

  40. Sasparilla says:

    Good points prokaryotes.

    The Koch’s are so many steps ahead of everyone else. They’ve immobilized the federal government (they are the ones who have made green tech radioactive to the GOP with true threats of well funded primary challengers) and now that the Federal Government is basically “controlled” (not a chance of climate change action and very little green energy) – they are expanding down to the state and lower level.

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain says:


  42. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There are no Chinese Kochs, have you noticed?