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Pigs are flying

Could Governor Rick Perry have a smidgen of an environmental conscience? On July 12, Perry expanded the scope of the special legislative session to include renewable energy. "With energy costs draining family budgets and slowing economic growth nationwide, now is the time for lawmakers to pass legislation that will help Texas become more energy independent," said Perry in a prepared statement.

Senate Bill 20, which doubles the amount of renewable energy Texas currently generates, passed 29-0 on the same day. The House passed the bill two days later, which Perry is expected to sign soon. SB 20 mandates that Texas generate 5,880 - megawatts, enough to power more than 1.7 million homes, of renewable energy by 2015.

- Nicole Chavez

Dog fight in District 28

Attention first-term Congressman and right-wing Democrat Henry Cuellar, that heat you're feeling on the back of your neck is not the South Texas sun. At least two Democrats are reportedly planning to run against Cuellar in the 2006 primary: San Antonio's Ciro Rodriguez, who lost to Cuellar in a tight race in 2004, is seeking electoral revenge; State Representative Richard Raymond, who hails from Laredo, could carve into Cuellar's turf in Webb County, including those mysterious boxes of "discovered" votes.

- Lisa Sorg

How Lowe can you go?

On August 11, City Council will hear comments about a zoning change that if passed, would allow Lowe's to build a store over the Recharge Zone. The proposed site is near Bulverde Road and Loop 1604 East and less than six miles away from another Lowe's. Water activists note the franchise sells and stores hazardous chemicals that could leak into the Edwards Aquifer.

The company's environmental history is as dark as the asphalt used on its store's vast parking lots. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency fined Lowe's $137,000 for violating national water-protection standards. Last year, a Travis County court issued an injunction to stop construction of a Lowe's over the Recharge Zone after the court found the store's gasoline tank was leaking, potentially polluting the Edwards Aquifer.

- Lisa Sorg

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