When it comes to drilling deep into Texas to bring up oil and natural gas, things can go wrong. Sometimes old oil wells leak. While the Railroad Commission of Texas says it uses fees from oil & gas industry pay for cleaning up so-called orphan wells, government watchdog groups have criticized Texas law as too lax, requiring bonds that aren’t nearly big enough to cover the cost of the remediation of old and polluted well sites. State Impact reporter Dave Fehling traveled to the East Texas oil patch to look into B & B Oil’s deserted wells.
In Kilgore, Texas, demolition work is set to begin on C.B. Dansby High School that was built around 1930. The former all-black school was closed by desegregation in 1969. Today, it stands as a blighted, asbestos-filled property. Alumni leader De’Lores Arline attended the school before it closed. She recalls singing the school song for the last time, and how her classmates put on a brave front when transferring to Kilgore High School during the civil rights era.
A week of hot air balloon events will draw dozens of racers and enthusiasts to East Texas this week. The colorful balloons are being spotted over Longview today.
The events include the 36th Great Texas Balloon Race and, in its second year in Longview, the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship. According to the Longview News Journal, 76 pilots are set to compete in both races this week and that will mean an infusion of tourism dollars for East Texas cities.
The organizing board of the Great Texas Balloon Race is working with LeTourneau University researchers to calculate the economic impact of the event on East Texas. Race founder Bill Bussey, a Longview dentist, said nearly 500 volunteers helped to put on this year's race. The Great Texas Balloon Race will host the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship in Longview for the next two years. Bussey says the board is considering bidding for the 2016 World Hot Air Balloon Championship.