Author Archives: Ian Holt

National Environmental Policy Act – NEPA Checklist

NEPA, or the National Environmental Policy Act, has been an essential part of the EPA since it was signed into law in 1970. As one of the first major environmental laws created in the United States, NEPA has been described … Continue reading

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Texas Railroad Commission Undergoes Review

Earlier this year, for the third time since 2010, the Sunset Advisory Commission of the 85th Texas Legislature has completed its review of the Texas Railroad Commission. It concluded that no major structural changes were necessary but emphasized improvements to … Continue reading

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Innovations in Geography – Understanding Communities through GIS

During the 2016 Texas GIS Forum hosted by TNRIS, Dr. Nazgol Bagheri made history as the first female keynote.  Dr. Bagheri is a trained architect and urban planner currently serving as an Assistant Professor in Department of Political Science and … Continue reading

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Happy Thanksgiving from Banks Environmental Data

In honor of a holiday best known for turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes we decided to bring a bit of history to the table. The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 – almost four centuries ago. During this time, explorers were … Continue reading

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What is Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS)

According to EPA, Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS) is the national database used to store information on releases of oil and hazardous substances. Before the establishment of the ERNS program, there was no centralized source of information capable of displaying … Continue reading

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The Global Positioning System (GPS)

As most of us are aware by now, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is the omnipresent force that allows our smartphones and other devices to know where we are located on the globe. It is used in navigation, ecology, advertising, … Continue reading

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Locating Water Wells from Driller’s Reports

Whenever a water well is constructed, the driller is typically required to report details about the well on a driller’s log, or driller’s report. These logs include everything from date and depth drilled to location and lithology. Once the log … Continue reading

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Wind energy competes for the spotlight

Happy 2016! For those of us in the environmental industry, 2016 has already been a year full of headlines. Some of the more positive headlines however, happened just before the end of 2015. In late December, Texas set a new … Continue reading

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El Niño to bring rain to California

El Niño, also known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, is a climatic condition where warm waters in the pacific alter weather patterns across the globe. In the United States, this typically results in dryer than average winters for the … Continue reading

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Gold King Mine Spills Toxic Waste

This past Wednesday, a team of EPA employees entered the Gold King Mine near Durango Colorado. According to CNN, instead of pumping and treating the wastewater within the mine, the EPA team accidentally released the contaminated water into the Animas … Continue reading

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How to map points from Excel in Google Earth Pro

Environmental professionals often use Google Earth as an inexpensive way to view and analyze data. In February, we wrote about the relaunch of Google Earth Pro as a FREE program available to anybody with a computer. One of the key advantages … Continue reading

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What is a Texas Municipal Settings Designation (MSD)?

A Municipal Settings Designation, or MSD, is a voluntary regulation that prevents contaminated groundwater from being used beneath a specific property. This means that a property owner can voluntarily request a city ordinance to prohibit future use of the groundwater … Continue reading

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Duke Energy Corp. pleads guilty

Last year, tens of thousands of tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River from a closed power plant previously operated by Duke Energy. The spill occurred when underground storm water pipes broke and an estimated 39,000 tons of … Continue reading

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First federal fracking regulations in 30 years

The regulation of hydraulic fracturing has recently been seen as a local and state government issue. After more than 30 years however, the Obama administration has unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations. According to the Interior Department, the new … Continue reading

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Pennsylvania to form Geospatial Coordinating Board

Last November, the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a bill to establish the Geospatial Coordinating Board. This board will consolidate maps and data from all levels of government to create a central repository for geospatial information.

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