RRC to get propane vehicles

R ailroad Commissioner Michael Williams on Aug. 26 hailed news that grant money is coming to pay for 882 clean-burning propane fueled vehicles to be added to fleets operating at schools, state agencies and local government entities.

In May, the Railroad Commission — the state's energy agency — applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities grant program.

The Commission was awarded $12.6 million, with a match of $37.7 million from the grant participants, for the purchase of 245 propane school buses and 637 lightand medium-duty propane trucks, vans and cars. The total project is $50.4 million.

"Schools and local governments have shown tremendous interest in alternative fuels, Williams said. "This grant helps support their efforts and manage the initial cost of switching to a cleaner, domestically produced fuel. Clearly, these entities want to reduce tailpipe emissions from diesel exhausts and be responsible with taxpayers' dollars. As an added benefit, propane is domestically produced, so the schools and local governments are helping improve our energy security, too."

Snapper fishing draws fines

Red snapper reportedly is a main target of charter boats, and it is one of the most over-fished resources in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2003, a federal moratorium was placed on permits to limit access to the fishery in an effort to maintain sustainability of red snapper.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's law enforcement arm and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department agents conducted a yearlong undercover operation that resulted in more than $100,000 in charges against Texas-based owners and operators of seven charter boats.

Undercover agents and investigators documented violations on each vessel for operating without federal charter boat moratorium permits.

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