07 October 2015

Population Growth in Texas with Emphasis on South Texas

Population Growth in Texas with Emphasis on South Texas
            Throughout the world, an ever-increasing population has shown to become a concern regarding space and resources.  With resources already limited, there has been interest to implement more sustainable methods of harvesting resources and methods of usage.  There have been multiple estimates done to show how the population will increase in the future. Here we will show how the population in Texas is predicted to increase with a focus on south Texas.

Figure 1. Projected Population in Texas from 2010 to 20501

              In a population projection compiled by the Office of the State Demographer and the Texas State Data Center, three different migration scenarios were considered.  As shown in Figure 1, there is a scenario with zero migration, one with migration patterns observed in Texas between 2000-2010 (scenario 1.0) and another with half the migration of 2000-2010 (scenario 0.5)1.   These three trends show significantly different population outcomes. The 1.0 migration scenario produces almost triple the population of the zero migration option. Growth in Texas will be greatest in four areas- Dallas, Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley (Fig. 2). One of the notable features of south Texas that will be affected by population growth is high biodiversity (lots of species of plants and animals). As with humans, these organisms need space and resources which will become less common.

Figure 2. Counties along the southern border and select counties in the Panhandle are expected to experience rapid growth now to 2050. Source: http://osd.state.tx.us/Publications/2014-11_ProjectionBrief.pdf

With the inevitable increase in population, people must consider the availability of resources. Such resources would include water, agricultural products, mining products and even space.  The Texas Water Development Board released a report for south Texas called Region M (Table 1) with the expected population increase from 2020 to 2070. As can be seen, the population of south Texas is expected to roughly triple in the next 50 years. With this increase in population life in the LRGV will change; there will be great increase in the development of land, a greater  need for already limited water, a greater demand of a variety of resources, decrease in air quality, etc.  This increase in population will not only effect people, but will also spread to other animals. The development of land for human use reduces the land available for native plants and animals, which can endanger their populations and even further endanger already sensitive populations.

Table 1 Projected Population for Counties in the LRGV2
Examining the range of impacts a larger human population can have on the surrounding environment should be considered such as habitat loss and/or degradation. A population (human or animal) must be able to survive with the resources available and to do so resources must be managed in a sustainable manner.To sustain any human or animal population, the availability of resources must be done in a sustainable manner to maintain adequate yields for present and future populations.  People might also consider the effect that the increase of human population will have on the other living creatures.  Animals also need space to populate and food sources (like plants) to be readily available.  Many animals are already suffering from the presence of humans, especially animals that require large roam areas, such as deer, bison, moose, and elephants.

08 September 2015

Sept. 15- Public Hearing for proposed natural gas well in Edinburg

The hearing will be at Edinburg City Hall. This well site is the second site proposed by the company, Royal Production Company. The first was in McAllen and was not received well by residents near the proposed drill site.

See link below for Monitor article on the hearing:


For images of gas wells being drilled see:


26 June 2015

Getting and Producing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)

Getting and Producing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)

Figure 1: Hydraulic Fracturing4
Natural gas, along with oil, is found in deposits that form below the ground in geological formations that consist of shales, which are tight rock formations that can be a mile or more below the earth’s surface2. To obtain the gas deposits people must drill into the subsurface using a combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Before drilling can start scientists use imaging technologies to locate the gas reservoirs2. When the reservoir is located drilling of the well can begin, which takes about 6 to 8 weeks2. Once completed, hydraulic fracturing (Figure 1) is used to release the natural gas from the tight shale formation2. The natural gas is then brought to the surface where it then gets transported to a pipeline to be distributed for processing and use2.
Figure 2: LNG Process5
Natural gas processing consists of several  stages (Figure 2).  First, the gas needs to be treated to remove impurities such as carbon dioxide and organic sulfur compounds since too much CO2 can raise the temperature at which the gas will freeze3.  Once these compounds have been removed, the gas must be dehydrated since the presence of water can cause the gas to freeze during the liquefaction process3.  Mercury is then removed since it is corrosive and can damage the LNG heat exchangers used in the liquefaction process3.
After all of the contaminants are removed, the gas is cooled down by a variety of  processes to a finished temperature of about -260 F (-160 C).  The finished product is then stored at approximately atmospheric pressure and then eventually transported.
The conversion of natural gas to LNG is a process that reduces its volume by about 600 times1. This reduction in volume is beneficial since the resulting product can be easily transported via cargo ships in high abundance. Once delivered to its destination, the LNG is heated to its gaseous state so it can be distributed to homes and businesses1.

Exponents correlate to references

Works Cited

1. Center for Liquefied Natural Gas. (2015). Basics. Retrieved from About LNG.
2. Texas Natural Gas Now. (2015). How We Get It. Retrieved June 24, 2015
3. The University of Oklahoma. (n.d.). Refrigeration Cycles. Retrieved from The University of Oklahoma.
4. Figure 1 taken from Total E&P Denmark B.V. (n.d.). What is Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking)? Retrieved from Total E&P Denmark B.V.: http://en.skifergas.dk/technical-guide/what-is-hydraulic-fracturing.aspx
5. Figure 2 taken from Goldboro LNG. (2012-2015). What is LNG? Retrieved from Goldboro LNG: http://goldborolng.com/about-lng/what-is-lng/