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Ted Nugent, Opposition Research & The Race For Railroad Commissioner

Ryan Poppe/David Martin Davies
TPR News
What could be better than the two frontrunners for governor attacking each other? Add outspoken rocker Ted Nugent to the mix.

Texas Matters: The addition of rocker/conservative-activist Ted Nugent to the campaigning in the race for governor only served to add fuel to an already blazing fire. More on opposition research and it's role in modern campaigning, and how hydraulic fracking in North Texas could play a role in the race for railroad commissioner. Also on this show: Air quality in the Eagle Ford Shale, and a look at the next generation of Texas oil field workers.

Greg Abbott Defends Appearance With Ted Nugent, Wendy Davis Calls Rocker "Repulsive"

Texans are going to the polls in early voting for the March 4 primaries, but thoughts about the general election are never far away for those in the governor’s race.

Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott continued to trade jabs through the media. And this week the addition of former rocker and current gun advocate Ted Nugent gave the campaigns something to talk about. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports.

Why Did Jerry Patterson Hire A Private Eye To Snoop On Dan Patrick? Two Words: Opposition Research

Illegal immigration and border security have been big issues in the race for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor and state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston has been the most  in your face on the issue. But this week a story broke accusing him of knowingly employing illegal immigrants in the 1980s.

The Dallas Morning News and KTRK-TV broke the story, but they were given the tip from another lieutenant governor candidate, Jerry Patterson.

Some call that dirt politics, but as KUT's Ben Philpott reports, it’s a common practice called opposition research.

Could Earthquakes Shake Up The Race For Railroad Commissioner?

The GOP race for the railroad commissioner nomination is not normally a headline grabber, but things are shaking up because the ground is shaking in Texas.

There has been a recent super surge of earthquakes in the state and it’s connected to oil and gas drilling activity. The Texas Railroad Commission oversees the petroleum industry in Texas and it’s been reluctant to address the problem.

As StateImpact Texas and KUT’s Mose Buchele reports, those railroad commissioner candidates collect large campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Also on this edition of Texas Matters:

Air quality in the Eagle Ford Shale

There’s growing concern about what all the oil activity in the Eagle Ford Shale Play in South Texas is doing to air quality. InsideClimateNews, The Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel have produced a documentary looking into the toxic chemicals being released into the air and how Texas environmental regulators not keeping up.

The report is called “Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil and Bad Air on the Texas Prairie.” Lisa Song is a reporter for Inside Climate News.

Fracking The Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil And Bad Air On The Texas Prairie from Weather Films on Vimeo.

Petroleum technology at Western Texas College

The Cline Shale that surrounds Snyder, Texas -- northwest of Abilene -- is expected to be the next big oil play in Texas. The economic forecast for the region predicts a boom for landowners and a need for qualified oil field workers.

However, getting the oil out of the ground has become increasingly expensive and complicated. The hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling methods of oil extraction requires workers who are willing to work hard and work smart. Thus willing students and eager oil companies are coming to the Western Texas College looking to prepare for the anticipated demands of the energy industry.

For more on this a report from Western Texas College student reporter Regan Staudt that gives us insight into the next generation of Texas oil field workers.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi