Erin Douglas is the economy reporter for the Houston Chronicle. She previously reported for Bloomberg and her hometown newspaper, The Denver Post.

“They’re still dying”: Neighbors contend with rail yard after decades of contamination.

A railroad yard asked the state to limit its environmental responsibility to clean up more than 30 years of toxic waste. The community it neighbored didn’t know anything was wrong until they got letters in the mail asking them to sign restrictive covenants. In this historically black neighborhood, it seems everyone knows someone who died of cancer or had the disease themselves. Now, they’re coming to terms with how a plume of creosote lurking below may have affected their lives — and could still be polluting their homes today. (Houston Chronicle)

Related: State asks Union Pacific to test air in homes affected by creosote contamination near Houston’s Fifth Ward

Swallowed in paperwork, Texas steel products firms lose customers while Trump’s tariffs drag on.

When the steel tariffs were first enacted last March, the Commerce Department anticipated only 4,500 requests would be filed each year. It received over 66,000. Nearly four out of five exemption requests filed by Texas companies remain unprocessed. (Houston Chronicle)

Related: Texas companies requested the most steel tariff waivers of any state.

Related: These are the Houston companies that were granted the most waivers from steel tariffs.

Texas may have the right sun and wind resource mix to quit coal. 

“There is nowhere else in the world better positioned to operate without coal than Texas is.” Texas is one of the only places where the natural patterns of wind and sun could produce power around the clock. (Houston Chronicle)

Houston’s federal employees squeezed as payday comes without a paycheck. 

Linda Hernandez makes $62,000 per year as a secretary at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston, a salary she supplements by picking up overtime shifts as a corrections officer. Now, she’s not getting paid for either. (Houston Chronicle)

Related: Houston businesses stepped up to help affected workers.

Related: Here is where unpaid federal workers can find help.

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