Erin Douglas is the economy reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Previously, she interned 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. 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)

Impact: After the story published, state regulators asked Union Pacific to test the air in homes affected by contamination. Then, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee held a town hall to push for a health study on the contamination.

Traumatized by workplace violence, nurses in Texas want new rules.

Nurses get spit on, cursed out, shoved, hit or slammed to the ground at work. For many, abuse is seen as just part of the job. Yet, they also say these incidents are traumatizing – forever. Policymakers in Texas are just beginning to address the problem. (Houston Chronicle)

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. Related: Texas companies requested the most steel tariff waivers of any state. (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. Related: Houston businesses stepped up to help affected furloughed workers. (Houston Chronicle)

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