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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Feb. 21, 2012

US oil output set to boom
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The United States' rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts. After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation's oil fields, suggesting that a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon. The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quadrupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the U.S. now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world. More

OSHA extends temporary enforcement measures in residential construction
OSHA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
OSHA will extend for 6 months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, extended through Sept. 15, 2012, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to assure consistency and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction. More

New distaster-proofing guide for builders available
TAB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Newport Partners, LLC, a Maryland-based consulting firm, recently announced the initial results of a HUD-funded research project, Safer, Stronger Homes: Protecting Your Risk During a Natural Disaster, at the NAHB Codes and Standards Committee during the 2012 International Builders Show in Orlando. The project team created a how-to guide, available at, of simple, low-cost mitigation strategies for both builders and home builders to improve their home performance during natural disasters. Newport will host a free webinar on March 12, 2012, 2-3:30 p.m. EST. The webinar features builders Chip Dence, East End Builders, Victoria, Texas, a member of the NAHB Committee on Codes and Standards and Hank Hofford, Bennett Hofford Construction Company, Charleston, S.C. Both are members of the project's expert advisory committee and will share their experience directly with builders. Space is limited. More

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11,000 State Farm customers left high and dry
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Groves man didn't wait for the letter he knew was coming — a notice from State Farm that the insurer wasn't going to renew his homeowner's policy. Dale Farris got busy finding another insurer before the number of companies offering general liability and fire coverage dwindled further. State Farm said it will not renew regular homeowner policies — aside from windstorm coverage — affecting 11,000 customers in parts of Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Galveston and Brazoria counties after May 1. More

Bargain time for mortgage shoppers
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
So much money, for so many people, is sitting on the table waiting to be tapped. When it seemed that interest rates couldn't go much lower, they fell more this month, to 3.87 percent on a 30-year mortgage. That's the lowest average rate that Fannie Mae has ever reported. More

MLAW Consultants & Engineers

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Lower Colorado River Authority to consider far-reaching plan
Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
AudioBriefThe Lower Colorado River Authority, the utility that controls water flowing from the Highland Lakes to the Gulf Coast, is set to approve a new plan for allocating water. But as Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas reports, the authority will first hear from the various — and often feuding — communities relying on the affected water sources. More

Galveston public housing foes target mayor
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The long, contentious struggle over rebuilding public housing damaged by Hurricane Ike on Galveston Island has become the central issue in the race for mayor this year. The two announced candidates aiming to unseat Mayor Joe Jaworski both oppose rebuilding the 569 public housing units torn down because of damage from the Sept. 13, 2008, storm. More

'Green' a major theme in home construction
McClatchy-Tribune Regional News via RenewablesBiz    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the construction industry recovers, companies looking beyond the this year's building season are getting attention. With energy prices on the rise, companies that offer "green" technology got much of the attention at the annual Eastern Iowa Home Improvement and Landscaping Show last week. One of the largest displays, a story-and-a-half model of a new construction method of concrete surrounded foam designed by Integra Spec, turned heads. Darin Dietz, of Dietz Construction, hopes the display would also turn some minds to the energy-saving construction method. More

Panama Canal expansion raises expectations in Houston
Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
From his office window, Ricky Kunz, the Port of Houston Authority's vice president for origination, watched the action unfold. As workers drove Volkswagens off one vessel onto a dock, a neighboring ship was loaded with cargo, destined for the Far East. Freighters that dock at one of the world's busiest ports cannot afford to leave empty. The port is overseeing $3 billion in updates to its berths and cranes and other facilities, many of which are being completed in anticipation of the 2014 debut of the expanded Panama Canal. More

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San Marcos City Council to discuss temporarily blocking apartments in single-family neighborhoods
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On the heels of a successful battle that San Marcos residents waged against a zoning change that would have cleared the way for a high-density development north of the town square, City Council members today plan to consider a petition that calls for a moratorium on apartment complexes in single-family neighborhoods until the city updates its master plan. The city is in the middle of updating the 16-year-old plan that guides how San Marcos grows. More

Cedarsafe- Storage as Nature Intended

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Bank of America tells Fed it would consider selling Texas operations
Dallas Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Bank of America Corp. has told federal regulators that it would consider selling its Texas network and its U.S. Trust wealth-management unit if it was forced to raise capital in a market shock or severe economic downturn. Bank of America, the largest banking company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in terms of local deposits, entered the Texas market more than 20 years ago when it bought the remains of First Republic Bank at the height of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. More

Locals stress security, bridge resources during Napolitano visit
The MacAllen Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Keeping drug cartel violence south of the U.S.-Mexico border will require a sustained effort and collaboration from federal and local law enforcement officials, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said on the first day of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's trip to the Rio Grande Valley. Napolitano arrived for the first of a two-day trip to receive briefings from local officials, see South Texas border security operations firsthand and learn about efforts to facilitate lawful trade at the ports. More

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