Texas Environmental Almanac


Getting Information


Getting environmental information from Texas' natural resource environmental agencies has never been easier. Information ranging from air emissions of sulfur dioxide to camping sites at state parks is available to anyone with a computer and a modem. Bulletin board systems (BBS) set up by the agencies allow the public to transfer ("download") files from an agency's databases to their own computer, view information about the agency (such as overviews of program areas or upcoming meetings), and send electronic messages back and forth. The Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts maintains a BBS called Window on State Government, which allows access to all state agency BBS systems. To access one of these systems, a customer must have a modem, the appropriate software and a telephone line. Some state agencies have put information servers on the Internet, the global computer network. The lead Internet site is called "State of Texas - Government Information," which can direct users to Internet sites operated by other state agencies, as well as by universities and state agencies. See the attached list.

Not all information comes over the computer. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission has a new information retrievel service known simply by its telephone number: (512) 239-DATA.(1) Using this number, TNRCC employees and any interested outside party can request information, automated reports contained within the TNRCC computer databases, or request that the TNRCC create a new report. The information is free to local, regional and state governments, news media, Texas educational institutions, legislators and not-for-profit organizations. Private interests, on the other hand, will be charged according to the time, printing service costs and mailing costs.(2)

The Texas Natural Resources Information Service provides a clearinghouse and referral center for natural resources data. A unit of the Texas Water Development Board, TNRIS receives and collects information from dozens of state agencies. It maintains a library of data, including aerial photography and satellite imagery, U.S. Geological Survey maps, and computerized files on water resources, geology and census data. In addition, TNRIS operates a Geographic Information System, which combines data with mapping information. TNRIS also runs the Texas/Mexico Borderlands Data and Information Center, with special information on the border region. Both TNRIS and the Borderlands Data and Information Center can be accessed by computer or reached at (512) 463-8402.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (Window on State Government)Bulletin Board System 1-800-227-8392 or 475-1051 in Austin 14,400 baud (N,8,1,F) Internet Site telnet://window.texas.gov/ http://www.window.texas.gov/You can access all the state agency BBS below from the Window on State Government. Also has Employment, Sales, Tax Revenue, Population, Economic, Employment Information.
State of Texas - Government InformationInternet Site http://www.state.tx.us/ http://www.texas.gov/ http://info.texas.gov/From the State of Texas - Government Information, you can link to all of the State of Texas agency Internet sites below.
Texas Natural Resources Information SystemInternet Site ftp://tnris.twdb.texas.gov/pub/Natural Resources Files, Maps, Census Data, Geographic Information Systems Data
Texas Department of Information Resources (Texas State Information Highway)Bulletin Board System 512-475-4765 9,600 baud (N,8,1,F)Texas Legislative Service, Bills, Committee Hearings.All Texas state agency internet sites can be linked from here.
Texas LegislatureInternet Site gopher://capitol.tlc.texas.gov/ telnet://capitol.tls.texas.gov/Texas Legislative Bills, Meetings, Hearings.
Texas Department of CommerceBulletin Board System 1-800-446-8676 320-9690 in Austin 9,600 baud (N,8,1,F) gopher://gopher.tdoc.texas.gov/Texas Company Directory, Business News, International Business Leads.
Texas Natural Resource Conservation CommissionBulletin Board System 512-239-0700 14,400 baud (N,8,1,F)Basic Air and Water Quality and Waste Databases, Permit Hearings, Weekly Agendas, Press Releases, Small Business Technical Assistance.
Texas Cancer CouncilBulletin Board System 1-800-788-9293 in Texas 713-794-5858 outside 14,400 baud (N,8,1,F)State, County and Racial Cancer Rates, 1970 - 1992.
Texas/Mexico Borderlands Data and Information CenterBulletin Board System 512-475-2089 up to 14,400 baud (N,8,1,F)GIS Data and Maps with Political Tracts, Land Use, Transportation, Ecological Regions, etc.; Census Data, Federal Fund Reports.
Texas Legislative Budget BoardBulletin Board System (512) 463-7005Texas Legislative Bills, Budgets, Meetings, Hearings
Texas Parks and WildlifeBulletin Board System (512) 389-4430 9,600 baud (N,8,1,F)Park Information.
Texas Employment CommissionBulletin Board System (512) 475-4893 9,600 baud (N,8,1,F)Unemployment, Employment Rates; Training Information; Texas employment law.
Texas Railroad CommissionBulletin Board System (512) 463-6074 9,600 baud (N,8,1,F)Oil and Gas Permit Hearings
RTK Net (Right-to-Know Computer Network)Bulletin Board System 1-202-234-8570 2,400 baud (N,8,1,F) type "public" for user id.Toxic Release Inventory Data for counties, states and zip codes; health information about toxics.



  1. Requests may also be made by sending a fax on letterhead to (512) 239-0888, or with a letter to: Customer Reports and Services, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087.

  2. Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Information Resources: Customer Reports and Services, (512) 239-DATA (Austin: TNRCC, 1994), 7.

  3. Computer Access refers to how users can gain access to the system. With a bulletin board system, a user "calls" the telephone number with his computer and modem. The numbers below the telephone refer to the computer communication settings. For example, in the system run by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Bulletin Board System supports up to 14,400 baud modems and runs at No Parity, 8 databits, 1 stopbit, and Full duplex (N,8,1,F). An Internet site address is an electronic message sent over the worldwide network known as Internet.

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