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Tillerson Says U.S. Might Stay in Paris Climate Agreement: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: The Astros clinch the division title, Texas vs. USC again ends in a classic finish, and the trooper who arrested Sandra Bland said he was afraid.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“The gator wanted to give them a kiss for helping, but they respectfully denied his advances.”

—The Fulshear Police Department in a Facebook post on Sunday, according to KTRK, after two officers rescued a gator that had gotten itself stuck in a fence. 


BIG NEWS


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at a press conference on September 14, 2017 in London, England.

Leon Neal/Getty

Stay Or Go?—The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that the U.S. is looking into staying put in terms of the Paris Climate Accord. U.S. officials reportedly introduced the possibility of sticking in the climate change agreement at a meeting with more than thirty international officials in Montreal on Saturday. This comes after President Donald Trump announced in June that the U.S. would be “getting out” of the agreement, though he also said “we will start to negotiate and see if we can make a deal that’s fair.” The U.S. can’t officially leave the deal until 2020. The Trump administration seemed to send somewhat mixed messages in its responses to the Journal report. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement on Saturday saying that “There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” adding that “As the President has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled on Sunday that the U.S. hopes to stay in the climate agreement, if possible. “The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” Tillerson told CBS’s Face The Nation. He also said Trump’s top economic policy adviser Gary Cohn was leading the administration’s policy approach to the climate accord. “I think the plan is for Director Cohn to consider other ways in which we can work with partners in the Paris climate accord,” Tillerson said. “We want to be productive. We want to be helpful.” Tillerson, who was the CEO of Exxon before he joined the Trump administration, had reportedly advocated for the U.S. to stay in the agreement as Trump was making his decision. Dallas-based ExxonMobil and Houston-based ConocoPhillips were among oil giants who also pushed for the U.S. to stay in the agreement.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Division Champs—For the first time since 2001, the Houston Astros have won a division title, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, the franchise’s seventh division title. They also became the first team to win titles in three different divisions, winning two in the National League West and four in the NL Central before moving to the AL in 2013. The title win is a major moment in the Astros’s painful rebuilding project, and it also shows the franchise is on the right track to win a World Series in 2017. Remember, Sports Illustrated ran a cover story on the rebuilding Astros back in 2014, declaring Houston “your 2017 World Series champs.” Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow told the magazine, potentially prophetically, that “when you’re in 2017, you don’t really care that much about whether you lost 98 or 107 in 2012. You care about how close we are to winning a championship in 2017.” The division title shows that they’re pretty close to winning a championship now, as the Astros are guaranteed a playoff spot, and a bye past the one-game Wild Card playoff.

Rose Bowl Repeat—The University of Texas at Austin lost a much-hyped rematch against USC in Los Angeles on Saturday night, dropping a double-overtime thriller, 27-24. The game was the first time the teams played each other since the famous 2006 championship at the Rose Bowl—arguably among the greatest college football games ever played—when Longhorns quarterback Vince Young scored a 9-yard rushing touchdown on fourth down with nineteen seconds left to win the game. This one played out a little differently, as Texas was a big underdog coming in against No. 4 USC. But the Longhorns defied expectations in keeping it close, and although they’re 1-2 to start the season, the loss has some believing that the program is back where it should be after a stretch of disappointing seasons. Elsewhere in the Texas college football universe on Saturday, TCU drubbed SMU 56-36 on its way to rising to No. 16 in the AP’s rankings; Houston and Rice held a moment of silence for Harvey victims before the Cougars ran over the Owls, 38-3; a Texas A&M player flipped off the home fans after a disappointing first half in a 45-21 win over Louisiana-Lafayette; and Baylor fell to 0-3 after losing to Duke.

Fatal Decision—The Texas State Trooper who arrested Sandra Bland before she was found dead in her Waller County Jail cell said he feared for his life when he pulled over the African-American woman for a traffic violation in July 2015. Austin NBC affiliate KXAN obtained over the weekend newly released audio recordings, in which Trooper Brian Encinia tells the DPS Inspector General that “My safety was in jeopardy at more than one time.” Bland died on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested; the first interview with Encinia occurred three months later.  The second interview happened in February 2016, after Encinia was indicted for perjury. Encinia was fired in March 2016 for his actions while arresting Bland, when he threatened her with a taser and dragged her out of her car. She had been pulled over near Prairie View A&M University for allegedly not using a signal to change lanes. Her death, which was later ruled a suicide, sparked national protests over police brutality and the mistreatment of mentally ill people in jails. According to KXAN, Encinia said in the audio recordings that he was concerned with how Bland was acting and with her movements inside in her car. “I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know if a crime was being committed, had been committed or whatnot,” he said. “I had a feeling that anything could’ve been either retrieved or hidden within her area of control. My primary concern was with that purse, with her console, as far as being any kinds of weapons or drugs or, it’s unknown to me. I don’t know what happened, but something did, and to me, that was the reasonable suspicion.”


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Domestic abuse lay beneath the murder of eight people in Plano last week Dallas Morning News

The stories of the people who lost their lives during Harvey Houston Chronicle

It just got a little harder to get accepted into UT-Austin Texas Tribune

El Paso wants a shot at landing Amazon’s new headquarters El Paso Times

About 250 Port Arthur residents displaced by Harvey will be housed in a “tent city” Beaumont Enterprise

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