The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The Response, Gov. Rick Perry’s seven-hour prayer and fasting marathon, will take place as planned this Saturday at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist-agnostic group, sued to stop the event, but a federal judge ruled that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing because they didn’t suffer a particular injury and were free to protest by not attending or praying.

Authorities arrested a private who had gone AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky and stocked up on weapons and ammunition he planned to use in an attack on Fort Hood. Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was also accused of planning an attack on a restaurant in Killeen. A clerk at Guns Galore alerted police to Abdo’s purchases. Authorities then found explosives and weapons in his motel room, along with al-Qaeda materials and bomb-making instructions. Federal and local authorities said he was working alone.

The legislative session may be over, but the redistricting plan lawmakers passed this session faces a lawsuit and will have to receive approval from the courts to become law. Several groups, including the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, have filed suit, citing insufficient minority representation. A case filed in Austin has been consolidated with five other cases, and a panel of federal judges in San Antonio will review the entire issue. The trial is on a fast track and is scheduled to begin Sept. 6.

New redistricting maps have created an electoral scramble. Michael Williams, the former railroad commissioner who originally planned to run for Kay Bailey Hutchison's U.S. Senate seat, switched to the newly drawn Congressional District 33 in North Texas. Now he has announced that he will run in District 25, whose edges touch both Tarrant and Hays County. The incumbent in that district, Lloyd Doggett, has seen the boundaries on his district redrawn and is looking at a likely primary challenge from Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

After days of silence, Warren Jeffs, on trial for charges of child sexual assault, delivered a lengthy diatribe against the court proceedings. Jeffs, who has been representing himself at trial, objected to an FBI agent's testimony and then started defending polygamy as divine. The judge dismissed the jury while Jeffs read a statement from God, but warned him not to use threats. The judge eventually had Jeffs' microphones removed.

Accompanying the record-breaking heat in Texas these days is record-breaking electricity usage. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state's grid operator, reported record demand on its system and also declared a level-one energy emergency. ERCOT predicts continuing record usage and has asked consumers to conserve between the peak hours of 3 and 7 p.m. The council also began its own emergency procedure, bringing all available power plants online and tapping nearby grids for extra watts.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new emissions standards for drilling operations, including first-of-their-kind standards for wells that have been fracked. Neighborhood activists in North Texas had previously raised red flags to no avail about the chemicals used in the fracking process, and one of the new rules would address the burn-off of those chemicals. Emissions standards would also be applied to compressor stations, storage tanks and other equipment used at production sites. The EPA and environmental groups claim that the industry can save about $30 million a year by adopting technologies to trap natural gas that is currently allowed to escape and then selling it.