The House is expected to easily pass a Keystone XL pipeline approval bill this week with bipartisan support, but liberal Democrats that oppose the project will try to land some punches too.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) wants a floor vote on an amendment requiring that oil transported through the Canada-to-Texas oil sands pipeline – and any refined products made from it – remain in the U.S.
Keystone opponents say the pipeline would fuel exports from the Gulf Coast rather than U.S. consumption, an argument aimed at countering claims that Keystone would enhance U.S. energy security by boosting supplies from a friendly neighbor.
Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, who's increasingly throwing his weight around in politics, said approving the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline would create political hurdles for President Obama’s second-term agenda and cost him the support of key donors.
Steyer, a major Democratic fundraiser, told Grist magazine that Keystone opponents have leverage to exert over Obama even though he’s free of having to run for reelection.
“If you look at the people who support Obama, and then you look at the people who support him actively and give money, the number of people who care about climate in this second group is actually a majority — not out of the people who support him, but the people who are really active and give money. It's an enormously high percentage," Steyer, who made his fortune running a hedge fund, said in the wide-ranging interview.
Steyer cautioned that Obama should be careful not to alienate these influential supporters.
Glaciologists trekking onto remote, inhospitable streams of flowing ice have brought back some especially bad news. But then 21st century monitoring from space began to show a much smaller role for glacial ice loss in sea-level rise. Which to believe?
A new study brings together both boots-on-the-ice and high-tech glaciologists, saying that although the field measurements were painting an accurate picture of the few glaciers being monitored, they were not representative of the world's glaciers.
All 19 glacierized regions of the world are losing ice, the study finds, but the iconic glaciers long-studied by field glaciologists are disappearing faster than most. Still, the
world's glaciers are losing ice just as fast as the great ice sheets.
The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a new proposal for its first major regulation of hydraulic fracturing on public lands, attempting to address at least a portion of the controversial drilling practice that's unlocked vast new supplies of U.S. oil and gas but has also raised fears about its environmental impact, particularly on local water supplies.
The proposal is softer on energy producers than an initial draft floated by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management last year. Over the past several months, oil and gas executives—including lobbyists for ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and the American Petroleum Institute—have met several times with administration officials, asking them to loosen the rule.
Environmentalists immediately slammed the proposal, saying that it gives far too many concessions to the industry and won’t protect communities from possible contamination of water tables.
"These rules protect industry, not people. They are riddled with gaping holes that endanger clean, safe drinking water supplies for millions of Americans nationwide," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Even in a bitterly divided Capitol, Democrats and Republicans joined together Thursday in a sweeping vote to confirm Ernest Moniz as Energy secretary.
The vote was 97-0.
The vote installs Moniz, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor and seasoned veteran of Washington, as the second key member of Obama’s second-term energy and environment team. The Senate last month approved outdoor retailer and conservationist Sally Jewell as Interior secretary.
After boycotting the same confirmation vote a week earlier, Republican senators agreed Thursday to show up for a committee vote on President Barack Obama’s pick to be the nation’s top air and water quality regulator.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 10-8 to move along Gina McCarthy’s nomination as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to the full Senate for a vote.
Republicans, led by Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, held up the committee vote for several weeks, saying the EPA hadn’t adequately answered questions about McCarthy’s role as a deputy there. Vitter asked McCarthy a record-breaking 653 questions, out of 1,120 from the committee.
Ninety-seven percent of scientists say global warming is mainly man-made but a wide public belief that experts are divided is making it harder to gain support for policies to curb climate change, an international study showed on Thursday.
The report found an overwhelming view among scientists that human activity, led by the use of fossil fuels, was the main cause of rising temperatures in recent decades.
"There is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary," said John Cook of the University of Queensland in Australia, who led the study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
"There is a gaping chasm between the actual consensus and the public perception," he said in a statement. "When people understand that scientists agree on global warming, they're more likely to support policies that take action on it."
The owner of a crude oil pipeline that runs between Maine and Montreal is asking Vermont environmental regulators to reconsider a ruling that would require a new review under the state's land-use planning law if the company seeks to move Canadian tar sands oil to Portland for possible shipment to markets across the world.
In its motion to reconsider, the Portland-Montreal Pipeline Corp. Pipeline said the coordinator of the District 7 Environmental Commission, who issued the ruling last month, got the facts wrong that she used to reach her conclusion that any effort to reverse the flow would represent a significant change that would require it to be reviewed by the state's land use development law, Act. 250.
Police had a hard time trying to figure out how to get three protestors out of solid cement near Wewoka and Holdenville Tuesday morning.
The protestors are with the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and Cross Timbers Earth First.
They put themselves in the cement Monday to protest construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
On the organization’s Facebook page, they say, "A Deputy from the Hughes County Sheriff’s Department is full-force swinging a sledgehammer at one of Holly and Bailey’s lockdown devices. This is VERY dangerous. They are also now using a pneumatic drill.”
Morocco is embarking on the first of a series of mammoth solar plants that in total will raise renewable energy to 42% of its mix by 2020.
The country plans to build five huge solar plants that all come online in 2020, as well as a string of wind farms along the coast.
The first solar project is now under construction - the world's biggest concentrating solar project, Ain Beni Mathar plant. The first 160 megawatt (MW) phase is being built by a consortium led by Saudi developer ACWA Power. It should come online in 2015.
That will grow to 500 MW by 2020, covering 3000 hectares at a cost of $1.4 billion. It will supply electricity to Ouarzazate's 1.5 million residents.