ExxonMobil has restarted its Pegasus pipeline more than a year after a crude oil spill in Mayflower forced it to close.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that southern portions of the pipeline in Texas were restarted on July 9. The section includes a 205-mile segment between Corsicana and Beaumont and a 6-mile segment between Beaumont and Nederland.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration approved the restart plan on March 31. Federal guidelines state that the section must operate at partial capacity.
Congress' watchdog agency faulted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its oversight of hydraulic fracturing wastewater injected into the ground, saying the agency doesn't adequately work to mitigate emerging risks to drinking water.
The EPA cannot regulate the fracking process, because a 2005 law exempted from federal oversight the practice of injecting fluids into wells at a high pressure to break shale and retrieve oil and gas.
But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report made public Monday that the EPA should improve its oversight of other fluid injection practices including disposing of fracking wastewater in the ground and injecting fluids in wells to enhance oil or gas recovery.
Coal from Appalachia rumbles into this port city, 150 railroad cars at a time, bound for the belly of the massive cargo ship Prime Lily. The ship soon sets sail for South America, its 80,000 tons of coal destined for power plants and factories, an export of American energy - and pollution.
In the U.S., this coal and the carbon dioxide it will eventually release into the atmosphere are some of the unwanted leftovers of an America going greener. With the country moving to cleaner natural gas, the Obama administration wants to reduce power plant pollution to make good on its promise to the world to cut emissions.
Yet the estimated 228,800 tons of carbon dioxide contained in the coal aboard the Prime Lily equals the annual emissions of a small American power plant. It's leaving this nation's shores but not the planet.
Nothing spilled when three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed at a rail yard early Thursday, but it alarmed environmentalists.
"This is a warning of how dangerous this could be," said Kerry McHugh, communications director for the Washington Environmental Council.
"The potential for environmental damage, economic damage and the disruption of people's lives is huge," she said.
Thousands of older rail tank cars that carry crude oil would be phased out within two years under regulations proposed Wednesday in response to a series of fiery train crashes over the past year, including a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.
Accident investigators have complained for decades that the cars are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents, when derailed.
The phase-in period for replacing or retrofitting the DOT-111 tank cars is shorter than the Canadian government's three-year phased plan. However, regulators left open the question of what kind of tank car will replace the old ones, saying they will choose later from among several proposals.
The Obama administration will unveil Wednesday new rules proposing stricter safety standards on trains carrying flammable fuels, including oil and ethanol, according to a Capitol Hill source familiar with the pending regulation.
The rules, to be announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, will include standards for tank cars, speed limits for trains carrying flammable fuels, brake standards and required testing for oil and other volatile liquids.
Railroads, oil companies and railcar owners have been expecting new federal rules meant to improve the safety of oil shipments in the wake of several fiery train accidents. The proposed regulation could impact several industries.
A Canadian National Railway Co. train struck another freight train as it rolled through a small village in southeastern Wisconsin, causing cars to derail, injuring two people and spilling thousands of gallons of fuel that prompted the evacuation of dozens of homes.
The southbound Canadian National train struck several Wisconsin & Southern Railroad cars around 8:30 p.m. Sunday at a rail crossing in Slinger, according to Patrick Waldron, a Canadian National spokesman.
Three engines and 10 railcars derailed, Slinger Fire Chief Rick Hanke said. Slinger is about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
The City Council gave final approval Monday night to controversial zoning changes that are expected to block the potential export of Canadian tar sands oil from the city's waterfront.
The South Portland Community Center gym erupted with cheers and applause when the council voted 6-1 in favor of a ban that may soon be challenged in court and at the ballot box if opponents move forward with threats of a lawsuit and a citizen-initiated referendum.
Councilor Tom Blake warned opponents against fighting the "will of the people," which could cost the city untold legal fees and "alienate yourselves even further."
The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That's after the world broke a record in May.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month's average global temperature was 61.2 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. It beat 2010's old record by one-twentieth of a degree.
While one-twentieth of a degree doesn't sound like much, in temperature records it's like winning a horse race by several lengths, said NOAA climate monitoring chief Derek Arndt.
"We are living in the steroid era of the climate system," Arndt said.
California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.
The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.
The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.
The problem is that at least 100 of the state's aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them. But not all aquifers are exempted, and the system amounts to a patchwork of protected and unprotected water resources deep underground. Now, according to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law, and not other aquifers sacrificed by the state long ago.
"The aquifers in question with respect to the orders that have been issued are not exempt," said Ed Wilson, a spokesperson for the California Department of Conservation in an email.
A 2012 ProPublica investigation of more than 700,000 injection wells across the country found that wells were often poorly regulated and experienced high rates of failure, outcomes that were likely polluting underground water supplies that are supposed to be protected by federal law. That investigation also disclosed a little-known program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that exempted more than 1,000 other drinking water aquifers from any sort of pollution protection at all, many of them in California.
Those are the aquifers at issue today. The exempted aquifers, according to documents the state filed with the U.S. EPA in 1981 and obtained by ProPublica, were poorly defined and ambiguously outlined. They were often identified by hand-drawn lines on a map, making it difficult to know today exactly which bodies of water were supposed to be protected, and by which aspects of the governing laws. Those exemptions and documents were signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who also was governor in 1981.
State officials emphasized to ProPublica that they will now order water testing and monitoring at the injection well sites in question. To date, they said, they have not yet found any of the more regulated aquifers to have been contaminated.
"We do not have any direct evidence any drinking water has been affected," wrote Steve Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor, in a statement to ProPublica.
Bohlen said his office was acting "out of an abundance of caution," and a spokesperson said that the state became aware of the problems through a review of facilities it was conducting according to California's fracking law passed late last year, which required the state to study fracking impacts and adopt regulations to address its risks, presumably including underground disposal.
California officials have long been under fire for their injection well practices, a waste disposal program that the state runs according to federal law and under a sort of license — called "primacy" — given to it by the EPA.