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Today's Climate

August 1, 2014

(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The U.S. energy boom is producing a little-noticed side effect: American oil and gas companies are paying less in federal income taxes. Energy companies are spending billions of dollars a year to drill in shale formations across the country, sending the nation's daily oil output up by almost 50 percent in just the past few years.
A loophole in the U.K. government's energy policy that could have seen billpayers funding billions of pounds of subsidy for old coal plants will be closed, officials have told the Guardian. The move is a victory for analysts and campaigners who argued large coal subsidies would heavily undermine ministers' drive to reduce carbon emissions, as well as costing consumers dearly. However, some coal payments will remain and critics say the policy still undervalues energy saving measures.
(The Hill)
New developments since the State Department's environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline show that it should not be approved, 12 environmental groups said. The green groups said the government did not properly account for these changes when it last month revised the environmental review it had completed earlier in the year.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the energy company proposing the $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline, said comparable profit declined to the lowest in six quarters as it sold less power and electricity prices declined.
(The Canadian Press)
Enbridge (TSX:ENB) reports a second-quarter net profit of $756 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, compared with $42 million, or five cents per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2013. Cash flow from operating activities was $812 million, down from $937 million year-over-year.
Energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use, the International Monetary Fund said in a new book on Thursday.
The U.K. is slashing its climate change diplomacy budget even as global efforts intensify to reach a deal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cut spending on its core climate change activities by 39 percent over the past three years, figures show.
(Los Angeles Times)
More than half of California is now under the most severe level of drought for the first time since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s, according to new data released Thursday.
(Think Progress)
An acid spill on Monday in rural Kingfisher County northwest of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma could turn out to be the largest spill "in relation to fracking materials" in the state according to an Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman.
(Belfast Telegraph)
There will be no fracking allowed in Co Fermanagh - or anywhere else in Northern Ireland - unless it can be proved safe beyond doubt, the country's Environment Minister has pledged.
(Fuel Fix)
The future of oil exploration in some U.S. Arctic waters may rest with federal courts, but Royal Dutch Shell's CEO said Thursday the company is undaunted by the legal logjam.
In Canada's economy there's Alberta, then there's everywhere else. The oil- and gas-rich western province added 81,800 jobs over the last 12 months, while the rest of Canada lost 9,500. Canada's jobless rate is 7.1 percent, Alberta's 4.9 percent. Alberta's trade surplus, C$7.4 billion ($6.8 billion) in May, almost matched the trade deficit rung up by all the other provinces.
(Climate Central)
Carbon capture and storage is often talked about as a way to keep major polluters' carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere by tucking them away safely underground forever. But carbon capture and storage, or CCS, could be used more often in a rather counterintuitive way: To produce crude oil, which releases its own CO2 emissions when it's burned, helping drive climate change.

July 31, 2014

Exxon Mobil has restarted a section of its Pegasus pipeline in Texas more than a year after a crude oil spill in central Arkansas forced the company to shut down the entire line, a spokesman said. The southern portions of the pipeline were restarted on July 9, ExxonMobil spokesman Aaron Styrk told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in an email. The Texas section includes a 205-mile segment between Corsicana and Beaumont and a 6-mile segment between Beaumont and Nederland.
(Fuel Fix)
Oil companies that locked up more than 1.3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea for drilling in 2007 have since relinquished nearly half that territory. The industry's appetite for tapping those Arctic waters may be waning even as the Obama administration plans to auction off more of the area.
(The Hill)
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) unveiled a bill Wednesday aimed at repealing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule on power plant carbon emissions and shifting the cost-benefit analysis the EPA uses.
(Boston Globe)
The possibility that a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline could soon cut through her property, over nearby aquifers and other water sources, has sparked such fear in Lindsey Sundberg that the 29-year-old from Ashburnham joined more than a hundred others who came to Boston Common on Wednesday from communities across the state to protest the project.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Are doctors in Pennsylvania seeing patients with possible health effects from natural gas development? The state Department of Health wants to know.
(Midwest Energy News)
In an effort to address ongoing concerns about hydraulic fracturing development in Michigan, regulators here have proposed a series of changes to the state's permitting instructions over the natural-gas extraction method. But those with concerns—largely from the environmental community—over how permits are issued and what information is available to the public say the state is not going far enough and that proposed changes favor industry interests.
(New York Times)
The Rev. Lennox Yearwood punched his fist in the air as he rhythmically boomed into the microphone: "This is a moment for great leadership. This is a moment for our country to stand up. This is our moment." But Mr. Yearwood’s audience was not a church. It was the Environmental Protection Agency.
(Think Progress)
Washington State is poised to join California and several Canadian provinces in a carbon trading system, according to a Monday memoranda from the governor's office. The Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is an agreement between California, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba to develop and implement coordinated systems to cut their collective greenhouse gas emissions.
Economists figured out long ago that the free market is the best way to curb greenhouse gases. But economists aren't so good at packaging anti-global-warming plans to win over a skeptical segment of the public.
(Washington Post)
When it comes to bolstering its oil exploration and production, Russia has repeatedly turned to U.S. and other Western companies for help. More than a decade ago, when Russia wanted to halt the steep decline in many of its older oil fields, it brought in Britain's BP, which revived output.
(Climate Central)
The globe's nuclear power industry is aging, plagued with high costs and construction delays, and generally on the decline. That's the conclusion of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report released Tuesday, an annual assessment of the trends in nuclear power production and the state of nuclear reactors worldwide.
(Minnesota Public Radio)
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has ordered a sand mine in southeastern Minnesota to cease operations and apply for a permit required of mines located within one mile of a trout stream. Houston County gave the Erickson Mine permission to start mining silica sand, but a 2013 law requires a DNR permit for mines if they are located near trout streams within an area known as the Paleozoic Plateau.

July 30, 2014

(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
President Barack Obama's proposed rule to curb carbon emissions from the nation's power plants could raise costs and affect reliability in the U.S. electricity system, federal regulators told Congress.
(Denver Post)
Oil and gas spills are happening more often in Colorado—at a rate of two a day this year—and usually without anyone telling residents. Colorado has seen nearly as many spills so far this year as were recorded in all of 2013—a reflection of greater drilling activity, new reporting requirements and, the state says, tougher enforcement.
(Financial Post)
TransCanada Corp. expects to file an application for its massive Energy East project as early as next month. "We are ready," Bob Eadie, Energy East pipeline project director at TransCanada, said Tuesday in an interview in Toronto where the company and an industry group were showing off a new pipeline training program.
(The Globe and Mail)
Aboriginal people in Ontario are prepared to lay down their lives to protect their traditional lands from any unwanted development, a group of First Nations chiefs said Tuesday. Five aboriginal chiefs served notice on the Ontario and federal governments, developers and the public that they'll assert their treaty rights over their traditional territory and ancestral lands.
(North Carolina Health News)
From now until Sept. 15, North Carolinians will have the chance to raise their concerns about natural gas drilling during a public comment period. In comments to the state, residents can address a number of draft rules for drilling, including the rules governing hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."