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Today's Climate

July 24, 2014

(The Canadian Press)
TransCanada Corp. says its $800-million Northern Courier pipeline proposal has been given the green light by the Alberta Energy Regulator. The project is designed to connect Suncor Energy Inc.'s (TSX:SU) planned Fort Hills oil sands mine to a tank farm near Fort McMurray, Alta., 90 kilometers to the south.
(West Virginia Gazette)
Federal scientists will conduct new studies to examine the potential health effects of exposure to the chemicals released during the January leak at the Freedom Industries tank farm along the Elk River in Charleston, under an agreement announced Wednesday.
(StateImpact Texas)
Compared to other states, Texas has a consistently higher percentage of major industrial plants with "high priority violations" of air pollution laws. Yet, compared to other states, Texas does far fewer comprehensive inspections of polluting facilities.
(New York Times)
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma are among the most vocal Republican skeptics of the science that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, but a new study to be released Thursday found that their states would be among the biggest economic winners under a regulation proposed by President Obama to fight climate change.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
A key question during Pennsylvania's natural gas boom centers on how much damage it's done to water resources. According to new information released this week by the state Department of Environmental Protection, water supplies around the commonwealth have been damaged by oil and gas operations 209 times since the end of 2007. This is the first time the agency has released such a tally.
(The Advertiser)
There have been protests and heated public meetings over a proposal to begin fracking in St. Tammany Parish. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers is spelling out concerns from state and federal agencies in response to a permit application for a drilling well pad along Hwy. 1088.
Albany, New York's capital city, may join the ranks of U.S. energy hubs such as Houston and Cushing, Oklahoma, as oil-terminal operator Global Partners LP (GLP) pushes an expansion plan after already quadrupling its capacity. For the last two years, more oil from the Bakken shale formation has rolled 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) by rail across North Dakota and around the Great Lakes to Albany.
Canada's largest pipeline company Enbridge Inc may build a 140,000 barrel per day unit train unloading terminal in Pontiac, Illinois, to relieve congestion on its crude oil export network. The terminal would be able to handle two unit trains a day and could be in service by the first quarter of 2016, according to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
(Christian Science Monitor)
The U.S. energy industry has produced a lot of oil and gas on land and in the Gulf of Mexico. Now it's hoping to do the same in the Atlantic Ocean. A majority of Americans support offshore oil and gas production, according to an industry-backed poll released Wednesday. But a push to reopen portions of the Atlantic seaboard to drilling is raising serious environmental concerns, particularly among those who live in the coastal communities nearby.
(Climate Central)
Greenhouse gas emissions from burning and extracting coal, oil and natural gas drive climate change, and as communities feel the effects of a warming world—rising seas, burning forests and withering crops—communities' pocketbooks take a hit, too. That's called the social cost of carbon. And if a recent federal court decision stands, the U.S. government may have to calculate those climate-related costs from any new fossil fuels development on public lands before a new project can be approved.
(Think Progress)
The Parr family wanted payback. For three years, they were sick—chronic rashes, bloody noses, and muscle spasms. Lisa's lymph nodes stuck out of her neck like ping pong balls. Emma, then seven, was sent to the hospital for her symptoms.
(Al Jazeera America)
China's plan to build coal-to-gas plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions may actually exacerbate pollution that in recent years has caused public health scares and driven environmentalists to protest on the streets and online, according to findings published Wednesday by Greenpeace China.
(Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism)
An Eau Claire County frac sand mining company was ordered to pay $52,500 for drilling and operating two high-capacity wells without a permit in 2012, according to a decision released last week.

July 23, 2014

(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Pennsylvania environmental regulators have documented 209 cases where oil and gas operations negatively impacted water supplies since late 2007, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The new tally from the state Department of Environmental Protection comes asPennsylvania's Auditor General's Office releases a much-anticipated report faulting the agency for its response to drilling-related water complaints.
(The Canadian Press)
United States ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman had little to say Tuesday about a possible decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, but that didn't stop Canada's U.S. ambassador from bluntly stating there's no proof that the pipeline shouldn't be built.
North Dakota's biggest oil producers have picked a side and put money into an obscure election for the state's agriculture commissioner, hoping to ward off a rising Democratic challenger who could limit development of new wells and pipelines.
In Canada’s economy there’s Alberta, and there’s everywhere else. The oil- and gas-rich western province was responsible for all of the country’s net employment growth over the past 12 months, adding 81,800 jobs while the rest of Canada lost 9,500. Alberta’s trade surplus, C$7.4 billion ($6.9 billion) in May, almost matched the deficit rung up everywhere else. If growth trends over the past decade continue, Alberta would pass Quebec to become the country’s second-largest provincial economy in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
(New York Times)
Exxon Mobil, which is assisting a Russian state energy company in exploring the Arctic Ocean for oil and natural gas, took a pivotal step to further this project over the weekend. A drilling rig to be operated by Exxon set sail from Norway on Saturday, two days after the downing of a passenger airliner in Ukraine led to mounting pressure in the United States and Europe for new sanctions against Russia. Those sanctions could target the country's important energy industry.
Melting Arctic ice is widening a path for ships to deliver European oil to Asia, stoking South Korea's ambition to become a regional storage and trading hub. The country, whose proximity to China, Russia and Japan makes it an ideal conduit for oil arriving via the Arctic, plans to add tanks for storing almost 60 million barrels of crude and refined products by 2020, about the same as Singapore's current capacity.
The U.K. and Germany lead a list of the E.U.'s most polluting coal-fired power stations compiled by environmental campaigners, who say coal emissions are undermining efforts to combat climate change. Both countries have nine of the so-called "dirty 30" and the campaigners say coal burning is increasing due to the relatively low price of the fuel compared to gas.
(Think Progress)
In a move likely to receive heavy backlash at least up to the U.N. climate conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru in December, Peru's government just rolled back environmental regulations in an effort to boost mining.
President Barack Obama says a wildfire that has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of Washington state, along with blazes in other Western areas, can be attributed to climate change. Obama, speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday, offered federal help to deal with Washington’s wildfire, the largest in the state’s history.
When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita Falls got going with its program to recycle sewage water for drinking. The city this month opened the spigots on a $13 million system that mixes 5 million gallons a day of treated waste water with area lake water to keep drinking water flowing for its 105,000 residents. Convincing them to drink it is another matter.
(The Hill)
President Obama has named two energy experts to fill soon-to-be openings at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).Obama on Tuesday said he intends to nominate Jeff Baran, current energy aide to retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who is the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to the commission. The president also plans to nominate Stephen Burns, who formerly served as general counsel to the NRC.

July 22, 2014

A Canadian National Railway Co. train struck another freight train as it rolled through a small village in Wisconsin, causing cars to derail, injuring two people and spilling thousands of gallons of diesel oil 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.
Sheriff's deputies in Utah arrested nearly two dozen environmental protesters who chained themselves to fences and construction equipment on Monday at a tar sands mining project in the remote Book Cliffs mountains, an activist group said. The Tar Sands Resistance group said about 80 activists set up a "blockade" at the PR Springs mine to highlight what it said would be huge environmental damage if it goes ahead.
(Columbus Dispatch)
A fracking company made federal and state agencies that oversee drinking-water safety wait days before it shared a list of toxic chemicals that spilled from a drilling site into a tributary of the Ohio River. Although the spill following a fire on June 28 at the Statoil North America well pad in Monroe County stretched 5 miles along the creek and killed more than 70,000 fish and wildlife, state officials said they do not believe drinking water was affected.
The U.K. will keep a target to cut greenhouse gases by half through 2025, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said, foiling the Treasury's effort to weaken the target. Revising the so-called carbon budget would be premature, given that the government's estimate of the U.K. and E.U. levels of ambition on carbon-cutting "are likely to be extremely close," Davey said today in a statement to Parliament.
(Climate Central)
The world just experienced its hottest June on record. The heat was driven in large by part by the hottest ocean temperatures since recordkeeping began more than 130 years ago. That makes this the third-warmest start to the year. The global temperature was 1.3°F above the 20th century average in June according to data released on Monday by theNational Climatic Data Center (NCDC). That bests the previous hottest June record, set in 1998, by 0.05°F.
(Washington Post)
The water could start at any time. Every few hours, Anita Pointon refreshes the Web site that tells when it's coming, because the work begins as soon as they know. Her husband, Chuck, 62, will set out to walk the farm with a moisture probe to see which fields are the driest. One run of water covers only about 18 acres of their 500, so they have to choose carefully.