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Today's Climate

July 25, 2014

Top air regulators from 13 states across the western U.S. met in private last week to talk about how they could work together on carbon-emissions cuts proposed by the Obama administration. California Air Resources Board chairman Mary Nichols, Nevada Environmental Protection administrator Colleen Cripps and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality director Henry Darwin attended the July 17 meeting in Denver, spokesmen for their agencies said.
(Christian Science Monitor)
A U.S. science advisory report says Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident offers a key lesson to the nation's nuclear industry: Focus more on the highly unlikely but worst case scenarios. That means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual, according to Thursday's National Academy of Sciences report. Those kinds of things triggered the world's three major nuclear accidents.
(Los Angeles Times)
The decision by a small coastal city in Maine to ban the export of crude oil from its harbor brought threats of lawsuits from the oil industry Tuesday and put South Portland on the front lines of a battle over development of Canada's huge and controversial tar sands deposits.
(Washington Post)
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and the two other members of the state Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to give Dominion Resources a tidal wetlands license, one more incremental approval needed by the power company as it aims to build a liquefied natural gas export facility in Calvert County.
(The Canadian Press)
Environmentalists and legal experts are criticizing the federal government's decision to leave toxic fracking chemicals off a list of pollutants going into Canada's air, land and water.
(The Hill)
President Obama will attend a one-day United Nations climate summit in New York on Sept. 23, according to a White House official. The summit will give world leaders the opportunity to share the steps their countries are taking to mitigate climate change.
(The Canadian Press)
The Arctic may be a hot commodity, with remarkable resource and tourism opportunities, but a conference has heard that Canada and the United States are barely out of the ice age when it comes to harnessing its growth. Business and political leaders from both countries heard that while Russia is building more than a dozen icebreakers to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia, jurisdictions in Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories are still trying to organize business meetings.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Oil major BP PLC said on Thursday that its group managing director, Iain Conn, will step down by the end of the year, after 29 years' service and 10 years on the board.
(New York Times)
Under pressure to reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions, the Chinese government is considering a mandatory cap on coal use, the main source of carbon pollution from fossil fuels. But it would be an adjustable ceiling that would allow coal consumption to grow for years, and policy makers are at odds on how long the nation’s emissions will rise.
(E&E Publishing)
The nation's first coal-fired power plant aiming to capture the majority of its carbon dioxide emissions rises like a silver city from a vast, cleared plot of Mississippi pine forests. The Kemper County Energy Facility—which envisions grabbing 65 percent of the CO2 from a 582-megawatt gasification power plant here—is nearing completion, with hundreds of construction workers on-site.
(Fuel Fix)
All signs pointed to a slowdown in the state's oil and gas industry last year, but Texas production instead intensified to near-record levels, spurred by higher-than-expected oil prices driven by overseas turmoil, a new industry report shows. Statewide crude oil production is now poised to surpass its 1972 all-time high within two years, said Karr Ingham, an economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.
(National Geographic)
The U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are not ready for the increased flooding and stronger storms that are expected from climate change, scientists say.

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.