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Today's Climate

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."
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Science requires replication, and lots of it. So it's been difficult to gauge the health impacts of shale development from a few scattered studies, says Bernard Goldstein, a public health expert who once led the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health and remains an active voice in the fracking health debate.
(Washington Post)
On one side were the enviros in "Climate Action Now" T-shirts who came to pass out muffins and stand up for asthmatics. The Obama administration's plan to force power plants to cut pollution 30 percent by 2030 is absurdly gentle, they argued at a public hearing Tuesday, and too toothless to save what one advocate called "civilization as we've known it."
(McClatchy DC)
Citing South Florida's unique view on climate change, a Broward County commissioner told a Senate panel Tuesday that the issue is one of the most pressing the region now faces and that local governments will help usher in necessary changes.
(Midwest Energy News)
Marcy Juarez, a hospice worker living on Chicago's Southeast side, says she still can't open the windows on hot days, because of gritty black dust that blows in. Her children have urged her to sell the house, but she's lived there for 35 years, recently remodeled, loves the community and can't imagine leaving.
(New York Times)
The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia's long-term ability to develop new oil resources, taking aim at the Kremlin's premier source of wealth and power in retaliation for its intervention in Ukraine. In announcing coordinated sanctions, American and European leaders went beyond previous moves against banking and defense industries in an effort to curtail Russia's access to Western technology as it seeks to tap new Arctic, deep sea and shale oil reserves.
Wildfire season has intensified early in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington are turning to the federal government for assistance in fighting the fires and cleaning up the mess left behind.
(Weather Channel)
Whether you call it an "unprecedented adventure" or "environmental disaster tourism" depends on your perspective, but there's little doubt it wouldn't be possible without global warming: taking cruise ship passengers into the Arctic for a voyage through the Northwest Passage.

July 29, 2014

(New York Times)
Failing to adequately reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change could cost the United States economy $150 billion a year, according to an analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released on Tuesday.
California Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environmental officials signed a pact on Monday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an agreement that could eventually expand the market for carbon credits. The six-page memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation in developing carbon pricing systems and calls on the partners to explore ways to align those systems in the future.
(Think Progress)
President Obama will announce a series of executive actions on Tuesday designed to tackle the increasing problem of methane leaks from natural gas pipelines, which are significantly contributing to global warming, according to a White House press call.
(Los Angeles Times)
The Government Accountability Office is calling on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to step up enforcement of water contamination and seismic activity associated with fracking, the high-pressure injection of fluids into wells to extract oil and natural gas.
(Toronto Star)
Environment Canada's enforcement branch asked a spokesman to "limit information" given to reporters about how long it took to launch a federal investigation into a serious Alberta oil sands leak last summer. The comments were included in more than 100 pages of emails obtained by the Star that were generated in response to questions from journalists last summer about the mysterious leak in Cold Lake, Alta., that now totals about 1.2 million litres of bitumen emulsion, a mixture of heavy oil and water.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
A Chinese government anticorruption investigation that already has swept aside dozens of officials is now stretching into Canada. A shake-up has hit state-run China National Petroleum Corp.'s Canadian operations and a billion-dollar oil-sands project is now in limbo. The head of a key China National Petroleum subsidiary was recalled to Beijing last month and has since fallen from public view, according to people familiar with the matter.