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Today's Climate

July 9, 2014

(Washington Post)
President Obama will nominate Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall to be the next deputy secretary of energy, the White House said Tuesday. Sherwood-Randall would replace Daniel B. Poneman, an arms control expert who has served in that position since 2009.
(Denver Post)
Fronts in the fight over local control of oil and gas drilling are taking shape, with groups collecting signatures on five ballot measures—three backed by environmentalists and two by industry. Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper is running out of time in his effort to blunt the ballot-box battle with compromise local-control legislation that would require a special session to be called.
(Midwest Energy News)
Even before the most recent recession, Carroll County in rural eastern Ohio was struggling. Employment prospects were sparse and young people were fleeing for opportunities elsewhere. Then came 2011 and arrival of the shale industry, giving the local economy an injection of jobs and the attendant financial benefits an influx of new business creates.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Is heavy drilling making some people sick? It a question doctors, public health researchers and regulators in oil and gas-producing states are still struggling to answer roughly six years into the American shale boom.
(The Globe and Mail)
General Electric Co. chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Immelt said Canada's energy industry needs to make the crude wrung from the Alberta oil sands competitive with other sources around the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and is positioning the industrial conglomerate to play a key role.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Shippers in China and Japan said they would start a regular service to carry Siberian natural gas across the Arctic Ocean to East Asia, showing how Asian demand for the fuel is reshaping global shipping routes.
The city of Oxnard in Ventura County has taken tentative steps to block a proposed power plant in the coastal zone. Oxnard's developing debate over how to incorporate concerns about newly-identified risks into longstanding planning processes is one of the first in California, but it's unlikely to be the last.

July 8, 2014

A federal agency has fined the company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply $11,000 for a pair of violations. The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 for keeping storage tanks containing crude MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight. On Jan. 9, roughly 10,000 gallons of MCHM leaked from one of the tanks and through the riverside diked wall and left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.
(Edmonton Journal)
First Nations leaders and scientists from the University of Manitoba will release a report Monday they say shows links between the oilsands and impacts on wildlife, the environment and human health in aboriginal communities. Eriel Deranger, the communications co-ordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said the study concludes that high levels of cancer in the region are associated with eating traditional foods and locally caught fish.
(The Hill)
The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing a different narrative than one published in a New York Times report detailing the influential role one green group played in crafting the presidents' signature climate rule.The Times published a report Sunday night explaining how three leaders within the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) drafted a climate plan to slash carbon pollution from the nation's existing power plants over the course of two years.
(Seacoast Online)
350 New Hampshire and other concerned citizens demonstrated in the Garrison City on Sunday, marking the first anniversary of the oil train explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, near the Maine border. Some of the demonstrators donned "hazardous material" suits and did mock cleanups of oil spills, while other held signs like the one depicting Uncle Sam telling the public "I want you off fossil fuels," or another that read "There are no jobs on a dead planet."
(Los Angeles Times)
A year after rail tanker cars carrying crude oil in Canada exploded and killed 47 people, California is stepping up efforts to prevent a similar disaster on tracks crisscrossing the state. In recent weeks, the state began pumping more money into a new rail safety program, the Legislature approved new fees on oil being carried by train, and the state's Fish and Wildlife Department started planning how to better protect inland waterways from oil spills.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
When energy companies started extracting oil from shale formations in South Texas a few years ago, they invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make the volatile crude safer to handle. In North Dakota's Bakken Shale oil field, nobody installed the necessary equipment. The result is that the second-fastest growing source of crude in the U.S. is producing oil that pipelines often would reject as too dangerous to transport.
Squinting into a laptop perched on the back of his pickup, Austin Holland searches for a signal from a coffee-can-sized sensor buried under the grassy prairie. Holland, Oklahoma's seismology chief, is determined to find the cause of an unprecedented earthquake epidemic in the state. And he suspects pumping wastewater from oil and gas drilling back into the Earth has a lot to do with it.
(The Oklahoman)
Oklahoma has shook, rattled and rolled through nearly 800 earthquakes in the past year, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That is more than enough for Cynde Collin-Clark, who is poised to leave her Edmond home for someplace without as much seismic activity.
(MintPress News)
Energy giant Kinder Morgan's plans to expand its existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline in order to triple the amount of oil shipped out of Canada from 300,000 barrels a day to around 890,000 barrels per day, has been met with strong resistance from environmental protection groups and concerned members of the public who argue that the increase in oil shipments will have a negative impact on marine life—particularly whales that live in the Northern Pacific Ocean.
(Forum News Service)
Charlie Peliska dug a mostly square hole about 18 inches deep and then sifted through the Carlton County dirt that he uncovered. The archaeological technician was looking for signs of life long since passed—signs of significant human activity 50, 100 or even 1,000 years ago in this old farm field.
The government's drive to spin its cuts to flood protection funding has been revealed in a leaked communications strategy from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), seen by the Guardian. In comments on the draft document, the Environment Agency (EA), responsible for delivering flood defences, repeatedly challenges funding claims made by Defra and warns of "own goals."
(New York Times)
The 115-year-old Kern River oil field unfolds into the horizon, thousands of bobbing pumpjacks seemingly occupying every corner of a desert landscape here in California's Central Valley. A contributor to the state's original oil boom, it is still going strong as the nation's fifth-largest oil field, yielding 70,000 barrels a day.

July 7, 2014

(Dallas Morning News)
Five months after an ammonium nitrate explosion that killed 15 people in West, Attorney General Greg Abbott received a $25,000 contribution from a first-time donor to his political campaigns—the head of Koch Industries' fertilizer division. The donor, Chase Koch, is the son of one of the billionaire brothers atop Koch Industries' politically influential business empire.
A dramatic jump in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma to a rate never seen there by scientists before, appears to be caused by a small number of wells where wastewater associated with oil and gas production is injected into the ground, a study released on Thursday said.
Germany plans to adopt regulation that will rule out shale fracking for the foreseeable future. The government wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale rocks and coal beds at depths less than 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and prohibit all types of fracking in water protection areas, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said today. The government will start drafting legislation and seek to adopt it in the second half, Hendricks told reporters today in Berlin. The rules will be re-evaluated in 2021.
(Brisbane Times)
The government will move to bring the carbon tax repeal bill on as the first order of business when the new Senate sits on Monday.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
The family of a worker who was killed in a February explosion at a Chevron natural gas well site in Greene County has filed suit against the company. Ian McKee, 27, was a contract worker with Texas-based Cameron International.
Environmentalists and human rights campaigners have sounded the alarm at radical plans to ease conditions for World Bank loans, enabling more than $50 billion (£29 billion) of public money a year to be made available for large power, mining, transport and farming projects.
(CBC News)
The U.S. ambassador to Canada is asking Canadians for "patience" on the Keystone XL issue on his first Independence Day in Ottawa. Bruce Heyman, in an interview with Hallie Cotnam on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning, was asked about the diplomatic issue that has been dogging the Obama administration. "Keystone is a challenge that we have," Heyman said.
(Toronto Star)
Trevor Newton braves the driving sleet and the boot-sucking bog as he moves along an unmarked path through the Middle of Nowhere. In Alberta's northwestern shoulder, it's easy to slip off the edge from somewhere to nowhere. It's a land beyond signposts, a scrubby, aspen-lined stretch that wouldn't be out of place in parts of Siberia. And it's hard at times to know even who the neighbours are.
(The Hill)
The coal industry is poised to score a rare victory over the Obama administration in the fight over the Export-Import Bank. Both of the working proposals in the House and Senate to renew the bank's charter would reverse Ex-Im guidelines that prevent financing for overseas power plants that decline to adopt greener technology.
(The Oregonian)
After a nearly month-long delay, Oregon's fire marshal released oil train routing information Thursday, showing where railroads move large amounts of volatile North Dakota crude around the state. The most heavily traveled route: From Portland to Clatskanie.
(New York Times)
In November 2010, three combatants gathered in a sleek office here to build a carbon emissions policy that they hoped to sell to the Obama administration. One was a lawyer who had been wielding the Clean Air Act since his days at the University of California, Berkeley. Another had turned to practicing environmental law and writing federal regulations to curb pollution after spending a summer on a pristine island off Nova Scotia. The third, a climate scientist who is a fixture on Capitol Hill, became an environmentalist because of postcollege backpacking trips in the Rockies.