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Today's Climate

January 8, 2015

(The Canadian Press)
A proposed network of pipelines from natural gas fields in British Columbia's northeast to liquefied natural gas export plants in the northwest will not be permitted to pump oil and diluted bitumen, the provincial government says.
(National Journal)
Environmentalists know they will lose Friday's House vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, but they're scrambling around Capitol Hill with a humbling new goal: Stop a bipartisan landslide.
The White House does not feel pressure to loosen restrictions on U.S. oil exports further and views debate over the issue as resolved for now, John Podesta, a top aide to President Barack Obama, told Reuters in an interview.
While the falling price of crude oil is giving consumers cheaper energy, it's threatening long-term global pollution-control efforts.
(Wall Street Journal)
A proposed federal rule to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants will weaken the nation's power grid and could even cause blackouts, say some of the officials who run the country's electricity network.
Kompania Weglowa SA, the European Union's biggest coal producer, will cut jobs, close mines and get financial aid from state-owned power utilities after the Polish government backed a rescue plan for its third-largest employer.
Australia is pressing ahead with huge new coalmining projects, just as a new study has calculated that more than 80 percent of the world's current coal reserves must remain in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.
Federal health officials overlooked risks of inhaling the licorice-scented fumes of a chemical that spilled into West Virginia's biggest water supply last January, according to a study.

January 7, 2015

(The Hill)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) objected on Tuesday to a Senate hearing on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
The carbon intensity of Australia's main electricity grid has surged since the end of the carbon tax, undermining the Abbott government's efforts to cut national emissions.
British lobbying to reduce monitoring of E.U. countries' action on climate change has sparked outrage among MEPs and environmentalists.
(New York Times)
Calling Aldo Rebelo a climate-change skeptic would be putting it mildly. In his days as a fiery legislator in the Communist Party of Brazil, he railed against those who say human activity is warming the globe and called the international environmental movement "nothing less, in its geopolitical essence, than the bridgehead of imperialism."
The nation's coal mines set a record for the lowest number of on-the-job fatalities last year, with 16, the federal mining agency said Monday.
"It is time for coal workers to do or die," a veteran union leader declared on Jan. 6, as some 500,000 Indian coal workers launched a massive, five-day strike that has already cut coal production by more than half—and pushed India’s power sector to the brink of a crisis.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has agreed to pay about $80 million to compensate a Nigerian community for damage from two 2008 oil spills.
(Denver Post)
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Monday approved much heavier penalties—including fines of $15,000 a day—for oil and gas well operators who violate state regulations.
(Fuel Fix)
Earthquakes that shook an Ohio town last year are linked to hydraulic fracturing, according to a study published in a scientific journal Tuesday.
North Dakota's legislature will decide how to divvy up oil tax revenue among the state's 53 counties, and whether to wave sales taxes on materials used to build natural gas pipelines and chemical plants in a biennial session starting on Tuesday.
(E&E Publishing)
California's landmark cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions just got bigger. Effective Jan. 1 it expanded to wrap in gasoline and diesel, a move oil companies have warned would trigger higher pump prices.
It's summertime in Australia, which means the fires are raging. Every year, the continent's sweltering temperatures and dry conditions create a toxic combination for bush fires that can threaten homes and lead to injuries and deaths. This season's wildfires are particularly damaging, destroying the largest amount of territory in more than three decades. The Insurance Council of Australia yesterday declared a catastrophe for regions near Adelaide in South Australia.
China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, will provide more support to non-governmental organizations that sue polluters.

January 6, 2015

While Republicans hope legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline will pass a Senate vote on Friday, a key lawmaker told U.S. media the bill could fail to override a potential presidential veto as it might be short of just four supporting votes.
(The Hill)
A coalition of landowners, tribal leaders, and activists are protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline's route through South Dakota this week.
(Detroit Free Press)
An oil cooling system on the turbine of a southwest Michigan nuclear power plant leaked oil into Lake Michigan for about two months, according to plant officials.
(Toledo Blade)
A large amount of used lubricating oil that spilled into a creek Saturday from an above-ground storage tank injured about 400 waterfowl—mostly mallards—and posed a temporary risk to area waterways. But officials said Monday the spill had been cleaned up to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's satisfaction and isn't expected to have lingering effects.
(Wall Street Journal)
Legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which lawmakers will take up as soon as this week, will open the first broad debate on energy policy in Congress in eight years and give the new Republican majority a chance to push for significant changes to President Barack Obama's agenda.
(New York Times)
Oil prices tumbled below $50 a barrel on Monday, spooking global financial markets and signaling that the remarkable 50 percent price drop since June was continuing this year and even quickening.
(National Journal)
As gas prices continue to fall, policy wonks are eyeing a potential increase in the federal gas tax. But will there be a political opening for an increase?
(Trib Total Media)
Size matters. At least, it should when it comes to regulating more than 230,000 miles of pipelines that gather natural gas in drilling fields across the country, the former head of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said.
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Unions, business and farm groups joined Monday in support of a proposed northern Minnesota crude oil pipeline, while environmental and climate activists told regulators the project is a mistake. Minnesotans' divided sentiments about pipelines surfaced at the first of five public hearings this week on the proposed Sandpiper project. The hearing at St. Paul RiverCentre drew more than 300 people.