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Today's Climate

October 6, 2014

(AP)
A proposed $5 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas to the Southeast is finding pockets of opposition along its planned path in West Virginia and Virginia, where it would carve through two national forests. The 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is also seeing resistance in remote high-elevation sections of Virginia amid concerns it would traverse an environmentally sensitive landscape. Some landowners also object to plans for the pipeline to dissect their property.
(Denver Post)
It's been 18 years since Steve Mobaldi and his late wife, Chris, first got burning eyes and nosebleeds when oil and gas drilling came to their Garfield County neighborhood. In the interim, hundreds of others have complained about health problems. Dozens of studies have looked for a link between those problems and drilling.
(Bloomberg)
BP Plc (BP/) is seeking to undo payments to some victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill in a move opposing lawyers warn could open the floodgates to challenging hundreds of thousands of individual damage-claim awards.
(New York Times)
Louisiana, the most common way to visualize the state's existential crisis is through the metaphor of football fields. The formulation, repeated in nearly every local newspaper article about the subject, goes like this: Each hour, Louisiana loses about a football field's worth of land.
(Climate Central)
The RV Kaharoa motored out of Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday, loaded with more than 100 scientific instruments, each eventually destined for a watery grave. Crewmembers will spend the next two months dropping the 50-pound devices, called Argo floats, into the seas between New Zealand and Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar. There, the instruments will sink and drift, then measure temperature, salinity and pressure as they resurface to beam the data to a satellite. The battery-powered floats will repeat that process every 10 days—until they conk out, after four years or more, and become ocean junk.
(The Hill)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) Friday became the first Republican House candidate to get an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund (LCV) for the 2014 midterm elections. The LCV said LoBiondo has a strong record of protecting New Jersey's environment and supports measures to fight climate change and protect natural resources.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has suspended development of unconventional oil in a Siberian field, its partner in the project said on Friday. Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom, said on its website that it will "continue to develop the shale oil deposits by itself."
(Texas Tribune)
On a recent afternoon, leaders of the V.V. Water Company visited Loving County officials to talk about how they could help the West Texas county meet its growing water needs.
(Los Angeles Times)
A few years ago a group of researchers used computer modeling to put California through a nightmare scenario: Seven decades of unrelenting mega-drought similar to those that dried out the state in past millennia. "The results were surprising," said Jay Lund, one of the academics who conducted the study.

October 3, 2014

(Washington Post)
"As soon as I came into office," President Obama boasted on Thursday in a speech at Northwestern University, "we upped our investments in American energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and strengthen our own energy security. And today, the number-one oil and gas producer in the world is no longer Russia or Saudi Arabia. It's America."
(Fuel Fix)
BP wants a federal judge to change his findings that the company was reckless in the days before the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill or grant it a new trial. In a motion filed with a district court in New Orleans overseeing a tangle of litigation surrounding the oil spill, the London oil company said the judge used evidence that was excluded at trial to support his conclusions, and should set his ruling aside.
(Think Progress)
The person who runs the American Legislative Exchange Council, a free-market lobbying group that opposes policies to fight climate change, is not sure whether humans actually cause climate change, according to an interview with the National Journal published Wednesday.
(The Hill)
Last September's heavy rainfall and flooding in and around Boulder, Colo., were not likely caused by climate change, government scientists concluded. Climate researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a Thursday report that a warming climate does put more moisture into the atmosphere.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
A recent California law that requires oil companies to disclose key details of fracking operations has so far failed to ensure that all the required information reaches the public. Under the law, an oil company that fracks a well in California must tell state regulators within 60 days the amount of water used and the chemicals involved.
(Trib Total Media)
The booming oil and gas industry has led to an expansion of laws in Pennsylvania and other states aimed at protecting water supplies, an analysis by a group of regulators representing 20 states has found.
(MLive)
As representatives from a proposed natural gas pipeline begin surveying properties in Genesee County, tensions have been mounting for some residents who don't want the crews on their land.
(Forth Worth Weekly)
On a crisp Saturday morning, Delga Park, just north of downtown Fort Worth, was beautiful. The deep blue sky was spattered with cumulus clouds, and birds flitted among shade trees at one end of the park, sandwiched between I-35W and the Trinity River. The grass was neatly trimmed and trash-free; the ball field sparkled. The only thing missing from the scene was anyone to enjoy it.
(BusinessWeek)
The woes of China's resource industries are growing as fast as excess inventories keep building up. And the multiyear slump in commodity prices has been particularly unkind to China's west, a region that has long lagged the rest of the country in incomes and economic output.
(The Times-Picayune)
Looking at the abundance and size of Louisiana white and brown shrimp before and after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a scientific paper published Wednesday said the amount of shrimp actually increased in local estuaries through 2011 and that the size of that shrimp remained unaffected.
(The Globe and Mail)
Polar bears are an international symbol of Canada and a barometer for what is happening in the climate-sensitive North. And according to wildlife experts now monitoring the impact of global warming in greater detail, the big bears aren’t as big as they used to be. The early breakup of sea ice and the longer period of open water have hindered their search for food, mostly seals. Not enough ice leads to less time hunting, less to eat – and shrinking bears.
(AP)
Pacific walrus that can't find sea ice for resting in Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers on a beach in northwest Alaska. An estimated 35,000 walrus were photographed Saturday about 5 miles north of Point Lay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

October 2, 2014

(Reuters)
Republicans plan to put approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline on a fast track early next year if they win a U.S. Senate majority in November, finally forcing President Barack Obama to make a tough call on the controversial plan. The $10 billion Keystone project to connect Canadian oil sands with U.S. refineries will top the list of Republican energy priorities if they gain control of the Senate after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
(Climate Central)
Even as curbing greenhouse gas emissions becomes more urgent as the effects of climate change become more acute, fossil fuels will remain the largest source of GHGs far into the 21st Century as both global energy use and CO2 emissions double, according to MIT's 2014 Climate and Energy Outlook.
(San Antonio Express-News)
Baker Hughes Inc. this month will start disclosing all of the chemicals it uses during hydraulic fracturing—the first of the major oil field service companies to adopt a policy of transparency. The Houston-based company said will not make any trade secret claims in the information it posts on the industry website FracFocus.org starting with wells fractured on or after Oct. 1.
(Edmonton Journal)
Emissions wafting out of oil and gas operations can trigger "extreme" ozone pollution events that rival those seen in congested cities such as Los Angeles, according to an international study. Extraordinary levels of ozone, which can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems, have been seen in rural areas of Utah and Wyoming where oil extraction and fracking have taken off.
(Midwest Energy News)
While a recent federal study singles out Ohio for limited information requirements in permitting for fracking wastewater disposal, advocates in the state say the issue is much broader. Ohio requires fewer details about the liquid fracking wastes going into its underground wells than other states do, says the General Accounting Office. Environmental groups say the situation is even worse because the state's inspection and enforcement practices are lax.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
When members of Pennsylvania's largest gas industry trade group got together for their annual conference last week they were a bit worried. Why?
(Fuel Fix)
The federal agency in charge of regulating offshore drilling doesn’t have standardized procedures for reviewing permits and has not finished establishing an electronic program designed to streamline the process, according to a government report issued Wednesday. The report from the inspector general for the Department of the Interior, gave the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement credit for making some big changes since the 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, but said more work is needed on permitting.
(McClatchy DC)
Ethanol producers are pushing back hard against new rail safety rules after a federal study found that ethanol poses hazards equal to or greater than crude oil in rail transportation. An analysis of tank car damage in derailments published last month by the Federal Railroad Administration found that tank cars carrying ethanol were 1.5 times more likely to explode when exposed to fire for prolonged periods. The Renewable Fuels Association dismissed the report, blaming track defects for the explosions.
(Guardian)
Canada has switched on the first large-scale coal-fired power plant fitted with a technology that proponents say enables the burning of fossil fuels without tipping the world into a climate catastrophe. The project, the first commercial-scale plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology, was held up by the coal industry as a real life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels while avoiding dangerous global warming.