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Today's Climate

August 19, 2014

(The Hill)
Musicians Neil Young and Willie Nelson are performing in a benefit concert to help raise money for groups fighting the Keystone XL pipeline.The concert, which will be on Sept. 27, will be held at a farm near Neligh, Neb., near the proposed route of the oil sands pipeline.
(National Journal)
Global average temperatures in July were the fourth warmest ever, based on records that go back to the late 1800s, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday. Average temperatures in May and June were both the hottest on record.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Monday it has updated its policies for handling complaints related to Marcellus Shale drilling. All those who file a complaint with the department's Bureau of Epidemiology will now receive a letter acknowledging their concerns and outlining the agency's findings.
(Washington Post)
Maryland's latest report on the impact of proposed natural gas exploration in the western part of the state said drilling could pose a threat to air quality and workers in a region that is ecologically pristine. But the report, presented to a state commission Monday, said the process called hydraulic fracturing would pose little threat of earthquakes, which were triggered recently in central Oklahoma by gas-drilling operations, according to researchers, and are of concern to environmentalists.
(News Observer)
Hundreds of residents will try to sway state officials for and against 100-plus proposed safety rules in the coming weeks as North Carolina gets set to lift the state's moratorium on fracking next year. With four upcoming public hearings across the state, the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission enters its final phase of rule-making, a culmination of two years of research, discussion and compromise. After public comments are analyzed, the fracking rules could be modified and will advance to the state legislature in January.
(The Globe and Mail)
The B.C. government has ordered independent investigations into the spill at the Mount Polley mine and at every other tailings pond in the province, saying the disaster has shaken public confidence and threatens to undermine other resource-sector projects as well.
(Guardian)
The U.K. government is lobbying the European commission (EC) to keep open one of Europe's dirtiest coal power stations, even though its nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions exceed new legal limits by five times. The EC has begun infraction proceedings against the U.K. because its proposals for reducing emissions under new European laws have been littered with "inconsistent or missing" data.
(Fuel Fix)
The best way to protect the greater sage grouse while keeping drill bits turning in Western states is for environmentalists and oil companies to work together on safeguarding the bird's habitat, conservationists said Monday.

August 18, 2014

(Bloomberg BNA)
In stark contrast to their party's public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem. However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources.
(Fuel Fix)
The Obama administration is closer than ever to imposing the first minimum standards for oil and gas activity in U.S. Arctic waters, as Shell pursues permits that could allow it to resume drilling in the region next year. The Interior Department sent a draft of those Arctic regulations to the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, marking the launch of an interagency review process that typically spans months. The rule’s arrival at OMB was disclosed online by Sunday evening.
(The Globe and Mail)
About 200 kilometers before an ill-fated oil train was left idling on the main track near Lac-Mégantic, Que., Transport Canada conducted a routine inspection and allowed it to proceed. The train carried on through Quebec, carting 72 tank cars of crude bound for the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.
(Guardian)
Anti-fracking protesters have superglued themselves to the doors at the main entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). A related protest is also underway at the offices of iGas, the U.K.'s biggest shale gas company, which has seen two entrances blockaded by campaigners.
(Bloomberg)
Oil-sands mogul Murray Edwards is backing a C$100 million (U.S. $92 million) bond sale by Imperial Metals Corp. (III) that will help fund the cleanup of a mine-waste spill, the worst accident of its kind in Canada in 20 years. Edwards, Imperial's largest shareholder, agreed to buy C$40 million of the 6 percent, 6-year senior unsecured convertible debentures via Edco Capital Corp., a company he controls.
(Dow Jones Newswires)
Thousands of tank cars will probably be scrapped or redeployed as a result of recently proposed federal regulations to make cars hauling flammable liquids safer and sturdier. The loss of those cars could exacerbate the current shortage of rail cars needed to transport oil and extend the wait times for new cars beyond the current 2016 delivery dates.
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
North Dakota added 2,578 miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines in 2013, a 15 percent increase, but most of the state's oil is still shipped to market on trains, state officials said Friday. The newly built pipelines largely collect oil and gas from well fields, reducing the amount of local truck traffic and wasteful burning, or flaring, of gas at the wellhead, said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
(National Journal)
The Environmental Defense Fund's political branch wants to build bridges between Republicans and environmentalists—and they're willing to make big compromises to do it. The group is going to bat for Rep. Chris Gibson, a two-term Republican representing a stretch of upstate New York. In a new $234,000 TV ad buy, EDF Action touts his recent votes in favor of federal climate-change initiatives.
(The Hill)
Voters don't hear the words "climate change" when Democrats in competitive races in California explain what's causing the worst drought in the state's history.
(Al Jazeera America)
When it comes to climate change, a major part of President Barack Obama's plan is to promote ideas and solutions at state and local levels. Last month, surrounded by his task force of state, local and tribal leaders, Obama unveiled a national climate preparedness plan, pressing forward in his commitment to combat the effects of climate change in the United States.
(Los Angeles Times)
Montana farmer Rocky Norby has worked the land along the Missouri River for more than 20 years, coaxing sugar beets and malted barley out of the arid ground. "Every year it gets worse," he said. "There's not enough water to get through our pumps." Last month, he said, he spent more than $10,000 trying to remove the sand from his clogged irrigation system.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
In what would be one of Australia's largest oil discoveries in decades, U.S. energy company Apache Corp. said an exploration well offshore Western Australia state had found as much as 300 million barrels of crude.

August 15, 2014

(Edmonton Journal)
Warnings about higher levels of air pollution in the oilsands have emerged in a new provincial air quality report that calls for further investigation into possible pollution sources. The report shows polluting emissions in 2012 did not surpass the legal limit set out in the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan. (Just two substances, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, were measured). But air pollution rose to levels two and three on a scale of four at several monitoring sites, mostly between Fort McMurray and Fort McKay.
(Washington Examiner)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the world's third-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation, won't join his U.S. and Chinese counterparts at a United Nations climate summit next month in New York. Modi will skip the Sept. 23 event, according to the Economic Times, thwarting a potential meeting between the heads of states for the three largest greenhouse gas emitters—arguably the nations that will drive international negotiations next year in Paris.
(Press Association)
Melting of glaciers caused by human activity has soared in the past 20 years, a study has shown. Human influence is now the strongest driver of glacier melting, which has been occurring since the end of the "Little Ice Age" in the mid-19th century, it is claimed.
(Reuters)
Thousands of oil train tankers soon to be deemed obsolete in the United States are unlikely get a second life in Canada's oil sands industry, undercutting a U.S. government forecast that the costly cars will continue in use in the energy sector.
(The Globe and Mail)
When Alison Redford went to Washington with a message on Canada's Keystone XL pipeline, nobody wanted to listen. Attempts to get the former Alberta premier on the big news networks and in Washington publications went nowhere even with the help of a former Hillary Clinton aide, according to U.S. federal documents made public this week.
(Politico)
The political arm of one of the nation's biggest environmental groups is looking for allies in the unlikeliest of places: the Republican Party. The Environmental Defense Action Fund is rolling out a seven-figure ad campaign to aid green-minded Republicans in the midterm elections, part of a longer-term effort to find GOP partners on priorities like climate change.
(Popular Mechanic)
A new study says that out of 81 common compounds used in fracking, there's very little known about the potential health risks of about one-third of them. This research was presented this week at the 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.
(AP)
Ohio's environmental regulators laid out a plan Thursday to assist cities with testing and treating their drinking water, a first step in the state's response to last week's water emergency in Toledo that left 400,000 people without clean tap water. The state will make $150 million in interest-free loans available so that cities can upgrade water treatment and wastewater plants.
(Al Jazeera America)
Driven to action by California's historic drought, state lawmakers on Wednesday voted to place a $7.5 billion water plan before voters in November, ending a year of political wrangling over the measure. California is in the throes of a devastating multiyear drought that is expected to cost its economy $2.2 billion in lost crops, jobs and other damages.
(Wall Street Journal)
Since the first quarter of 2001, overall electricity generation from all fuel sources has risen 13 percent in the U.S. The main sources of that electricity have changed slightly. In 2014 more states use natural gas as their main fuel for electricity generation compared to 2001, while several fewer states use coal than at the start of the millennium. Hawaii and Massachusetts were the only states in 2001 to get the majority of their electricity from petroleum.