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Today's Climate

August 4, 2014

(The Journal Sentinel)
Two weeks after Gov. Scott Walker visited a frac sand company in western Wisconsin to celebrate an expansion, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen entered a settlement with the company for violating state environmental laws.
(The Hill)
The Obama administration Friday formally published proposals in the Federal Register to strengthen safety rules for trains carrying crude oil and other fuels, kicking off a two-month period in which the public can comment.
(La Crosse Tribune)
Newly released documents show the coal delivery shortage that threatens to shutter one of Dairyland Power's two coal-fired plants has also caused a fuel shortage at one of Minnesota's largest electricity generators. Xcel Energy is calling on federal regulators to focus on urging railroads to reduce a shipping backlog that could "impact the reliability of our electric grid."
(The Times-Picayune)
Oil giant BP has filed a formal petition to the U.S. Supreme Court appealing a multi-billion-dollar settlement, approved by lower courts in New Orleans, that compensated businesses damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, WWL-TV reports.
(Newsweek)
Germany's 1,300 brewers are concerned the country's energy needs and the introduction of fracking will collide with the business of producing some of the best beers in the world.

August 1, 2014

(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The U.S. energy boom is producing a little-noticed side effect: American oil and gas companies are paying less in federal income taxes. Energy companies are spending billions of dollars a year to drill in shale formations across the country, sending the nation's daily oil output up by almost 50 percent in just the past few years.
(Guardian)
A loophole in the U.K. government's energy policy that could have seen billpayers funding billions of pounds of subsidy for old coal plants will be closed, officials have told the Guardian. The move is a victory for analysts and campaigners who argued large coal subsidies would heavily undermine ministers' drive to reduce carbon emissions, as well as costing consumers dearly. However, some coal payments will remain and critics say the policy still undervalues energy saving measures.
(The Hill)
New developments since the State Department's environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline show that it should not be approved, 12 environmental groups said. The green groups said the government did not properly account for these changes when it last month revised the environmental review it had completed earlier in the year.
(Bloomberg)
TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the energy company proposing the $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline, said comparable profit declined to the lowest in six quarters as it sold less power and electricity prices declined.
(The Canadian Press)
Enbridge (TSX:ENB) reports a second-quarter net profit of $756 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, compared with $42 million, or five cents per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2013. Cash flow from operating activities was $812 million, down from $937 million year-over-year.
(Reuters)
Energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use, the International Monetary Fund said in a new book on Thursday.
(RTCC)
The U.K. is slashing its climate change diplomacy budget even as global efforts intensify to reach a deal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cut spending on its core climate change activities by 39 percent over the past three years, figures show.
(Los Angeles Times)
More than half of California is now under the most severe level of drought for the first time since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s, according to new data released Thursday.
(Think Progress)
An acid spill on Monday in rural Kingfisher County northwest of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma could turn out to be the largest spill "in relation to fracking materials" in the state according to an Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman.
(Belfast Telegraph)
There will be no fracking allowed in Co Fermanagh - or anywhere else in Northern Ireland - unless it can be proved safe beyond doubt, the country's Environment Minister has pledged.
(Fuel Fix)
The future of oil exploration in some U.S. Arctic waters may rest with federal courts, but Royal Dutch Shell's CEO said Thursday the company is undaunted by the legal logjam.
(BusinessWeek)
In Canada's economy there's Alberta, then there's everywhere else. The oil- and gas-rich western province added 81,800 jobs over the last 12 months, while the rest of Canada lost 9,500. Canada's jobless rate is 7.1 percent, Alberta's 4.9 percent. Alberta's trade surplus, C$7.4 billion ($6.8 billion) in May, almost matched the trade deficit rung up by all the other provinces.
(Climate Central)
Carbon capture and storage is often talked about as a way to keep major polluters' carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere by tucking them away safely underground forever. But carbon capture and storage, or CCS, could be used more often in a rather counterintuitive way: To produce crude oil, which releases its own CO2 emissions when it's burned, helping drive climate change.

July 31, 2014

(AP)
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.
(BusinessWeek)
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.