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Today's Climate

August 18, 2014

(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.
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.
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.
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.
(Climate Central)
With worldwide food production expected to double by 2050, it's almost inevitable that agriculture is going to have to expand in a warming world with a growing population. A new study suggests that if new farmland is created carefully, billions of tons of carbon emissions could be saved.

August 14, 2014

(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
A new report out today reveals natural gas drillers could be using diesel to frack wells without the mandated federal permits. Unlike other chemicals used in gas drilling, Congress requires extensive oversight if diesel is present.
(The Hill)
A former spokeswoman to Hillary Clinton worked for the Canadian province of Alberta to "neutralize the environmentalist arguments" against the Keystone XL pipeline, new filings with the Justice Department reveal.
(The Canadian Press)
A British Columbia First Nation plans to issue an eviction notice to Imperial Metals Corp.–the company behind a massive tailings pond breach at a gold and copper mine last week–over a separate project in the band's territory. The declaration from the Neskonlith Indian Band is the latest sign that last week's tailings spill at the Mount Polley Mine in central B.C. could ripple across the company's other projects and possibly the province's entire mining industry.
(The Record)
Up to 30 trains, each carrying more than a million gallons of highly explosive crude oil in aging tanker cars, are transported into North Jersey neighborhoods from New York every week, according to documents obtained by The Record. Although oil trains have become a common sight from Northvale to Ridgefield along the CSX River Line, the exact number of shipments had not previously been available to the public.
(Dallas Morning News)
State oil and gas regulators proposed new guidelines for injection wells Tuesday after a rash of earthquakes rocked North Texas several months ago. The proposal was met with skepticism from an environmental group, saying it does little more than collect data without holding any drillers accountable.
To be frank, the idea of a pipeline running across his prairie really ticked off cattleman Pete Bonds. But not to be paid a fair price for the land only made him madder. Bonds, who owns 1,000 acres northwest of Fort Worth near Saginaw, said the pipeline company wanted a 50-foot easement and was using the power of eminent domain to condemn and grab it.
(Philadelphia Inquirer)
A consortium of New Jersey and Pennsylvania utilities wants to develop a 105-mile pipeline to deliver low-cost Marcellus Shale natural gas to East Coast customers, easing bottlenecks that caused price spikes last winter. The PennEast Pipeline Company L.L.C. on Tuesday announced plans to build a $1 billion, 30-inch-diameter pipeline from Luzerne County to the Trenton area. Utilities and customers in Pennsylvania and South Jersey would be the beneficiaries.
(Denver Post)
A Colorado state senator insinuated in an interview last month that water can naturally catch fire and therefore hydraulic fracturing is safe. Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, made the statements on the daily television show—The Pray in Jesus Name Project—of Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Republican who is running for state representative in eastern El Paso County.
(Baltimore Sun)
A Calvert County circuit judge has overturned the Southern Maryland county's decision to exempt the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas export facility from local zoning regulations. It's not clear, however, whether the decision affects plans for the $3.4 billion project. Judge James P. Salmon declared that Calvert County acted illegally in freeing Cove Point, now the site of a liquefied natural gas import terminal, from having to comply with the county's zoning ordinance.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Coal imports to the U.S. are rising sharply even as coal mines close throughout Central Appalachia. A big reason: price. It costs $26 a ton to ship coal from Central Appalachia to power plants in Florida compared with $15 a ton to get coal from a mine in Colombia, according to research firm IHS Energy.
(Climate Central)
NASA's new carbon dioxide-monitoring satellite just opened its eyes for the first time. Based on the initial data its sending back to Earth, it appears to have 20/20 vision and scientists will soon have plenty more data to analyze.
Antarctica glaciers melting because of global warming may push up sea levels faster than previously believed, potentially threatening megacities including New York and Shanghai, researchers in Germany said.

August 13, 2014

(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The energy boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base.
(Christian Science Monitor)
Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could be a reality if Republicans take control of the Senate in the midterm elections. Keystone XL has bipartisan support in both chambers already, and a Republican Senate could force President Obama to either approve or veto the controversial project.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has wrapped up its investigation into the death of a worker at a Chevron natural gas well site in southwest Pennsylvania. The agency announced in a brief statement Tuesday it will not issue citations or fines for the incident.
President Obama has declared an emergency in Washington because of wildfires burning the past two weeks. The declaration Wednesday authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief and help state and local agencies with equipment and resources.
(San Jose Mercury News)
Powerful voices in California's water wars pledged their support Tuesday for a $7 billion state water bond that lawmakers must pass before Wednesday's midnight deadline if they hope to see it on the November ballot.