• Oil and natural gas industry supports one in five Oklahoma jobs, report finds

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    Oklahoma’s rapidly growing oil and natural gas industry accounts for about 20 percent of all the jobs in the state and almost two-thirds of those created since the recession ended in 2010, Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans said Wednesday.

  • Obama orders airstrikes in Syria for first time

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Opening a new military front in the Middle East, President Barack Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria for the first time Wednesday night, along with expanded strikes in Iraq as part of "a steady, relentless effort" to root out Islamic State extremists and their spreading reign of terror. "We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are," Obama declared in a prime-time address to the nation from the White House. "This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven." Obama announced that he was dispatching nearly 500 more U.S.

  • Statoil widens natural gas capture project in ND

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Norwegian oil company Statoil plans to widen a natural gas capture program in North Dakota's oil fields, a move the company says will reduce flaring. The program, started earlier this year in partnership with General Electric and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, allows Statoil to use natural gas that would otherwise be burned off. Natural gas is a valuable byproduct of oil production, but without infrastructure in place to capture, use or transport the natural gas, it is burned off. The program allows natural gas to be captured at well sites, compressed, cleaned and delivered by specialized trucks directly to drilling rigs where it can be used to fuel the machinery.

  • Study: North Texas drilling adds $11.8B to economy

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Production from the natural gas-rich Barnett Shale in North Texas has risen even as drilling activity and natural gas prices have fallen, according to a study commissioned by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce released Wednesday. The Waco, Texas-based Perryman Group analysis shows that oil and gas drilling in the Barnett Shale is contributing $11.8 billion annually to the North Texas economy, up from $11.1 billion per year in 2011. Drilling adds $480.6 million in taxes to local cities, counties and school districts, the study says.

  • Regulators reject call for nuke plant shutdown

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday rejected a senior federal expert's recommendation to shut down California's last operating nuclear power plant until the agency can determine whether its twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults. In a decision written by Executive Director for Operations Mark Satorius, the agency concluded there is no immediate or significant safety concern at the Diablo Canyon plant, which sits on a seaside bluff midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  • Maine group gets grant for wind power technology

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine research group is getting a $1.1 million federal grant to help develop new technology to detect birds and bats near wind turbines. Biodiversity Research Institute will use the funding to further create a system of high-technology cameras. Congressman Chellie Pingree said Wednesday that the wind power industry is creating jobs in Maine and developing new sources of clean energy but she says for the industry to keep growing better ways need to be developed to make sure turbines are not affecting the environment.

  • McAuliffe: No fracking in GW National Forest

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Citing assurances from federal officials, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday fracking for natural gas will not be allowed in the George Washington National Forest. "I won't allow it as long as I'm governor," McAuliffe told the inaugural meeting of a climate change panel he created this summer. "We made it clear to everyone we will not allow fracking in our national forest. I'm not going to allow it." U.S. Forest Service officials, who are considering fracking among other uses in the forest as part of a new management plan for the 1.1-million-acre preserve, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The decision rests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.

  • Rough governor's primary gives hope to Cuomo foes

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bumpy win in the Democratic primary is energizing his general election opponents, who said Wednesday that a little-known liberal challenger's better-than-expected showing exposed big problems for the governor within his own party. The governor traveled to Buffalo for a victory celebration with running mate Kathy Hochul as his campaign pivots to the general election. Cuomo beat law professor Zephyr Teachout, 62 percent to 34 percent, in Tuesday's low-turnout primary, a decisive win but a weaker-than-expected performance for a well-known incumbent facing a first-time candidate with few campaign resources.

  • Va. climate change focus of panel's meeting

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe launched his climate change commission on Wednesday, urging the panel to develop concrete ideas to blunt the impact of rising seas along Virginia's threatened coast. The Democrat made it clear he's no climate change skeptic. "I believe it when scientists say climate change is real, it's happening and it's caused by human actions," he said, calling the science "settled on this." McAuliffe addressed the Climate Change and Resiliency Commission, which met for the first time. The panel's 30-plus members include utility officials, environmentalists and climate scientists, among others. Two McAuliffe Cabinet secretaries co-chair the commission.

  • Industry to seek changes in 'fracking' rules

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    CHICAGO (AP) — Supporters of high-volume oil and gas extraction said Wednesday that they'll seek dozens of changes in proposed rules governing the practice in Illinois that they believe violate a hard-won compromise between industry and environmentalists. A coalition of industry groups will outline more than 65 areas of concern to a legislative panel that must decide whether the rules — written by the Department of Natural Resources to implement a new hydraulic fracturing law — can take effect as written, said Mark Denzler vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. The law, passed last year, was seen as a national model of compromise, but both advocates and opponents since have been critical of the rule-m

  • Correction: Student Invention story

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a member exchange sent Sept. 10 about a student invention, The Associated Press erroneously deleted the first paragraph of the story. A corrected version of the story is below: Salem student's project takes on dirty water Salem student's project takes on cleaning up dirty water from natural disasters By QUEENIE WONG Salem Statesman Journal SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Megha Joshi was researching natural disasters last year when the idea for an award-winning science fair project — a solar-powered water filtration system — popped into her mind. Hurricanes, floods and tsunamis can pollute the water supply with bacteria and other contaminants, which can lead to illness for people

  • Montana coal railroad told to turn over documents

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Sponsors of a proposed railroad that would open Montana's huge coal reserves to new mining must turn over documents about the project's economics to a conservation group that's opposed to the line, according to a Wednesday decision by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. Board members said the information being sought by the Northern Plains Resource Council will help determine if the Tongue River Railroad is in the public interest. The 42-mile line would cost an estimated $400 million and provide access to the proposed Otter Creek coal mine near the Wyoming-Montana border. The mine and railroad are being built in part to tap into a growing market for coal in Asia. Mining companies eager to off

  • Oklahoma legislative study focuses on fracking

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A legislative interim study requested by an Oklahoma lawmaker is focusing on the impact of hydraulic fracturing to water. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a method used to help extract oil and natural gas from rock through injections of high-pressurized mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals. The process produces wastewater that is later injected into deep disposal wells. State Rep. Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City, requested the study before the House Agriculture and Wildlife Committee, which held a meeting Tuesday. He said he was concerned drilling activities had contaminated water wells for his constituents or caused wells to go dry around the Salt Fork River in north-central Okla

  • Regulators reject US expert's call to shut down California nuclear plant for seismic study

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Regulators reject US expert's call to shut down California nuclear plant for seismic study.

  • First anchors installed in Wanapum Dam repair

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Workers have installed the first of 35 giant anchors intended to stabilize the broken Wanapum Dam. The Grant County Public Utility District said Tuesday the anchors begin at the top of the spillway and run deep into the bedrock below the dam, ensuring the long-term stability of the spillway on the Columbia River near Vantage. The 200-foot-long anchors will be installed throughout the spillway. Work is also underway to use 50 steel bars to repair a portion of the spillway where a crack appeared earlier this year. That work has been likened to driving screws into a block of wood.

  • Russian gas supplies to Poland drop by a quarter

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Russian natural gas deliveries to Poland have dropped by almost a quarter this week, the country's gas monopoly said Wednesday, forcing it to stop supplying gas on to Ukraine. The reason for the drop was unclear, with Russian energy company Gazprom denying any fall in exports. Some commentators believe it to be retaliation by Moscow against Poland for its decision to help Ukraine with gas. Neighboring Germany's energy company E.On also said it registered small reductions in deliveries of Russian gas, but not enough to affect its supply situation. The gas in question arrives to Poland and other European countries through pipelines that cross Ukraine and Belarus.

  • Official: Fighting in Iraq delays Iran gas exports

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The fighting between Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants will delay even further the planned start of Iranian natural gas exports to neighboring Iraq, Iran's oil minister was quoted as saying Wednesday. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the pipeline, which is still under construction on the Iraqi side, goes partly through territory now controlled by the Islamic State group. The extremist group carried out a blitz this summer, seizing much of Iraq's north and west and is now battling with Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, who are trying to take back lost ground. Pipeline workers, mainly Iranians, have come under attack several times, especially in Iraq's Diyala province, which has disrupt

  • EPA officials visit Craig to talk about coal

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    CRAIG, Colo. (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency officials are visiting northwestern Colorado to learn more about how proposed pollution rules for power plants could affect a region where the economy is tied to coal. EPA Region 8 Administrator Shaun McGrath is set to speak at a community meeting in Craig Wednesday evening along with the manager of Craig Station, one of the state's largest coal power plants. Moffat County Commissioner John Kincaid invited the EPA to the county during hearings in Denver in July on the rules. At the time, he said they could devastate the region and turn Craig into "another Detroit, Michigan." McGrath and other EPA officials are also scheduled to tour the power plant Thursday.

  • Japanese nuclear plant clears safety hurdle

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — A nuclear power plant in southern Japan won regulators' approval Wednesday under new safety standards imposed after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a key step toward becoming the first to restart under the tighter rules. The Nuclear Regulation Authority unanimously approved an inspection report for the Sendai Nuclear Power Station's two reactors. It concluded that the reactors complied with new regulations designed to avoid major damage during disasters such as the massive earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. The plant's safety approval and its expected restart are a big boost for Japan's nuclear industry.

  • Google invests in California solar power plant

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Google is helping to convert a one-time oil field into a solar power plant. The Internet search company is providing $145 million in financing so that SunEdison can build the plant north of Los Angeles in Kern County. "There's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells," Google said in a blog post Wednesday. The plant will be fitted with nearly 250,000 SunEdison solar panels and generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes. Google said the project will bring 650 jobs to the area. SunEdison Inc. expects the plant to be operational later this year and supply power to utility company Southern California Edison. The plant is owned by TerraF