• Cause sought for natural gas pipeline blast that injured 1

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Authorities are trying to find out what caused a natural gas pipeline explosion in western Pennsylvania that destroyed one home, damaged at least three others and burned a fleeing homeowner. Officials in Westmoreland County said the 30-inch Texas Eastern transmission line burst open around 8:15 a.m. Friday in Salem Township. Spectra Energy said in a statement Saturday that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is investigating. Two parallel pipelines are being drained of natural gas, which should be done by the end of the day. The company said the state environmental protection department is doing air monitoring and will also test surface water.

  • LA rooftop solar array could power 5,000 homes

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles developer wants to build one of the nation's largest rooftop solar arrays, supplying enough electricity for 5,000 homes. The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1SEt20M ) says the plans announced Friday call for installing solar panels on 2 million square feet of space on Westmont Drive buildings. The system will provide 16.4 megawatts of power for the Department of Water and Power's energy grid. The developer, PermaCity, expects to complete the work by year's end.

  • Lobbying by renewable energy groups on rise in Massachusetts

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — BOSTON (AP) — An effort to jolt Massachusetts' reliance on solar and wind projects has surged in recent years, powered in part by an increase in lobbying by renewable energy backers. An Associated Press review of state lobbying records found that in 2015, nearly two dozen renewable energy companies and advocacy groups spent more than $1.5 million trying to get their voices heard on Beacon Hill. Just five years earlier, only five of the 23 had spent anything on lobbying. The surge comes as lawmakers and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker wrestle with a host of renewable energy issues, from paving the way for Canadian hydropower to debating the future of solar power credits.

  • Gas tax, lottery bills dead as legislature nears end

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawmakers return to Montgomery on Tuesday for the two days of the 2016 legislative session. Legislators have a number of high-profile bills left to consider before sine die, but many noteworthy bills have already met the chopping block. Here's a look at some of the top issues that failed to reach final passage. ___ GAMBLING: Though Gov. Robert Bentley in March said he thought Alabama voters would overwhelmingly approve a state lottery if given the chance, a variety of lottery and gambling legislation failed to gain traction during the 2016 session. A bill to allow Alabama to join multistate lottery games like Powerball failed to make it out of committee.

  • Major utilities say they're ready to handle Arizona summer

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's major electric utilities are telling state regulators they're positioned to handle the upcoming summer heat and the season's demand on their systems. The Arizona Corporation Commission on Thursday heard presentations from Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power, the Salt River Project and other utilities about their preparedness for the upcoming summer. APS is the state's largest electric utility, serving nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 counties. The Phoenix-based company says its customers last summer experienced the most outages related to wind, rain and lightning in five years and that last August was the second hottest August on record.

  • AAA: Md. drivers paying $2.21 per gallon

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists in Maryland are paying 9 cents more at the pump when compared with a week ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic said Friday in a report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Maryland was $2.21, up from $2.12 a week ago. The price of gas in the state is a penny above the national average of $2.20. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in cities around the state includes $2.21 in Baltimore, $2.23 in Cumberland, $2.25 in Hagerstown and $2.18 in Salisbury. Motorists in the state are paying 35 cents less per gallon than at this time last year when the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $2.56 per gallon.

  • Trade group recognizes Maine company's tidal energy system

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The National Hydropower Association is recognizing a Maine-based tidal power company. The trade group has given Ocean Renewable Power Company's "RivGen" system a 2016 Outstanding Stewards of America's Waters Award in the category of Operational Excellence. Its RivGen unit is a smaller version of the larger tidal energy unit that's designed for shallow tidal applications. Ocean Renewable is running demonstration projects in Down East Maine and in Alaska. The RivGen system is currently providing one-third of the electrical needs of a remote village in Alaska.

  • Oil exploration threatens Georgia state marine mammal

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Leading marine scientists says exploration for oil and gas deposits under the sea floor threatens the existence of an official symbol of Georgia, the North Atlantic right whale. The Savannah Morning News reports (http://bit.ly/24rOsG2 ) that an international group of 28 leading right whale researchers wrote an open letter to President Obama last week stating that seismic oil and gas surveys planned in the waters between Delaware and Florida would significantly impact right whales, an endangered species numbering about 500 animals, and "would jeopardize its survival." They cite other increasing dangers to this species, whose coast-hugging habits earned it the nickname of the "urban whale.

  • Congress heads out with no resolution on Zika, Puerto Rico

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress accomplished relatively little in a short work period, missing deadlines on the budget and on helping Puerto Rico with its financial crisis as lawmakers began a weeklong break. They left behind few clues about how they would address must-do items such as finding money to counter the Zika virus and a second, even scarier July 1 deadline for averting a fiscal disaster in cash-strapped Puerto Rico. Democrats called upon House leaders to modify this spring's three-weeks on, one-week off legislative schedule to keep working, as Puerto Rico hurtles toward a half-billion-dollar default on Sunday. "It's very, very hard to get anything done if you are a drive-by Congress," House Minority Leader Nancy

  • Study: US oil field source of global uptick in air pollution

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study. The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2 percent of the ethane detected in the Earth's atmosphere. Along with its chemical cousin methane, ethane is a hydrocarbon that is a significant component of natural gas. Once in the atmosphere, ethane reacts with sunlight to form ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. Ethane pollution can also harm agricultural crops.

  • Texas court blocks Houston from using tougher clean-air laws

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's efforts to use local clean air laws to regulate pollution in the home of the nation's largest petrochemical complex were halted Friday by a Texas Supreme Court ruling in favor of energy and chemical companies that claimed the city had overreached. The coalition made up of ExxonMobil Corp. and other companies with nearby refineries and plants had sued the nation's fourth-largest city in 2008 after Houston passed ordinances that required businesses to pay registration fees based on the number and type of pollution sources on each site. The city used the fees to investigate potential violations of air pollution laws. The ordinances also made it unlawful to operate a facility inside Houston unless it wa

  • Number of active drilling rigs falls in Oklahoma, nation

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Apr 30, 2016

    Oklahoma operators mothballed three rigs this week, dropping the count to 60. Nationwide, 11 rigs were laid down, dropping the count to 420.

  • OG&E proposes major bill changes in residential customers' rate case

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Apr 30, 2016

    Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. has proposed major billing changes that could double the standard residential customers' charge in its $92.5 million rate case that goes before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission beginning on Tuesday.

  • Hawaii lawmakers negotiate dozens of bills before deadline

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers facing a major deadline are negotiating final details on dozens of bills, rushing around the capitol and huddling in groups and trying to reach last-minute agreements. They're ironing out details on how to cool the state's overheated classrooms and whether the state will shed its distinction as the only state that doesn't explicitly ban sex trafficking. Anything that doesn't pass out of committee by the end of the day Friday will die. Committees passed several notable bills during the busy morning but postponed many difficult decisions until late in the day. One successful bill would help Hawaii lawmakers learn what it will take to set up a ferry system.

  • Federal judge dismisses Tulsan man's suit against Williams, ETE merger

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Apr 29, 2016

    Gregory K. Frizzell, chief judge in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, dismissed a lawsuit on Thursday that Tulsa plaintiff John Bumgarner filed against Williams Cos. and Energy Transfer Equity  earlier this year . Bumgarner, who previously held a variety of senior positions at Williams Cos., filed the class action lawsuit against his former employer and the Dallas-based company with which Williams is currently involved in a proposed merger on Jan. 14. The lawsuit, which was amended in February, was to enjoin the defendants from further proceeding with a proposed merger, including the dissemination of proxy materials, and the conduct of a special shareholders’ meeting of Williams to vote on the transaction.

  • Legislators transitioning from Capitol to temporary digs

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska legislators being forced from the state Capitol due to renovation work are setting up shop in a no-frills, nearby former university building, where old classrooms or conference areas will serve as committee rooms and legislators in some cases will share close-quarters office space. By Monday, virtually everyone will need to be out of the Capitol because of the construction work. The offices of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott are moving to a building about a block from the Capitol. The Bill Ray Center, which First National Bank Alaska purchased from the University of Alaska, is one of several buildings lawmakers plan to use as they continue meeting in extended session.

  • Huge fireball in gas explosion burns homes, fleeing man

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A natural gas pipeline exploded in a towering, roaring fireball Friday, destroying a home several hundred yards away, damaging at least three others and creating waves of intense heat that burned a fleeing homeowner as he ran down a road, authorities said. "It looked like you were looking down into hell," said Forbes Road Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Rosatti. The fire and heat seared scores of acres of woodlands around the pipeline in Salem Township, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, turning tall trees into blackened poles, melting the siding off one property, and causing wet pavement to steam. People miles away reported hearing a huge whooshing sound and feeling the ground rumble.

  • Vermont high court sides with solar project developers

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A fragmented Vermont Supreme Court on Friday sided with developers of a major solar power project in Rutland Town against the wishes of the town and its neighbors. The five-member court split three ways before ruling 3-2 in support of allowing construction of the Rutland Town project. The three-member majority was split 2-1 on one of the big issues in the case. The court upheld a ruling by the state Public Service Board that gave the 2.3 megawatt Rutland Renewable Energy project a green light. In doing so, it rehashed arguments heard at the Legislature over who should have greater say — the state or local communities — when developers come to a town looking to build solar and wind-power projects.

  • Dominion makes case for moving forward on nuclear


    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Virginia Power is defending its heavy spending on a potential new nuclear power plant, one the company may not actually build and could cost more than $19 billion to complete. The state's largest electric utility said in new filings with Virginia regulators Friday that the option of building a third unit at its North Anna site "is of great value" for customers because of the uncertain future of federal carbon emission rules. But the company also said that same uncertainty was causing it to slow down spending on the project in the short term and push back a possible completion date by a year, to 2029.

  • Exxon sees smallest profit in 16 years, Chevron posts loss


    DALLAS (AP) — Motorists are saving billions on cheaper gasoline, but the long slump in oil prices is taking a heavy toll on companies that find and produce crude. Exxon Mobil posted its smallest quarterly profit in more than 16 years Friday, while Chevron lost $725 million, its worst showing since 2002, and raised the number of jobs it expects to cut this year from 7,000 to 8,000. Other oil companies are expected to report weak earnings in the next few days. Oil prices have tumbled from their 2014 highs of over $100 a barrel, bottoming out at under $30 in mid-February, because of a worldwide glut. Giant companies like Exxon and major petroleum-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia have continued to pump more from the gro