• Attorney seeks dismissal of his lawsuit against Oklahoma's oil and natural gas production tax

    By Rick M. Green, Capitol Bureau | Updated: 19 hr ago

    Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent seeks dismissal of his lawsuit against a new oil and gas production tax

  • Federal agencies approve North Dakota power line

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Construction on a 200-mile-long power line in western North Dakota is set to begin after getting the go-ahead from two federal agencies. Basin Electric received approval from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service over the weekend, company spokesman Curt Pearson said Monday. Basin Electric is still waiting on approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Western Area Power Administration — a marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. But the company said it can now proceed with construction. The 345-kilovolt transmission line from Basin Electric's power station near Beulah to the oil patch town of Tioga was approved by state regu

  • PG&E officials removed for improper communications

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Four senior officials with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the state commission regulating it were removed or resigned over emails released Monday showing the utility and state regulators appeared to negotiate which judge would be assigned to hear one of the utility's rate cases. The emails show the commission ultimately assigned to the case a judge for whom PG&E had expressed a preference, rather than another judge who PG&E said "has a history of being very hard on us.

  • Keystone XL operator seeks South Dakota approval

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The operator of the long-delayed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline on Monday formally asked South Dakota's utility regulators to recertify the portion of the project that runs through the state. The Public Utilities Commission must recertify that the conditions for construction of that portion of the pipeline haven't changed since the permits were first issued in 2010. State rules dictate permits must be reapproved if the construction of the project does not start within four years of their issuance. The proposed project by TransCanada Corp.

  • Conn. Supreme Court backs wind energy regulation

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court announced Monday a unanimous decision backing a state agency regulating wind energy, rejecting a challenge by opponents of a wind project. The court ruled 6-0 that a trial court was correct to dismiss appeals by opponents of the project by BNE Energy Inc. to build three wind turbines in Colebrook in northwestern Connecticut. Fair Wind for Connecticut, a group of nearby residents who oppose the project, argued that the state Siting Council incorrectly determined it has jurisdiction and did not have "substantial evidence" to back the height of the wind turbines.

  • Attorney dismisses lawsuit challenging energy tax


    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney who had challenged Oklahoma's recently adjusted tax on oil and gas production as unconstitutional has dismissed his lawsuit. Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent filed a petition Monday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court to dismiss his lawsuit. Fent declined to say why he dismissed his case. Fent had asked the state's highest court to throw out the bill, arguing that it was unconstitutional because it passed in the final days of the session and didn't receive a three-fourths vote in the House and Senate. Under the bill, all oil and natural gas wells would be taxed at a standard 2 percent rate for the first three years of production. After that, the rate would return to the standard productio

  • FTC asked to consider utility's renewable claims


    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A group of four environmentalists on Monday asked the Federal Trade Commission to determine if Vermont's largest electric utility is making deceptive claims about some of the renewable energy it produces. In their petition, the environmentalists say Green Mountain Power claims its customers are getting some of their electricity from renewable sources such as ridgeline wind turbines, but then sells the rights to the renewable energy claim to other utilities while still telling Vermont customers they are using renewable power.

  • Duke Energy to spend $500M for more solar power


    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy plans to invest $500 million in solar power to meet North Carolina's requirement that more of its electricity come from renewable energy, the country's largest electricity company said Monday. The Charlotte-based company said it will build three generating facilities of its own and buy power from five other facilities built by investors in order to meet its requirement that renewables produce 6 percent of its 2015 retail sales. The new solar arrays will produce 278 megawatts of electricity, the company said. "That's why we're doing this, for renewable portfolio standard requirements," said Rob Caldwell. Duke Energy's vice president of renewable generation development.

  • Chafee sees state as future leader in wind energy


    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island will have a major role to play in the offshore wind industry, even though a developer chose to use a Massachusetts port to build a large wind farm, Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Monday. Rhode Island officials had hoped Cape Wind would use New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island's Quonset Point for the staging and construction of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, bringing jobs and economic activity to both states. Cape Wind announced Friday it had signed a lease agreement with Massachusetts. Chafee said Cape Wind will likely need support in Rhode Island for its projects.

  • Reid putting political muscle behind Tennant bid


    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given West Virginia Democratic Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant a fundraising lift. Reid headlined a Tennant fundraiser Friday afternoon in New York City, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. Tennant campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue confirmed Reid attended the event. Reid's office didn't respond to a call and email for comment. Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, has repeatedly declined to say if she'd support Reid, D-Nevada, as the Senate's leader. The fundraiser is the most outward support Reid has lent Tennant, who is considered an underdog against GOP U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

  • Durbin's views on issues as he faces re-election


    CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat seeking his fourth U.S. Senate term against Illinois Sen. Jim Oberweis in November, sat down with The Associated Press for a wide-ranging interview about the campaign. Here are excerpts of what he said and his stands on the issues: ILLINOIS ECONOMY Durbin said Democrats have tried to turn the economy around after the policies of former Republican President George W. Bush led the U.S. into recession, and argued that they've had "good luck" making progress. He acknowledged, however, that Illinois' unemployment rate remains higher than most of the country. "In Illinois we still have a ways to go. We need to create more jobs. And I think we're on that track. We're moving i

  • Enbridge, agencies to simulate oil spill response


    INDIAN RIVER, Mich. (AP) — Emergency response agencies will participate this week in an exercise simulating a worst-case spill from oil pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan. The U.S. Coast Guard's 9th District says the drill will be conducted Wednesday in Indian River. More than 200 participants are expected, representing emergency management departments in Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties; the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Joining them will be representatives of pipeline owner Enbridge Inc.

  • Montana coal mine deal aims to boost Asian exports


    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Coal companies have finalized a deal that consolidates ownership of a Montana mine and gives a Wyoming company an option to export coal through Washington state. Ambre Energy and Cloud Peak Energy announced in a joint statement Monday that the deal involving the 120-worker Decker mine closed Sept. 12. Australia-based Ambre took over Cloud Peak's 50 percent stake in the Decker mine and liability for $67 million in reclamation and lease bonds for the facility. Cloud Peak, based in Gillette, Wyoming, gained the option to move almost 8 million tons of coal annually through a port that Ambre has proposed in Longview, Washington. Ambre, Cloud Peak and other companies want to increase coal shipme

  • Study: Leaky wells, not fracking, taint water


    WASHINGTON (AP) — The drilling procedure called fracking didn't cause much-publicized cases of tainted groundwater in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, a new study finds. Instead, it blames the contamination on problems in pipes and seals in natural gas wells. After looking at dozens of cases of suspected contamination, the scientists focused on eight hydraulically fractured wells in those states, where they chemically linked the tainted water to the gas wells. They then used chemical analysis to figure out when in the process of gas extraction methane leaked into groundwater. "We found the evidence suggested that fracking was not to blame, that it was actually a well integrity issue," said Ohio State University geochemist T

  • Oyster Creek plant taken offline for refueling


    LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — The nation's oldest nuclear power plant has been taken offline for a planned refueling outage. The Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township was shut down early Monday. During the outage, crews will perform maintenance work throughout the plant and replace nearly one-third of the reactor's fuel to keep the unit running safely and efficiently for another two-year cycle. Technicians also will complete testing, maintenance and modifications that can only be done when the station is not generating electricity. Plant officials did not say how long it will take to complete the work. Oyster Creek is located about 60 miles east of Philadelphia.

  • Gas prices drop 3 cents per gallon in Rhode Island


    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The price of a gallon of regular gas in Rhode Island has fallen 3 cents to an average of $3.48. That's according to a weekly survey released Monday by AAA Southern New England. AAA says despite the drop, gas in Rhode Island is still more expensive on average than in the nation as a whole. The national average for regular unleaded this week is $3.39 per gallon, 9 cents less than in Rhode Island. The price of gas has fallen 21 cents in Rhode Island since this time last year, when the average price was $3.69 per gallon.

  • Massachusetts gas prices down 2 cents


    BOSTON (AP) — The price of a gallon of gasoline in Massachusetts has dropped another 2 cents, but still lags behind the national average. AAA Southern New England reports Monday that self-serve, regular is now selling for an average of $3.43 per gallon, which is 4 cents more than the national average. Still, Bay State prices are 4 cents lower than they were a month ago and 15 cents lower than at the same time last year. AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $3.26 per gallon to as high as $3.79.

  • Islamic State group's war chest is growing daily


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Islamic State militants, who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to U.S. intelligence officials and private experts. The extremist group's resources exceed that "of any other terrorist group in history," said a U.S. intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. Such riches are one reason that American officials are so concerned about the group even while acknowledging they have no evidence it is plotting attacks against the United States.

  • Dominion installing solar project in central Va.


    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Virginia Power is planning to install nearly 2,500 solar panels at a Capital One facility in Chester. The Richmond-based energy provider says it will be the first ground-mounted solar energy system in central Virginia. Officials say the system will be capable of generating about 500 kilowatts of electricity, which is enough to power about 125 homes. It's part of Dominion's Solar Partnership Program that will generate enough power for up to 7,500 homes when fully implemented. The company is allowed to construct and operate up to 30 megawatts of solar facilities on leased rooftops or on the grounds of commercial businesses and public properties in its service area.

  • Gas prices fall 2 cents in New Hampshire


    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gas prices in New Hampshire have decreased 2.1 cents in the past week, averaging $3.42 a gallon. Gasbuddy.com says that's 3 cents more than the national average, which fell 4.2 cents last week to $3.39 a gallon. Gas prices in New Hampshire are 19.3 cents per gallon lower than they were a year ago, and 8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average decreased 6.7 cents per gallon in the last month and stands 14.9 cents a gallon less compared to a year ago.