• Colorado lawmakers gear up for battle over fracking

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    DENVER (AP) — A legislative battle over fracking is looming in Colorado, with Republicans taking the stance that mineral owners should be compensated when a local government bans or restricts energy development. The GOP's approach has bothered Democrats who argue lawmakers should wait for recommendations from a task force that's studying how to resolve land use disputes among homeowners, local governments, and energy companies. Further complicating matters, sometimes homeowners own the surface land where a house stands, while someone else may have rights to the minerals underneath. This week, Democratic House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst made clear that the Republican proposals to compensate mineral owners would go

  • State to pay $40K to anti-drilling group over terror listing

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — The state of Pennsylvania agreed to pay about $40,000 to an anti-gas drilling group that was erroneously characterized in security bulletins as a potential terror threat. The settlement terms between the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition were released Friday. The Associated Press obtained the document through an open-records request. The gas drilling coalition's lawsuit said the bulletins characterized the group as a possible threat to infrastructure without evidence. A private contractor, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, produced the reports under a one-year, $103,000 contract. Then-Gov.

  • GA lawmaker to introduce bill legalizing cannabis oil

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia lawmaker will officially introduce a bill legalizing cannabis oil for people with cancer, seizure disorders and other chronic diseases on Monday as the General Assembly returns to action. Rep. Allen Peake, a Republican from Macon, had discussed a broader bill allowing in-state growth of marijuana to manufacture the oil with low levels of THC, the chemical that can cause a high feeling for marijuana users. But Peake described his official proposal as a compromise with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who was unwilling to sign off on an in-state program. In his state of the state address this month, Deal said he hopes to sign a bill legalizing the oil by the end of the year. Peake wants to begin committee

  • NC court: Regulators' decision on utility profit supportable

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's highest court has upheld another decision that allowed a Duke Energy subsidiary to increase some electric bills. The state Supreme Court agreed Friday the Utilities Commission's approval in 2013 of a profit rate for Duke Energy Carolinas was supported by competent and substantial evidence and no improper costs would be paid for with the increase. The commission's decision allowed Duke to initiate a 4.5 percent average rate increase for two years for Durham and western North Carolina customers, growing to 5.1 percent thereafter. Attorney General Roy Cooper and an environmental group challenged the commission's decision.

  • OSU regents approve construction of new central plant

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma State University Board of Regents has authorized construction of a new central power plant at OSU's Stillwater campus. Regents on Friday selected Flintco of Tulsa to serve as the construction manager for a new central thermal plant and associated distribution facility. It will replace the current power plant, which was built in 1948 and cannot meet the needs of the growing campus. The estimated cost of the new plant is $75 million and will be funded through ongoing utility operations. The new facility will provide the steam and chilled water necessary to heat and cool the Stillwater campus. The facility will not produce electricity.

  • US rig count falls by 43 to 1,633

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 43 this week to 1,633. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report 1,317 rigs were exploring for oil and 316 for gas. A year ago 1,777 rigs were active. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas' count declined by 13, North Dakota dropped nine, Oklahoma fell eight, Ohio four, California and New Mexico each lost three and Utah declined by two. Kansas, West Virginia and Wyoming dropped one apiece. Louisiana increased by three rigs, Pennsylvania added two and Arkansas gained one. Alaska and Colorado were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 an

  • $2 gasoline: Good times keep rolling at the pump

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — At some point this will end, perhaps even soon. The price of gasoline will not fall to zero. But for the first time since 2009, most Americans are paying less than $2 a gallon. Just three months ago experts were shocked when it fell under $3. "It's crazy," says Michael Noel, an economics professor at Texas Tech University who studies oil and gasoline prices. "But for consumers it's very, very good." Consumers and the economies of the U.S. and most of the rest of the world are basking in the lowest prices for crude oil and gasoline in six years. U.S. crude oil traded Friday just below $46 a barrel and the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.04.

  • Challenges on multiple fronts likely to test new Saudi king

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's new monarch inherits the throne at a moment when the oil-rich kingdom is being buffeted by a plunge in the value of its most valuable commodity, growing challenges by activists at home and deepening turmoil on its borders that stands to benefit rival Iran. Those who know King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud note the 79-year-old's diplomatic skills, honed over nearly five decades as governor of the capital, Riyadh. Those abilities will be put to the test as he positions his country to confront a collapsing Yemen on its southern frontier and threats from the extremist Islamic State group to the north in Iraq.

  • GE earnings rise despite headwinds from low oil prices

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric Co. posted higher revenue and net income for the fourth quarter, but was held back from even better results by a sputtering performance from its expanding oil and gas division. The company calmed investors by maintaining its guidance for its 2015 profit, despite the low oil prices that are hurting its oil and gas operations and a stronger dollar that is hurting exports. "Everybody's been freaked out, everyone expected a big crumble on the guidance, but it didn't happen," said Nicholas Heyman, an analyst at William Blair. On Friday GE reported net income of $5.15 billion, up from $3.21 billion in the same quarter last year. Adjusting to remove the effect of one-time items, the company r

  • Officials warn about New Jersey's roads and bridges

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — State officials, from the leaders of the Democrat-controlled Legislature to Gov. Chris Christie's transportation commissioner, along with outside groups are stepping up warnings about the dire state of New Jersey's bridges, roads and tunnels. Here's a look at key questions surrounding the debate over the transportation trust fund. WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH THE TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND? By July 1, authority to pay for new projects runs out. Legislative leaders have called for raising more revenue — including through increasing the state's 14.5-cent gasoline tax. But no plan has gained enough support to pass. The trust fund brings in about $1.

  • Hollande, leaders call for investments in the green economy

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Climate change and poverty took center stage Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where leaders began campaigning in earnest for twin global accords aimed at cooling the planet and easing the suffering of multitudes. French President Francois Hollande, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were among the power-brokers urgently seeking support for two long-sought deals. They warned that the planet will overheat and many children will suffer unless the agreements are clinched this year. "Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail," Ban said. Hollande, who will host the next crucial round of climate talks, called for "huge investment" in green tech

  • Death of Saudi king unsettles oil market, prices waver

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices rose initially on news of the death of Saudi Arabia's powerful King Abdullah, but the increase was moderate and short-lived. The king's death is unlikely to lead to a change in the kingdom's immense crude production or change the course of oil prices in the coming months, analysts say. The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract rose more than $2 a barrel in the hours after the king's death was announced Thursday evening in New York. But by the time commodity markets opened Friday those gains had been largely erased. In morning trading, U.S. oil was up 18 cents to $46.49 a barrel. Brent crude, an international benchmark, was up 80 cents to $49.32 a barrel in London.

  • Not in My Back Acreage: Defenders of Tradition in Keystone Pipeline Fight

    Published: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    BRADSHAW, Neb. — An unpainted wooden barn sits in a snow-dusted cornfield along a gravel road, one of many that dot the rural horizon here, says the New York Times, however, this barn contains no horses, tractors or farming tools. Its roof is covered with solar panels, there is a windmill out front, and the interior is plastered with signs with slogans like “Build Our Energy” and “ #NOKXL ,” in protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could run under the property if President Obama approves the project. The 1,179-mile pipeline, first proposed in 2008, would carry oil from Canada into the United States, connecting with existing pipelines in southern Nebraska. In Congress, the Senate continues to debate a bill to approve the pipeline, and the House has already passed a bill to approve its construction. Four Harrington sisters — Abbi, Terri, Jenni and Heidi — grew up in the 1960s and ’70s tending livestock and crops here, and three of them have remained in Nebraska and continue to farm the land. They fear that construction of the pipeline could threaten their livelihood and a family farming tradition that dates back about 150 years, to when their great-great-grandfather settled on the plot.

  • Montana oil spill adds to fears about proposed pipeline

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A pipeline oil spill in Montana that contaminated a river and a city's drinking water supply is adding to fears about a proposed pipeline to carry oil from western North Dakota to a terminal in Illinois for distribution to refineries in eastern states. Many people who commented Thursday at a public hearing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline referenced the Yellowstone River spill that contaminated drinking water in Glendive, Montana, this week. Some residents fear a similar incident could occur with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

  • Williston water tests safe after river oil spill in Montana

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota health officials say testing has concluded that Williston's drinking water is safe following an oil spill in the Yellowstone River in Montana. North Dakota's Health Department says low levels of contaminants were detected in Williston's water but it's unclear where they came from. Officials say the water is safe to drink. A ruptured Bridger Pipeline Co. pipeline spilled 40,000 gallons of oil into the river near Glendive, Montana, last Saturday. The pipeline breach is about 50 river miles from the North Dakota border. Elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene were found in Glendive's water supply. The tap water has since been deemed safe.

  • Hazy skies the backdrop for Obama's climate talks in India

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    NEW DELHI (AP) — When President Barack Obama arrives in New Delhi on Sunday he will join the Indian capital's masses in breathing some of the world's filthiest air. Hazy skies will serve as the backdrop to meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials who are expected to discuss India's biggest environmental woes: Heavy reliance on fossil fuels that has transformed New Delhi into the planet's most polluted capital and made India the third biggest national emitter of greenhouse gases. With 1.26 billion people and counting, India's energy choices can make or break global efforts to prevent climate change. Experts expect the U.S. will be willing to help India finance ambitious plans to boost production

  • Siemens touts order for 21 wind turbines for Kansas project

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Siemens says it has received an order to supply 21 wind turbines to the Alexander wind project located 120 miles northwest of Wichita. The Hutchinson-based company announced Thursday in a news release that it has reached a deal with NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, for the 48-megawatt project in Kansas. The $85 million Alexander wind farm is expected to be operational by this fall. Siemens says the turbine's generator housing, called a nacelle, will be assembled at its nearby facility in Hutchinson. The blades will be manufactured at its facility in Fort Madison, Iowa.

  • Coats named chairman of US Senate Finance subcommittee

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana has been named chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure for the 114th Congress. Coats said Thursday that Indiana relies on energy and infrastructure for its manufacturing and transportation needs, and he plans to use the position to focus on expanding job opportunities. In December, Coats became the first Indiana senator to serve on the panel since former Sen. Vance Hartke in 1976. In addition to serving on the Senate Finance Committee, Coats is also chairman-designate of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • The ever-growing list of Obama veto threats

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    If these bills reach his desk, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto them: —Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Would ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. —No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Would ban taxpayer funding for abortion, a prohibition that is already largely in effect. —Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. Would accelerate the approval of natural gas pipeline projects by requiring a decision on applications within 12 months. —Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Amendments would overturn Obama's executive actions on immigration and expose hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants to deportation. —Regulatory Accountability Act of 20

  • National Science Foundation provides environmental grant

    Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Arkansas at Little Rock a $35,773 grant for a conference on hydraulic fracturing and environmental pollution. UALR will host the conference on April 20 and 21. Organizers say it is the first of its size and scope for UALR and is designed for leaders in academia, industry and government. The grant's principal investigator, Dr. Lashun K. Thomas, says the conference was created to bring together experts from all sectors to promote ideas, address fracturing efficiency and discuss ways to mitigate the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a commonly used technology for well stimulation to increase oil and




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