• Online list IDs water wells harmed by drilling

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Six years into a natural gas boom, Pennsylvania has for the first time released details of 243 cases in which companies prospecting for oil or gas were found by state regulators to have contaminated private drinking water wells. The Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday posted online links to the documents after the agency conducted a "thorough review" of paper files stored among its regional offices. The Associated Press and other news outlets have filed lawsuits and numerous open-records requests over the last several years seeking records of the DEP's investigations into gas-drilling complaints.

  • US regulators rap faulty water pump at Millstone

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday it could impose more inspections and greater oversight of the state's nuclear power plant due to repeated problems with a critical water pump. The agency issued its findings from an inspection of Millstone Power Plant's unit 3, saying problems associated with a turbine-driven auxiliary water pump three times last year and in January was of low to moderate safety significance. The pump cools the reactor in emergencies if offsite power and diesel generators fail. Millstone, which is owned by Dominion Resources Inc., may request a conference with regulators, submit a written response or accept the finding. Spokesman Ken Holt says plant officials

  • Resolution to oppose nuke waste near Lake Huron

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A member of Congress from Michigan says he'll sponsor a resolution opposing a Canadian power company's plan to bury waste from nuclear plants less than a mile from Lake Huron. Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee announced his plan Thursday during a boat trip on Saginaw Bay. His district includes a section of the lake's shoreline. The nonbinding resolution will urge President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to take up the matter with the Canadian government. Ontario Power Generation wants to entomb radioactive waste from in rock chambers 2,230 feet below the earth's surface near Kincardine, Ontario. The company says the facility would be safe and wouldn't leak.

  • Shell files revised Arctic offshore drilling plan

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC has filed a revised Arctic offshore drilling plan with federal regulators but says the company hasn't decided whether to return to waters off the coast of northwest Alaska in 2015. The revised exploration plan submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Anchorage calls for two drilling vessels to operate simultaneously in the Chukchi Sea rather than one in the Chukchi and one in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's north Coast. The presence of two vessels is required so one can drill a relief well in the event of damage from a blowout. Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc.'s revised plan calls for the return of the Noble Discoverer, which performed top hole work at the company's B

  • Los Angeles utility worker shocked by power line

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employee is in critical condition after he was shocked by a 4,800-volt power line. The agency says the employee was working on overhead electrical lines in Encino when he touched a wire shortly before 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The agency says the man was rescued by co-workers and paramedics. City News Service says he was taken to a hospital in critical condition. About 460 customers were briefly left without power after the accident.

  • Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will resume issuing oil and gas leases next year for federal lands in California after a new study found limited environmental impacts from fracking and other enhanced drilling techniques, the agency said Thursday. The move will end a halt that has stood since a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the federal agency failed to follow environmental law in allowing an oil extraction method known as fracking on public land in Monterey County. The study released Thursday was conducted for the BLM by the state-created California Council on Science and Technology.

  • Future of 'Big Oil' suit at stake as panel meets

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a south Louisiana flood board that's suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies. The panel that nominates members for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East discussed plans to fill two expired terms Thursday. But members said a vote cannot legally take place until September. One of the expired terms is that of Paul Kemp, a supporter of the lawsuit, which Jindal opposes. Kemp has applied for another term. However, even if he is re-nominated, Jindal would likely seek to replace him with a lawsuit opponent. Kemp continues to serve until a successor is named. Meanwhile, the law

  • Blast at BP refinery sparks fire, rattles homes

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    WHITING, Ind. (AP) — An explosion at BP oil refinery in northwestern Indiana along Lake Michigan rattled nearby homes and sparked a fire that was later extinguished, but it didn't cause any major injuries or halt production at the facility, a company official said Thursday. The explosion Wednesday night at the Whiting refinery, which is just east of Chicago, was caused by a fire in a compressor on a processing unit, BP America spokesman Scott Dean said. It happened about 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the plant's fire department within a couple of hours. One employee was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but was later released, Dean said. Refinery operations were "minimally" affected by the fire, he said.

  • UW collects $50.7 million in private donations

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming saw a slight dip in private contributions in the last fiscal year but still collected the second-highest amount ever despite turmoil in the university's top administrative post. For the fiscal year ending June 30, private giving to UW reached $50.7 million, with contributions coming from more than 24,000 individuals, corporations and foundations. While down from the previous year's record of $56 million, it is still only the second time in the school's history that fundraising has exceeded $50 million.

  • BP explosion causes sulfur dioxide release

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    WHITING, Ind. (AP) — BP officials have notified the state of Indiana that more than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air following an explosion at refinery in northwestern Indiana. Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Dan Goldblatt says the agency is still preparing a report but the initial indication is that the release didn't cause any air quality problems. BP spokesman Scott Dean says there's no indication the explosion had any environmental impact. Dean says the explosion Wednesday night was caused by a compressor in one of the units of the refinery. He says the plant was continuing to operate Thursday. He wouldn't comment on whether it affected the production at the plant.

  • Ukraine conflict weighs on markets; Retailers fall

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    U.S. financial markets ended slightly lower Thursday, marking their first loss in a week of record highs. The escalating conflict in Ukraine, disappointing retail earnings and profit outlooks combined to weigh down the market, eclipsing some good news on the U.S. economy and labor market. "The key driver was largely the Ukraine news and the uncertainty of what that means," said Erik Davidson, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower opening in premarket trading Thursday, following a downward turn in global stock markets as traders reacted to the developments in Ukraine. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said Russian forces had entered his country.

  • Construction time uncertain for Ga. nuclear plant

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Power says its construction budget for a nuclear plant near the South Carolina line remains steady but costs could change in the future. The Southern Co. subsidiary estimates it will spend $6.7 billion for its share of the cost of building two reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH'-gohl). That projection came Thursday in a company report sent to Georgia's utility regulators. The new reactors at Plant Vogtle and a sister project in South Carolina are the first in a new generation of nuclear plants. The Georgia reactors are supposed to start operating in late 2017 and late 2018. However, Southern Co. says its builders face "challenges" sticking to the schedule. Southern Co.

  • Oil industry donating to Rauner's campaign

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Oil producers, drilling companies and geologists frustrated with the slow process of implementing rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling are putting their money behind Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (http://bit.ly/VTmlkn ) that the Winnetka businessman received nearly $240,000 from oil company officials looking to get the process up and running during a July 9 fundraiser in Mt. Vernon. Most of those funds come from companies who want the permit process to be up and running as soon as possible. Democratic Gov.

  • Gasoline prices in Arizona at $3.43 per gallon

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    PHOENIX (AP) — Gasoline prices around Arizona are lower at the pumps for the eighth consecutive week. Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $3.43 a gallon heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend. That's more than 2 cents lower than last week. This week's national average is $3.43 per gallon, down by less than a penny from last week. Triple-A analysts say barring a hurricane damaging oil refineries or escalating conflicts overseas, prices should continue to slide downward. Tucson has Arizona's lowest average gasoline price at $3.29 a gallon and Flagstaff has the highest at $3.68. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices amo

  • Construction in Taveras TV ad unrelated to project

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A television ad for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Angel Taveras suggesting work is underway on a major redevelopment project at the South Street Power Station depicts completely unrelated construction, since the project hasn't yet begun. In the 30-second spot released this week, the Providence mayor stands on-site and says the vacant building will "soon" be a $200 million nursing school. It shows images of trucks and other equipment working by the building and Taveras seemingly reviewing plans with workers in hard hats.

  • IDNR set to release fracking rules Friday

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is expected to release proposed rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling to a legislative panel. Department officials say that rules to implement the state's year-old hydraulic fracturing law will be submitted to the Illinois Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Friday. The agency has come under increasing criticism from "fracking" supporters who had hoped that drilling could begin this summer. But a draft of the proposed rules released last year proved controversial, and was heavily criticized by environmentalists. The Department of Natural Resources has spent recent months sorting through more than 30,000 comments.

  • W. Pa. township sued over gas drilling

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    PULASKI, Pa. (AP) — A western Pennsylvania couple is suing their township, claiming that supervisors improperly approved natural gas drilling in a residential area. The lawsuit against Pulaski Township was filed by Timothy Chito and Elizabeth Kesner. The lawsuit says the couple purchased a home in the area in 1996, but that recent drilling about 1500 feet away is affecting their property and quality of life. The area is about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The lawsuit seeks damages and to have the township amend its local zoning laws so that drilling is only allowed in industrial areas. The township did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Retail gasoline prices drop 2 cents across Texas

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    IRVING, Texas (AP) — Retail gasoline prices across the state continue to drop as millions of Texans prepare to hit the road for the long Labor Day weekend. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump this week is $3.26, down 2 cents from last week. The national average this week is $3.43, down a penny. Drivers in El Paso are paying the most at $3.33 per gallon while motorists in Beaumont are paying the least at $3.20. AAA says more than 2.5 million Texans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend. About 2.1 million will travel by automobile. AAA says gas prices are trending downward because of stable global supplies that are not being affected by tensions in Syria,

  • Oklahoma landowners sue over wind farm plan

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Seven central Oklahoma landowners filed a federal lawsuit against several companies planning wind farms, expressing concern for the health and safety of local residents. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Oklahoma City by the Oklahoma Wind Action Association names several companies associated with Apex Clean Energy Inc. The Virginia-based company and its partners plan to construct a 300-megawatt project in northern Canadian County and southern Kingfisher County. Terra Walker, an Okarche landowner involved in the lawsuit, said studies show people within three miles of a wind farm can suffer from health effects. She said the wind farm plans include 58 turbines within three miles of her home.

  • Binghamton U builds $70M energy research hub

    Updated: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — A $70 million research hub for the development of energy-efficient technologies is under construction at Binghamton University. Ground was broken Wednesday on the university's 114,000-square-foot Smart Energy Research and Development Facility, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs. The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports (http://press.sn/1vSuhiQ ) that the building will house the school's physics and chemistry departments. Researchers at the facility will study solar power, fuel cells and other energy-related issues. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2017.