• New York steps up crude-by-rail spill response, monitoring

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Department of Environmental Conservation says it's stepping up air monitoring at the Port of Albany and enhancing spill response capabilities along rail corridors to reduce health and environmental risks stemming from crude oil transport through the state. The measures announced by DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens on Wednesday have been advocated for several years by environmental groups and community residents along crude oil rail transport routes and near the Port of Albany, which has become a major hub for oil shipments. Martens said the DEC will develop geographic response plans and deploy specialized spill response equipment such as oil-absorbent booms and pumps along rail corridors used t

  • Exxon shareholders to vote on climate change, fracking

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    DALLAS (AP) — Shareholders of big oil companies overwhelmingly rejected several environmental resolutions including proposals to put climate-change experts on their boards and set goals for greenhouse-gas emissions. The votes at meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. shareholders on Wednesday were expected. Some of the ideas had lost badly at previous annual meetings. Lower prices for crude have cut into the oil giants' profits. At the Exxon Mobil meeting in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson said the company is positioned to withstand ups and down in oil prices and give shareholders a good return on their money. Tillerson has said that said that oil prices will remain low over the next two years because of large glob

  • WPX Energy completes $200 million sale of Marcellus Shale assets

    BY ROD WALTON, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Tulsa-based WPX Energy Inc. divested another property by completing the $200 million-plus sale of a package of Marcellus Shale marketing contracts and the release of pipeline transportation capacity to an undisclosed buyer. The sales are part of WPX's long-term plan to focus on core properties and cut debt. The company received more than $200 million in cash on the natural gas purchase and sales agreements and was released from approximately $390 million in future demand payment obligations connected to 135 million British thermal units per day of firm transportation capacity commitment on Williams' Transco Northeast Supply link project. The company's third divestiture of the year was originally announced earlier this month. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • New Mexico regulators delay decision on power plant

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators on Wednesday gave Public Service Co. of New Mexico more time to ink agreements with a mining company, further delaying a decision that will affect the future of a coal-fired power plant that provides electricity to customers around the Southwest. The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 in favor of an order that sets a new timeline for the utility to produce signed agreements. It's possible for the utility to seek an extension until Aug. 1 but if it fails, it would have to file a new plan spelling out how it would fill the void left by closing a portion of the San Juan Generating Station.

  • Activists disrupt Snyder speech to push removal of pipeline

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — As business and political luminaries gather for a conference on Mackinac Island, environmentalists hope to draw attention to a nearby underwater oil pipeline they say should be removed. Some protesters briefly disrupted Gov. Rick Snyder's opening speech at the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference Wednesday. He says he "respects everything they said" but their methods "are another story." Activists are targeting an Enbridge Energy pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac. It was laid in 1953 and environmentalists fear it's wearing out. Advocacy groups rallied in Mackinaw City Tuesday and released a report on the pipeline Wednesday. They say a spill would be disastrous.

  • Texas groups petition feds over alleged coal exemptions

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Environmental groups in Texas want to overturn a state action they say exempted large coal-fired power plants from federal limits on particulates and other pollutants during startup, shutdown and maintenance at 19 power plants. A release from the Environmental Integrity Project on Wednesday says the exemptions made by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality between 2010 and 2013 show a "chronic disregard of federal Clean Air Act standards." TCEQ spokesman Terry Clawson said in an email response that the agency followed the rules and did not relax any federal requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Co. president announces retirement

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric will be looking for a new director as the man who led the company through a deadly 2010 pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area is retiring. Christopher P. Johns has announced plans to retire at the end of the year. In announcing the retirement of Johns in a statement Tuesday, the utility praised his leadership and service. PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Earley said the board of directors is likely to discuss a replacement plan before Johns' last day, December 31. Johns joined PG&E in 1996 as vice president and controller, becoming president of the state's largest utility in August 2009.

  • Drilling cutbacks drag down job growth in oil patch

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hammered by cheaper oil, drilling firms have laid off workers and dragged job growth lower in states from Texas to North Dakota. In Oklahoma, mining and logging jobs, which mostly include oil and gas drilling, fell for the fifth straight month in April. Texas lost 8,300 jobs in the sector, the most in six years, while Wyoming lost jobs in the industry for the fifth straight month. The figures, from a Labor Department report on state unemployment rates released Wednesday, show how the slowdown in the nation's energy sector is weighing on the economy. Oil prices plunged from about $110 a barrel last June to below $50 a barrel in January. They have since recovered a bit, to just below $58 Wednesday.

  • Missouri governor delays state energy plan deadline

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has pushed back the deadline to craft a comprehensive statewide energy plan by a few months, easing the concerns of one Republican lawmaker who said the Legislature needed to have more input. "He recognizes now that we have to have input, that we're an important voice that needs to be heard for a good plan," Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Tuscumbia, said Tuesday. Miller introduced a measure this session that would have required any state energy plan to gain legislative approval before it could be implemented. Miller said he won't be pushing that measure next year after Nixon on Friday extended the deadline for the plan from May 31 to October 15.

  • Aubrey McClendon: Fracking's Cowboy Rides Again

    Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    America's wildest wildcatter, Aubrey McClendon, found new life -- and new billions -- after his spectacular plunge from the top of the oil game. Trouble has already come calling. In early 2013, during his last days as CEO of Chesapeake Energy CHK -0.4% , Aubrey McClendon was one busy guy. Chesapeake’s board gave him the boot following a litany of accusations about his rampant conflicts of interest, lavish perks, reckless bets and failure to disclose that he had personally borrowed around $1 billion, some from Chesapeake’s own lenders. But before leaving the building, McClendon allegedly gave himself a parting gift. According to a lawsuit filed by Chesapeake in February, he had his assistant print out highly sensitive maps of oil and gas prospects in Ohio’s natural-gas-rich Utica shale formations, and he e-mailed more proprietary and valuable information to his private account. McClendon set up a new operation–American Energy Partners–in offices up the street from Chesapeake’s Oklahoma City campus. He found a deep-pocketed partner in John Raymond, CEO of $15.5 billion Houston private equity outfit Energy & Minerals Group (and son of legendary Exxon CEO Lee Raymond). McClendon quickly got to work: By the time Chesapeake filed its lawsuit alleging theft of secrets, American Energy’s Utica affiliate had already bought up more than $1.5 billion of acreage.

  • Politico: Inside the war on coal

    Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It’s real and it’s relentless. Over the past five years, it has killed a coal-fired power plant every 10 days. It has quietly transformed the U.S. electric grid and the global climate debate. The industry and its supporters use “war on coal” as shorthand for a ferocious assault by a hostile White House, but the real war on coal is not primarily an Obama war, or even a Washington war. It’s a guerrilla war. The front lines are not at the Environmental Protection Agency or the Supreme Court. If you want to see how the fossil fuel that once powered most of the country is being battered by enemy forces, you have to watch state and local hearings where utility commissions and other obscure governing bodies debate individual coal plants. You probably won’t find much drama. You’ll definitely find lawyers from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, the boots on the ground in the war on coal.

  • Editorials from around New York

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New York's newspapers: The Daily Gazette of Schenectady on the New York state Senate passing bill to allow dogs at restaurants with outside seating. May 23 "Love me, love my dog." That seems to be the rationale behind a bill that would give restaurateurs the option of allowing patrons who dine al fresco to be accompanied at their patio tables by dogs. The bill, which passed the state Senate with nary a dissent, must be a testament to the power of animal rights activists, because it seems like a mutt to us, at least the kind of bill that would raise an eyebrow or two. Maybe it wouldn't be a problem for some dogs, or some non-dog-owning restaurant

  • Video exposes division among Iran officials in nuclear talks

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Amid a new round of Iran nuclear talks, Iranians have been captivated this week by a leaked video showing a vehement argument between a hard-line lawmaker and the country's foreign minister. Differing statements from Iranian officials over what's acceptable for Tehran at the talks with six world powers have accompanied the negotiations since the start of international attempts nearly a decade ago to reach a diplomatic solution over Iran's contested nuclear program. Hard-liners fear that negotiators are betraying Iran's interests by being too conciliatory, while moderates chastise their opponents for jeopardizing the talks with unrealistic demands.

  • US stocks open modestly higher in quiet trading

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose modestly in early trading Wednesday, recovering some of the steep losses the market had the day before. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,092 as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,111 and the Nasdaq composite added 22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,053. MERGER APPROVAL: Tobacco companies Lorillard and Reynolds American rose after the Federal Trade Commission gave its tacit approval to the companies' $27.4 billion merger. Lorillard, maker of Newport cigarettes, was up 67 cents, or 1 percent, to $72.78. Reynolds American, which makes Camel brand cigarettes, was up $1.39, or 2 percent, t

  • Japan nuclear plant obtains final permit needed to restart

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — A nuclear plant in southern Japan on Wednesday obtained the final permit needed to restart its reactors, paving the way for it to become the first to go back online under new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. All of Japan's more than 40 reactors are currently offline for repairs or safety inspections. The two units at the Sendai nuclear power plant are among 24 reactors seeking to restart, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-business government tries to put as many back online as possible. The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved the Sendai plant's operational safety plans, the last step of a three-part screening process.

  • Westar plans to buy wind power from new plant

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Westar Energy says it plans to buy energy from a new wind farm to be built in Pratt County. The utility company announced Tuesday that it will buy the energy from a 200-megawatt farm built for it by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources. The Ninnescah wind farm is expected to be built late this year or early next year and be operational by late 2016. The company said in a news release that the new wind energy purchase will increase Westar's renewable energy commitment to nearly 1,300 megawatts. The project is expected to create about $300 million in capital investment and about 200 temporary construction jobs.

  • 1st of 3 ND hearings on Dakota Access Pipeline set in Mandan

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Public Service Commission this week is holding the first of three public hearings on a proposed $3.8 billion oil pipeline that would stretch from western North Dakota to Illinois. The proposed 1,134-mile Dakota Access Pipeline would move oil from the Bakken formation to a terminal in Patoka, Illinois, for distribution to refineries in eastern states. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants it operating by the end of 2016. North Dakota's Pipeline Authority has said it would be the largest-capacity pipeline for the state's crude to date. The PSC is holding a public hearing Thursday at the Baymont Inn in Mandan.

  • China coal production falls in first 4 months of year

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    BEIJING (AP) — Coal production in China, the world's biggest coal-consuming nation, fell by 6 percent in the first four months of this year as the economy slows and the government makes a concerted push to reduce carbon emissions. The National Development and Reform Commission said Tuesday that Chinese imports of coal also fell, plummeting 38 percent. China uses roughly half of all of the world's coal production for power generation, heating and industry. That's made China the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. President Xi Jinping has pledged to stop the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and clean up the country's polluted air. He's also promised to double the percentage of renewabl

  • Regulators talking about projects at Oconee nuclear plant

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    SENECA, S.C. (AP) — Federal regulators have scheduled a meeting to talk about major projects going on at the Oconee nuclear plant in South Carolina. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding a public meeting at the Oconee Office Complex in Seneca on Wednesday Officials say they'll meet in the morning to discuss topics including pending plant improvements designed to prevent or mitigate the effects of floods and tornadoes. They will also talk about changes required after the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan and the status of a new service water system designed to cool some equipment in the plant. NRC officials will be on hand to answer questions.

  • Army post near Baltimore breaking ground for new power plant

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    EDGEWOOD, Md. (AP) — The Army is breaking ground for a more efficient power plant at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground near Baltimore. Maryland Department of the Environmental Secretary Benjamin Grumbles is speaking at the event Wednesday. Officials say the plant will produce both steam and electricity to support missions including chemical and biological defense research. It will replace the capabilities of a waste-to-energy incinerator owned by Harford County that is scheduled for decommissioning in March. The Army currently buys steam from Harford County and electricity from the grid. The new, gas-fired plant will produce more steam than the incinerator and also generate about half of the Edgewood Area's




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