House Energy and Commerce Committee
Policy   Policy

GOP counters EPA carbon rule public meetings

Congress exits Washington for its annual August recess at the end of the week, but not before House Republicans grill federal electricity regulators about the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

They will do that at a hearing on Tuesday as part of a GOP pre-recess push to highlight their opposition to the plan, one that will come the same day EPA holds three of four regional public comment meetings on the proposal.

Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America's unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution.

This fossil fuel trade threatens to undermine President Barack Obama's strategy for reducing the gases blamed for climate change and reveals a little-discussed side effect of countries acting alone on a global problem. The contribution of this exported pollution to global warming is not something the administration wants to measure, or even talk about.

Oil

Survey: US gasoline prices fall to $3.58

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — A national survey finds the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has plummeted 9 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $3.58.

That's the largest drop this year.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday the decrease came despite a rise in crude-oil prices.

Oil

Tanker catches fire amid clashes in Libyan capital

CAIRO (AP) — The Libyan government is appealing for "international help" after several oil tankers caught fire amid clashes over the country's international airport in the capital, Tripoli.

In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the interim government says the fighting between rival militias caused the huge blaze, which could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster."

Libyan TV stations are calling on residents to evacuate areas near the airport. Social networking sites posted images of billowing black smoke over Tripoli skyline.

California governor kicks off Mexico trade mission

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — California's governor travels to Mexico for three days starting Monday and will discuss immigration in separate meetings with President Enrique Pena Nieto and Central American diplomatic and religious leaders.

Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Sunday that he will meet privately with Nieto on Monday about topics including immigration. It comes amid a trade mission aimed at increasing direct investments in the most populous U.S. state, promoting university exchanges and forming environmental partnerships to combat climate change. Mexico is California's largest export market.

California can't say if it's meeting drought goal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sprinklers outside the California's state Capitol are off and the lawn is withering, the lemon- and cucumber-infused "water stations" at the state pension building are gone, and prison inmates are taking shorter showers while campers at some popular parks can't take them at all.

In ways big and small, the state government is conserving water to try to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's request that everyone — from residents to businesses to state agencies — reduce their use by 20 percent.

Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (AP) — The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.

So far, it's not working.

Oil

Britain reopens way for fracking

LONDON (AP) — The British government has reopened the way for energy firms to explore for shale gas, three years after seismic tremors led to the suspension of fracking.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock says shale gas has the potential to improve energy security but stresses national parks will be protected.

Oil

Russia ordered to pay $50B over Yukos

LONDON (AP) — The former majority shareholder in Yukos Oil Company says it has won in excess of $50 billion in a court ruling against Russia.

One of the largest arbitration cases ever, the claim was filed by a subsidiary for GML Ltd., formerly Group Menetap Ltd., a financial holding company that was once the biggest shareholder in Yukos.

It sought $103.5 billion from Russia as compensation for the expropriation of Yukos.

India finalizes deal to export power to Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — India and Nepal are finalizing an agreement to provide the energy-starved Himalayan nation with electricity, India's foreign minister said at the end of a three-day official visit Sunday.

Nepal's communist insurgency, which lasted until 2006, and ensuing political instability have hampered the construction of new power plants, and Nepal could not afford to map out an energy strategy on its own.

Elkins: EPA should weigh rules to curb local natural gas leaks

The Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary program to reduce leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane from natural gas systems has had limited success in cutting emissions from aging local distribution systems, and officials should consider direct regulation, its internal watchdog reported Friday.

EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. said in the report that the Natural Gas STAR program has been held back by factors at the distribution stage, including market disincentives for companies to fix leaks that are costing consumers an estimated $192 million annually.

The problems have the potential to undercut President Barack Obama's climate action plan, which seeks to curb methane as well as carbon dioxide.

US plans wide seismic testing of sea floor

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The federal government is planning to use sound blasting to conduct research on the ocean floor along most of the East Coast, using technology similar to that which spawned a court battle between environmentalists and researchers in New Jersey this summer.

The U.S. Geological Survey plans this summer and next to map the outer limits of the continental shelf, and also study underwater landslides that would help predict where and when tsunamis might occur. But environmentalists say it could cause the same type of marine life damage they fought unsuccessfully to prevent this month off the coast of New Jersey.

Oil

Oil rises just above $102 a barrel

The price of oil traded around $102 a barrel on Friday, nearly unchanged, as worries over supplies and geopolitical tensions eased.

Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose 2 cents to $102.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract had dropped $1.05 to close at $102.07.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.32 to $108.39 on the ICE Futures exchange in London Friday.

Oil

US rig count up 12 to 1,883

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose 12 this week to 1,883.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,562 rigs were exploring for oil and 318 for gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.

House Ethics panel investigating Whitfield, Rush

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Friday that it is looking into potential ethics violations by two congressmen, Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.

The bipartisan panel acknowledged the separate inquiries in terse statements that said nothing about why the lawmakers were being examined. The committee said it will announce its actions on both investigations by Nov. 10.

Obama to attend UN climate summit in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will attend a United Nations summit on climate change in September.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited heads of state and other leaders to the Sept. 23 summit in New York. The U.N. says the goal is to spur governments, industry and civil groups to make new commitments to addressing climate change.

Welcome to the new EnergyGuardian!

We've launched a new look and a new Morning Briefing that provides a capsule view of the major climate and energy stories of the day.

Interested in a quick digest of top energy and climate headlines? EnergyGuardian Morning Briefing is for you. It's free and is delivered to your email inbox every working morning. To subscribe, email us -- and be sure to give us your name and email address!

If you are interested in a more complete report on energy and climate news, this is a great time to get to know EnergyGuardian. The EPA is at the forefront of the political campaign, green energy projects are in the news all the time, and energy independence -- and the impact of energy prices on consumers, business and the economy -- is still a pressing national concern. We cover the top stories in energy and climate policy and regulation for members of the energy industry, policymakers, regulators and advocacy groups. Our goal is to provide balanced, unbiased, accurate and timely reporting that will help you know what's going on and understand the context for new developments.

If you you'd like to read more about EnergyGuardian, click on http://www.energyguardian.net/subscribe-energyguardian.