Siemens

Clean energy jobs return, but at reduced pace

The number of new clean energy and transportation jobs announced by developers more than doubled in the second quarter compared to first quarter of this year, to 12,500, the business group Environmental Entrepreneurs reported.

The sector rebounded after a dip in the first quarter, when about 5,600 jobs were added nationally. Still, the number for the second quarter was only about a third of the 38,600 jobs announced in the same period last year, when the renewable energy sector was surging.

Labor Day publishing schedule for EnergyGuardian

Due to the Federal holiday, there will be no newsletter on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1.

Of course, we'll cover any breaking news with alerts, and then resume normal publishing, with morning and evening newsletters, on Tuesday morning, Sept. 2.

Oil

Shell files revised Arctic offshore drilling plan

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.

Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

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.

Feds say balance struck in California logging plan, greens disagree

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials say they tried to balance competing interests in a plan that will allow loggers to remove trees killed in a massive Central California wildfire last year.

Environmentalists, however, have called it a travesty.

The highly awaited decision released Wednesday will allow logging on 52 square miles of forests blackened in the Rim Fire, which burned 400 square miles of the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park backcountry and private timber land.

Tesla, Chinese firm plan 400 charging stations

BEIJING (AP) — Tesla Motors Co. and a state-owned Chinese phone carrier announced plans Friday to build 400 charging stations for electric cars in a new bid to promote popular adoption of the technology in China.

Plans call for China Unicom Ltd. to provide space for construction and basic services in 120 cities while Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, operates the stations. The two companies also will build 20 "supercharger stations" in 20 cities to offer high-speed charging.

Russian fund with US advisers eludes sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama warns of stepped-up economic punishments against Russia for its military incursions inside Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have so far avoided one prominent financial institution: the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has partnered with brand-name American companies and whose advisers include top U.S. and European private equity executives.

Despite its ties to Russian state businesses and officials, the Russian Direct Investment Fund has managed to operate unaffected by the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's military actions in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government said Russian troops invaded southeastern Ukraine on Thursday with two columns of tanks and military vehicles.

US sanctions people aiding Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Friday sanctioned more than 25 businesses, banks and individuals suspected of working to expand Iran's nuclear program, supporting terrorism and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions.

The action is part of the Obama administration's effort to show it will enforce existing sanctions even as it works with other world powers to negotiate a deal that will curtail Iran's nuclear program.

Obama cautions against using force to solve crises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, President Barack Obama is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict.

While that stance is in keeping with Obama's long-standing aversion to military entanglements, it comes at a time when the effectiveness of his preferred options is being challenged and there are indications that some in the administration are ready to take more robust actions.

In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Obama has relied largely on coordinated U.S. and European Union sanctions to try to shift Russian President Vladimir Putin's calculus. While the White House can claim credit for inflicting some pain on Russia's economy, Putin appears to be only getting more aggressive, with Ukrainian officials accusing Russia of sending two military columns across the border Thursday.

Manatees may soon lose endangered species status

MIAMI (AP) — As they do whenever they visit Florida, Greg Groff and his young daughter stopped by the manatee pool at Miami Seaquarium, where the speed bump-shaped marine mammals placidly swim in circles.

They noted the pink scars and disfigured tail on one manatee, damage from a boat propeller that left it unable to survive in the wild.

Florida's manatees need even more stringent protections than their listing on the federal endangered species list, Groff said, adding that boaters should go elsewhere if they don't like speed limits in waters where manatees swim.

Oil

Argentina, Malaysia in deal to develop oil field

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — State-run Argentine oil company YPF SA said Thursday it has reached a deal with Malaysia's Petronas to develop what is believed to be massive deposits of shale oil and gas in the vast Vaca Muerta formation in Patagonia.

YPF said the Malaysian state-owned oil company will provide $475 million of an initial investment totaling $550 million for a pilot phase scheduled to start early next year.

Bipartisan Policy Center photo

Obama nominates Honorable to FERC

President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Colette Honorable to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Honorable would fill the seat left vacant by the departure this month of John Norris, a Democrat, who resigned to take a post with the Agriculture Department. 

Honorable, also a Democrat, has been frequently mentioned as a possible appointee. She chairs the Arkansas Public Service Commission and is president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

 

White House Photo

White House downplays climate deal 'end-run'

The Obama White House on Wednesday tried to distance itself from a report that it will pursue a global climate agreement next year without seeking approval by the Senate, but would not discount it entirely.

The administration found itself scrambling to respond to the report in The New York Times that it favors a non-binding "name and shame" deal at the United Nations that would not need Senate ratification, in recognition of opposition in the chamber to any formal treaty.

Oil

Blast at BP refinery sparks fire, rattles homes

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 "an operational incident" 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.

Feds allow logging after huge California wildfire

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials say they tried to balance competing interests in a plan released Wednesday that allows loggers to remove trees killed in a massive central California wildfire last year, but environmentalists called it a travesty and threaten to sue.

The highly awaited decision will allow logging on 52 square miles of forests blackened in the Rim Fire, which burned 400 square miles of the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park's backcountry and private timber land.

US protects 20 species of coral as threatened

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is protecting 20 types of colorful coral by putting them on the list of threatened species, partly because of climate change.

As with the polar bear, much of the threat to the coral species is because of future expected problems due to global warming, said David Bernhart, an endangered-species official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These coral species are already being hurt by climate change "but not to the point that they are endangered yet," he said.

Climate change is making the oceans warmer, more acidic and helping with coral diseases like bleaching — and those "are the major threats" explaining why the species were put on the threatened list, Bernhart said in a Wednesday conference call.

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