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Policy   Coal

EIA: Carbon rules will work, but coal will suffer

The Clean Power Plan would drive dramatic carbon reductions and renewable energy growth at the expense of a steep acceleration in the retirement of coal-fired plants and a temporary spike in electricity prices, the federal government's energy statistics agency projected Friday.

The Energy Information Administration, in its Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan, predicted that the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed carbon reduction rules would more than double coal-fired plant retirements over the agency's baseline projections. Although the forecast covered a 25-year period, it said most of the coal retirements would likely occur over the next five years.

Memorial Day Holiday EnergyGuardian Publishing Schedule

The federal government is closed on Monday for Memorial Day, and EnergyGuardian will not publish that day.

Of course, we'll cover any breaking news with alerts, and then resume normal publishing on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

We hope you have a relaxing and safe holiday!

California OKs offer of voluntary water cuts by farmers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California regulators on Friday accepted a historic offer by farmers to make a 25 percent voluntary water cut to avoid deeper mandatory losses during the drought.

Officials with the state Water Resources Control Board made the announcement involving farmers in the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers who hold some of California's strongest water rights.

Oil

Coast Guard: Fire on Gulf oil platform; 28 workers evacuated

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fire broke out Friday morning on an oil platform off Louisiana's coast, forcing the evacuation of 28 workers, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

No injuries were reported. Workers were evacuated by an offshore supply vessel that reported the fire at 2:50 a.m. Friday in state waters near Breton Island off Louisiana's southeastern coast, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

Oil

Federal data: As oil production soars, so do pipeline leaks

The oil pipeline leak that fouled a stretch of California coastline this week reflects a troubling trend in the nation's infrastructure: As U.S. oil production has soared, so has the number of pipeline accidents.

Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil and petroleum pipelines has shot up by almost 60 percent, roughly matching the rise in U.S. crude oil production, according an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

Oil

Regulators order pipeline testing, other steps after spill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The company responsible for a pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of oil along the California coast was ordered to take a series of steps before it can restart the line, federal regulators said Friday.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration required Plains All American Pipeline to remove the damaged section of pipe, test it and empty the remainder of the line.

Correction to EnergyGuardian natural gas story

In our story about Energy Information Administration projections of natural gas imports and exports, published this morning, EnergyGuardian's headline incorrectly stated that net exports were at their lowest levels since 1987. It should have read "Net natural gas imports lowest since '87."

A corrected version of the story can be viewed here.

Oil

US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 3 to 885

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three this week to 885.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 659 rigs were seeking oil and 222 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,857 rigs were active.

Obama signs bill giving Congress a say on Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed legislation that gives Congress the power to review and potentially reject a nuclear deal with Iran.

The agreement with Iran on a nuclear framework is a central element of Obama's foreign policy. He signed the measure without ceremony Friday at the White House.

Vanguard Natural Resources to acquire Eagle Rock Energy

HOUSTON (AP) — Vanguard Natural Resources LLC will acquire Eagle Rock Energy Partners LP in a $474 million deal.

The agreement was announced Thursday by the Houston-based companies.

Oil

US consumer prices ticking up as Fed weighs first rate hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — Core consumer prices outside of food and energy posted the biggest increase in April in more than a year, suggesting that an improving U.S. economy is finally starting to lift prices. That could prompt the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates later this year.

Overall consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent for the third straight climb, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall gains were held back by a 1.3 percent drop in energy costs.

Energy Information Administration

Net natural gas imports lowest since '87, EIA says

Expanding domestic production and lower prices last year helped push net U.S. imports of natural gas to their lowest levels since 1987, the federal government’s energy statistics agency said in a new analysis. 

In a report posted Thursday, the Energy Information Administration said net imports of dry natural gas were 1.171 billion cubic feet in 2014, down 9 percent from the previous year. A leading natural gas industry group said that shrinking trade gap could soon close completely as new cross-border pipelines expand and liquefied natural gas exports increase.

Obama's Senate allies hope to endorse his trade bill Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of President Barack Obama's trade agenda hope to fend off hostile Senate amendments Friday and send a major trade bill to the House, where another fierce debate awaits.

Senators also plan to address the government's soon-to-expire authority to collect bulk data on Americans' phone records. Many senators will press leaders and colleagues to wrap things up in time to start the weeklong Memorial Day recess on Saturday.

Sen. Cantwell turns Senate divisions on trade to advantage

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's trade bill faced a crucial test vote in the Senate, and Washington state Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell saw an opportunity.

In a tense drama that unfolded in real time on the Senate floor Thursday, Cantwell withheld her vote to move forward on the trade legislation until she received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the Senate would vote on renewing the Export-Import Bank.

Drought-ridden California faces decision on new water cuts

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers along the river delta at the heart of California agriculture expected to get an answer Friday on their surprise offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks as California responds to the worsening drought.

Regulators with the state Water Resources Control Board promised a decision on the proposal by a group of farmers along the delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers — a rare concession by holders of some of California's strongest water rights.

Oil

Finding California oil spill's cause could take months

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The operator of a broken oil pipeline that fouled a California shoreline says it could be weeks or even months before investigators are able to determine what caused the break and subsequent spill.

Crews have yet to excavate the broken piece of pipeline, which under the law must be done in the presence of federal regulators and a third party, officials with Plains All American Pipeline LP said at a Thursday night news conference at the Santa Barbara County beach where the spill occurred two days earlier.

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