Oil   Policy

Arctic lease approval opens path for Shell, irking greens

After legal challenges and revisions to its environmental impact statement, the Interior Department affirmed a 2008 lease sale off the coast of Alaska, providing an exploration opening for Royal Dutch Shell. 

Environmental groups quickly condemned the decision, saying Interior was more interested in playing to Shell’s "timetable" rather than in protecting fragile Arctic ecosystems.

The backlash represents the latest instance where Interior has come in for criticism for its Arctic energy policy, where it often finds itself under fire from both industry and environmental groups as it aims to strike a balance between development and conservation.

Cliven Bundy, supporters rally before Nevada lawmakers

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who garnered national attention a year ago when he and armed supporters engaged in a showdown with federal authorities, came to Carson City Tuesday with scores of allies to rally behind a bill seeking to reclaim land from the federal government.

A bus from Phoenix and another from Las Vegas brought more than 100 people, according to Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy, and others came on their own to fill several legislative hearing rooms. Many wore shirts and carried signs that read "the land belongs to the people."

Judge: Navy's Hawaii, California training plan inadequate

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday said the National Marine Fisheries Service violated environmental laws when it approved the Navy's plans for training in waters off Hawaii and Southern California.

The agency failed to support its finding that the training would have a "negligible impact" on marine life, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway wrote in her ruling.


Oil heir Andrew Getty found dead at Hollywood Hills home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Getty, the 47-year-old grandson of the late oil billionaire J. Paul Getty and one of the heirs to the fortune of one of the wealthiest and best-known families in American history, was found dead Tuesday in his Hollywood Hills home, police and family members said.


Oil drop continues as dollar, inventories gain

Oil was falling for a fourth consecutive trading day as the dollar climbed and fresh data reflected a continuing build in U.S. crude inventories, which were already at record levels.

A report from the American Petroleum Institute showed an increase of 5.2 million barrels in the week ending March 27, said Myrto Sokou, senior analyst at Sucden Financial in London, adding that the numbers raised fresh concerns about whether U.S. demand might be shrinking.

Minnesota professor accused of smuggling elephant ivory

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A St. Cloud State University philosophy professor was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to smuggle rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory out of the United States and into China.

Yiwei Zheng, who appeared in U.S. District Court Tuesday, faces a federal indictment accusing him of conspiracy, smuggling and making a false statement to agents. Zheng also is charged with violating the federal Lacey Act, which bans trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold.


Albanian authorities evacuate village after oil well blast

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian authorities are evacuating residents of a village following an explosion at a Canadian-owned oil well. No injuries were reported.

A statement from the Calgary-based Bankers Petroleum Ltd. said an "uncontrolled leak of natural gas occurred during drilling operation" Wednesday in Marinze, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital Tirana.

UN photo/Kim Haughton

McConnell tells other nations Obama can't fulfill emissions reduction pledge

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the international community Tuesday to "proceed with caution" in negotiating a climate deal with the United States because the country could not make good on its commitment to reduce emissions by more than 25 percent over the next decade.

McConnell's statement came just hours after the U.S. government submitted its pledge to the United Nations ahead of the December climate talks in Paris. The Obama administration promised to cut carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, relative to 2005 levels. 


Agency affirms revised review of Chukchi Sea petroleum lease

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Department of Interior says it has affirmed a corrected environmental analysis for a 7-year-old petroleum lease in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast.

The agency's expected decision Tuesday confirms that it corrected flaws surrounding the 2008 lease sale. That opens the door for the department to review a 2015 petroleum exploration plan by Royal Dutch Shell PLC in Chukchi waters.

ND to join Wyoming lawsuit against federal fracking rules

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota, whose oil riches have been unlocked by the use of hydraulic fracturing, said Tuesday it will join Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging a new federal rule requiring more information about the process when it's used on U.S. government lands.

The Obama administration announced in March that it will require companies that drill on federal lands to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule, under consideration for about four years, takes effect in June.


Oil down, stocks in late slide

The stock market closed out the first three months of the year Tuesday on a down note, erasing much of the gains from the prior day's big rally.

Oil fell as talks between the U.S. and Iran progressed somewhat, which could lead to more crude on the global market in the coming months.


Judge: Jury can decide Alabama's Gulf-oil-spill claims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A judge says Alabama's Gulf oil-spill-damage claims under the federal Oil Pollution Act can be heard by a jury.

BP had moved to block a jury trial for the state, saying that neither the Oil Pollution Act nor admiralty law provides the right to a trial by jury.


Death toll rises to 14 in Mexico gas tanker explosion

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The death toll from the explosion of a crashed gasoline tanker truck in southern Mexico rose to 14 on Tuesday.

The Tabasco state prosecutor's office said through its official Twitter account that two more people had died.

Greece disagrees with sanctions against Russia, Tsipras says

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's new government disagrees with sanctions against Russia, and wants to boost trade ties with the country, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said before a visit to Moscow next week.

Speaking in an interview with Russia's Tass news agency published Tuesday, Tsipras said he considers sanctions to be a "road to nowhere" and that the reciprocal embargo Russia has imposed on food from the European Union has "seriously damaged" his country's economy.

EPA signals intent to regulate three chemicals under toxins law

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking a first step toward regulating three chemicals that are used in such common products as dry cleaning, degreaser and paint removers.

The steps taken Monday could put the agency on a path toward regulating chemicals under Section 6 under the Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time since 1990.

The agency said it is considering regulations for trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical used for metal degreasing, dry cleaning and some consumer products as well as n-methylpyrrolidon (NMP) and methylene chloride, used in some paint and coating removers.

US to pledge up to 28 percent emission cut in global treaty

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will pledge Tuesday to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, according to individuals briefed on the White House's plans.

The Obama administration's contribution to the treaty, which world leaders expect to finalize in December, codifies a commitment President Barack Obama first made late last year in Beijing, when he announced a joint U.S.-China climate deal that raised global hopes that developed and developing nations can come together to fight climate change.

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