WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting the stage for upcoming restrictions on coal-fired power plants, the Obama administration is making a concerted effort to cast its energy policy as an economic success that is creating jobs, securing the nation against international upheavals and shifting energy use to cleaner sources.
The latest details to emerge from President Obama's impending executive action on climate change are dramatic. According to a report in the New York Times, a new regulation proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency will cut coal plant emissions by up to 20 percent, and will allow states to use cap-and-trade regulations to meet that national limit. According to the Wall Street Journal, the EPA will finalize the rule by mid-2015, and states will be expected to come up with a plan to implement the rule by the next year. People familiar with the rule say that it will set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants, but that it will allow each state to come up with its own plan to cut emissions based on a menu of options that include adding wind and solar power, energy-efficiency technology and creating or joining state cap-and-trade programs.
By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to tap the state's $30 million a year oil spill fund to tackle any oil train derailments, as growing output in landlocked states leads to increased crude delivery to coastal refineries. The bill dovetails with Governor Jerry Brown's January budget proposals calling for an additional $6.7 million for the oil spill fund and 38 new jobs to enhance the state's ability to prepare and respond to spills. "California is seeing a huge shift in the way we import oil, and we need to address the new and unique hazards of crude-by-rail transportation," said California Senate Democrat Fran Pavley, the bill's author. "While we opposed some of the specific provisions of the bill we recognize it is necessary to change the current prevention and response program to reflect the increase role that rail is playing in crude transport," said Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association which represents west coast oil refineries.
By Ernest Scheyder MIDLAND Texas (Reuters) - Shareholders of Chevron Corp , the second-largest U.S. oil company, rejected a proposal on Wednesday to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, both currently held by John Watson. The vote casts further doubt on the long-running campaign by shareholder activists to force large U.S. corporations to separate the positions, which they say would support greater oversight and transparency. Similar proposals have been rejected by shareholders at JPMorgan , Exxon Mobil and other corporations in the past year, further consolidating power among top leaders. While shareholder activists have convinced some companies to separate the roles - with Bank of America Corp perhaps the only major success story - the broader trend indicates the campaign for greater oversight could be slipping.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This summer is likely to see a series of attacks by industry opponents of a U.S. plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants in a bid to stir voter anger ahead of elections in November, when voters in states such as Kentucky and West Virginia may determine whether Democrats keep control of the Senate. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new rules to crack down on power plant emissions, part of President Barack Obama's efforts to combat global climate change. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will release a report Wednesday analyzing the effect the yet-to-be-announced regulations will have on the economy. "We fully expect that whatever comes out will be overly stringent, and will be something that is not good for American consumers or businesses," said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
A group of mothers, scientists and environmentalists met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulators on Tuesday over concerns that residues of Roundup, the world's most popular herbicide, had been found in breast milk. The meeting near Washington D.C., followed a five-day phone call blitz of EPA offices by a group called "Moms Across America" demanding that the EPA pay attention to their demands for a recall of Roundup. And now they've found it in breast milk," said Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America. We want this toxic treadmill of chemical cocktails in our food to stop." Roundup is an herbicide developed and sold by Monsanto Co. since the 1970s, and used in agriculture and home lawns and gardens.
One senior European diplomat went so far as to say the results reflected a malaise far more serious than the economic crisis that had rocked the eurozone and led to unpopular austerity measures, fuelling resentment against Brussels. "We have lost the sense of the utility of Europe," the source said. "What Europe needs is less of petty regulation," said Klaus-Dieter Sohn, an expert at the Centre for European Policy think-tank based in the German city of Freiburg. "What we urgently need is to start discussions on what we expect from Europe and the next European Commission," he said, adding that these should cover thorny issues such as energy policy, the free circulation of goods and people and the unemployment spiral.