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Group offers plan to meet new EPA power plant emission rules

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:16
By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Swapping power generated from the dirtiest coal plants with that from under-used natural gas plants would help U.S. states meet new regulations for greenhouse gas emissions, according to a plan released by an environmental group on Thursday. The proposal by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is the latest to be presented as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prepares new emissions standards for existing power plants, due for release on June 1. President Barack Obama last June directed the EPA to propose the national standards to lower carbon emissions that states could meet through their own tailored plans.

Big utilities shunned green energy at their peril: Greenpeace

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:04
BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's 10 biggest utilities, produce more than half of Europe's power, but only a tiny percentage is from the new green energy sources that could revive their profits, a report from campaign group Greenpeace said on Thursday. Traditionally profitable utility companies have been hurt by an EU-wide shift towards renewable power that has created pro-sumers - or consumers with their own sources, such as solar panels, which enable them to sell back power to the grid. While the uptake in renewables has been spurred by EU policy and subsidies, the top 10 utilities largely stuck to old business models for which they are now paying the price, Greenpeace's report said. It calculates the big 10 generated 58 percent of power within Europe, but only 4 percent of this was from non-hydro renewable sources, such as solar and wind, in 2012.

Exxon Mobil CEO welcomes fracking, but not water tower in his backyard

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 16:37

By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - It's not every day that the chief executive of the largest U.S. energy company joins a lawsuit opposing a new water tower planned in his neighborhood that could support fracking. Officials at Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday that CEO Rex Tillerson was opposed to the plan not because of fracking but because the tower would be much taller than what the town had originally proposed. Tillerson, former Republican heavyweight Dick Armey and other residents of a ranch-filled suburb of Bartonville north of Dallas filed suit in 2012 seeking to block construction of the 160-foot-tall (49-meter-tall) water tower, arguing it would be an eyesore. The suit, filed in Denton County District Court, also noted that the tower could encourage the town of Bartonville to sell "water to oil and gas explorers for fracking shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks... creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards." "Mr. Tillerson does not object to the tower for its potential use for water and gas operations for fracking," said Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil.

Angola says will reach 2 mbpd oil output with new projects

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 09:52
Angola can reach its production goal of 2 million barrels of oil per day in 2015 despite a drop in output last year, the chief executive of state oil firm Sonangol said on Tuesday. Francisco Lemos Jose Maria told a news conference that output in Angola, Africa's second largest oil producer, dropped 1.1 percent in 2013 due to technical problems at blocks run by France's Total , BP , and U.S. firms Chevron and Exxon Mobil. He added, however, that two new projects - Total's CLOV in block 17 and ENI's West Hub in block 15/06 - are due to come on line this year and will help Angola reach its goal.

Ghana's Tema oil refinery close to deal with PetroSaudi

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 06:47
Ghana's sole refinery, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), is close to signing a joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi International and a deal is expected soon, Ghanaian President John Mahama said on Tuesday. "A joint venture agreement between TOR and PetroSaudi is being finalised to revamp the operations of our refinery. This will reduce the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on importing finished products," Mahama said in his state of the union address to parliament without giving details. Ghana is one of Africa's newest crude exporters after starting production from its offshore Jubilee field in late 2010.

Did EPA overstep in tackling global warming? Supreme Court sharply split

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 18:20
Under the US system of government, federal agencies are afforded a wide discretion to shape policies that will give force to statutes passed by Congress. On Monday, the US Supreme Court took up a case examining whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its regulatory power when it sought to expand the use of the Clean Air Act to regulate the release of greenhouse gases that scientists say are causing global warming. It appears that Justice Anthony Kennedy may hold the decisive vote in the case. At one point Justice Kennedy told US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who is defending the EPA’s approach, that he couldn’t find in the briefs “a single precedent that strongly supports your position.”

EPA administrator to visit North Dakota on Friday

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 15:31
The Environmental Protection Agency's administrator will visit North Dakota to get a firsthand look at the state's booming energy industry and environmental issues. Gina McCarthy said Monday she would ...

RI gas prices up this week to $3.52 a gallon

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 13:34
Gasoline prices in Rhode Island have increased by 4 cents a gallon in the past week. The weekly survey by AAA Southern New England released Monday finds the average price for a gallon of self-serve regular ...

Massachusetts gas prices up 2 cents per gallon

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 13:32
The price of a gallon of gasoline in Massachusetts has ticked up another 2 cents since last week. AAA Southern New England reports Monday that self-serve, regular is now selling for an average of $3.46 ...

Climate case at Supreme Court looks at EPA's power

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 11:35

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears divided over an Obama administration program aimed at limiting power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

Gas prices in NH rise 5 cents over past week

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 09:36
The average price of a gallon of gas rose 5 cents in the past week in New Hampshire, to $3.42 per gallon. That's according to the gasoline price website, which surveyed 875 gas stations in ...

Ohio gas prices up again to start week

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 09:30
Prices at the gas pump in Ohio are up again. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.53 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's ...

Supreme Court takes up challenge to Obama and the EPA

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 19:18
For the second time in two months, the US Supreme Court is taking up a case examining whether the Obama administration by-passed Congress in an effort to unilaterally advance its political and policy objectives. At issue in Monday’s oral argument is whether the Environmental Protection Agency usurped legislative power reserved to Congress when EPA officials wrote broad new rules regulating the emission of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Last month, the high court heard argument in a case testing whether President Obama acted properly when he ignored pro forma sessions of the Senate, declared Congress to be in recess, and then used his recess appointment power to unilaterally appoint three members to the National Labor Relations Board despite Senate objections to his nominees. President Obama and his administration have also been criticized for postponing statutory requirements and deadlines in the healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act, and in exercising “prosecutorial discretion” to selectively enforce US immigration laws.

High court climate case looks at EPA's power

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 12:15

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration's sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

EPA wood-stove proposal prompt rural backlash

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 10:12

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal proposal to clean up the smoke from wood-burning stoves has sparked a backlash from some rural residents, lawmakers and manufacturers.

Sun shines on New York solar energy boom

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 23:49

On a rooftop in the Bronx far from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, 4,760 panels soak up the winter rays. Welcome to the solar power boom in New York state. Robert Kline, director of commercial sales for the Ross Solar Group that installed the panels, is delighted. The 1.6-megawatt installation on the Jetro Cash and Carry has been proudly singled out by New York governor Andrew Cuomo as a prime example of a drive to haul the state into a new dawn.

Iraq starts building new oil refinery

Sat, 02/22/2014 - 08:16
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has held a ceremony marking the start of construction of a large oil refinery aimed at meeting increasing demand for refined products.

Natural gas prices up 18 percent this week

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 16:14
Concerns about another cold front enveloping the country next week pushed natural gas prices higher Friday, helping the commodity finish its biggest week in two years. March natural gas rose seven cents ...

EPA removing tons of PCB-laden soil from NY site

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 13:10
Federal officials said they removed 335,000 tons of PCBs, contaminated soil and other material at the ongoing Superfund cleanup of a shuttered General Motors factory, far more waste than expected. The ...

EPA seeks tougher safety standards for farmworkers

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:54
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed strengthening 20-year-old standards aimed at protecting farmworkers from toxic pesticides.