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U.S. settles with Antero over water pollution from fracking

Reuters | Posted on February 14, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement with oil and natural gas company Antero Resources Corp over claims it violated the Clean Water Act at 32 different sites in West Virginia, mostly tied to fracking. Antero agreed to pay a penalty of $3.15 million and provide mitigation for affected sites, estimated to cost $8 million. The violations involved unauthorized disposal of materials into local waterways associated with hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, for natural gas extraction, the Justice Department said. Antero identified half of the sites through its own self-audit.


Florida’s about-face on solar power

Christian Sciene Monitor | Posted on February 14, 2019

Despite being the Sunshine State, Florida has long lagged when it comes to tapping into the abundant rays overhead. But now that is changing as utility companies in the state have begun to recognize solar power as a vital component of a diverse energy future.Florida utilities’ newfound embrace for solar power echoes trends seen across the country, as the renewable energy source has shifted from a fringe indulgence for wealthy environmentalists to becoming a conventional part of power production.“Five years ago it was more of an emerging technology,” says Maggie Clark, senior manager of state affairs for the Southeast region at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “As it’s become a mainstream energy resource,” she says, “there’s an element of comfort with it [for utilities,] as just any other generating asset.”With abundant sunshine, Florida ranks ninth in the United States for solar potential. But as recently as 2015, just one-tenth of a percent of the state’s power came from the sun.


Economic Benefits Of Cap And Trade Will Outweigh The Costs In Oregon

Oregon Public Broadcasting | Posted on February 12, 2019

A new economic report finds Oregon’s proposed cap-and-trade planwould create thousands of jobs and boost household income while creating only modest increases in energy prices. Moreover, the report concludes, the more aggressive interim cap on greenhouse gas emissions proposed for 2035 would create even more economic benefits than a more gradual decline in emissions from 2021 and 2050.An analysis by Berkeley Economic Advising and Research finds capping greenhouse gas emissions as proposed in House Bill 2020would spur widespread adoption of energy-saving technology by the year 2050.That, in turn, will create significant economic growth, said the research company’s director, David Roland-Holst.


North Dakota Senate approves change to wind tax

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on February 12, 2019

The North Dakota Senate voted Thursday to change how wind tax revenue is distributed, sending more future wind revenue to the state general fund rather than counties.Senate Bill 2331 directs one-third of wind tax revenue to the state and two-thirds to counties for wind projects constructed after Dec. 31, 2020.Currently, all of North Dakota’s wind energy tax revenue stays with counties that produce the energy, while the state shares in tax revenue from coal and oil.The goal of the bill is to create a level playing field with other energy-producing facilities, said Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. It doesn’t raise the tax on wind, but redirects where it goes.


Pennsylvania halts permits for natural gas pipelines

Penn Live | Posted on February 12, 2019

Pennsylvania is halting construction permits for natural gas pipelines operated by Texas-based Energy Transfer LP, as the governor on Friday said the company has failed to respect the state’s laws and communities.The state Department of Environmental Protection said Energy Transfer is not fixing problems related to an explosion last year, and piled yet another penalty onto a company project in the state.State agencies already have imposed millions of dollars in fines and several temporary shutdown orders on Energy Transfer projects, while a county prosecutor is demanding documents from the company.


Keystone Pipeline Is Likely Source of Oil Spill, Says TransCanada

Bloomberg | Posted on February 12, 2019

TransCanada Corp. said its Keystone pipeline, which carries Canadian crude to the U.S., was likely the source of an oil spill in Missouri that prompted the company to shut a segment of the line.The disruption comes as U.S. Gulf Coast refiners seek alternatives to heavy crude after sanctions on Venezuela effectively cut off access to the country’s oil. Canada’s oil-sands crude serves as a similar substitute, but Alberta has struggled with pipeline bottlenecks that have forced rationing on export pipelines and prompted the province to impose mandatory production curtailments.


A "green" new deal

Storm Lake Times | Posted on February 11, 2019

A lot of people, including presidential candidates visiting Iowa, are throwing around the idea of a “Green New Deal” to confront climate change, as polls indicate more Americans are thinking about how they can help turn back the devastation that Earth’s warming promises. It’s easy to support until the specifics come down. Nobody really knows what such a program entails. But we hear of increasing taxes on the uber wealthy in just about every way you can imagine to pay for a massive national effort to create jobs around “green” initiatives. Iowa is the perfect place to define what we’re talking about. We generate more electricity per capita from wind than any other state thanks to one of the earliest Renewable Energy Portfolios in the nation. We can build rural communities and jobs through renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. There are a lot more well-paid technicians tending wind towers around there than coal-fired power plants or natural gas plants. Iowa has as much solar energy potential as Florida.(Why is an oil pipeline favored over a transmission line that runs renewable energy?)


Wind Farm Developer Challenging Denial of Permits

Lexington Herald Leader | Posted on February 7, 2019

The company proposing to develop a controversial wind farm in Burleigh County is appealing a decision denying it permits for the project. Pure New Energy USA has filed an appeal with the South Central Judicial District Court challenging the Burleigh County Commission's recent decision to deny 30 special use permits. The Bismarck Tribune says the company argues it has "met any and all requirements for issuance" of the permits for the Burleigh-Emmons Wind Farm.The county commission last month voted 4-1 to deny the permits in Morton Township as recommended by the county planning and zoning board.


The last five years were the hottest ever recorded

National Geographic | Posted on February 7, 2019

The planet is warming up, and there’s no sign of stopping. The last five years—from 2014 to 2018—are the warmest years ever recorded in the 139 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has tracked global heat. And 2018 was the fourth hottest year ever recorded.


New York Just Sued The Trump EPA For Reversing Obama-Era Air Pollution Rule

Huffington Post | Posted on February 6, 2019

New York and five other states are suing the Trump administration in a bid to force the Environmental Protection Agency to take stronger steps to curb air pollution that blows across state lines. The so-called “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to police air pollution in certain states to ensure that it doesn’t blight downwind states. Under President Barack Obama, the EPA determined the existing standards for limiting smog-forming ozone pollution fell short and needed to be toughened.Last June, the EPA proposed a rule reversing that determination, a move undercutting more aggressive enforcement of the Clean Air Act. The EPA finalized the rule last month. The newly elected New York Attorney General Letitia James cried foul, filing a lawsuit arguing the EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by “failing to require any further control of power plants and other sources of smog pollution in states upwind” of her state.The attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey joined the suit, as did New York City.


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