EJToday: Top Headlines
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"The tension between drillers in Pennsylvania's gas-rich Marcellus shale and communities trying protect natural resources has reached a fevered pitch in Clinton County, where a zoning hearing board resigned rather than allow a water withdrawal station at a scenic bend of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River that draws kayakers, hang gliders, hunters and fly fishermen."
"The oil giant nears an agreement to dispense $500 million through an alliance overseen by gulf state governors. Critics fear expertise elsewhere will be overlooked."
"Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu today vowed to block the Senate's confirmation of a top White House nominee until the Obama administration takes action on its deepwater drilling moratorium."
"A bill to enact a federal mandate for renewable electricity is gathering steam in the Senate. And unlike many issues in Washington these days, the measure is gaining support on both sides of the aisle. On Thursday, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) became the latest Republican to back a renewable electricity standard (RES)."
"Several Asian countries in addition to China could soon challenge the United States in the race to build a renewable energy industry if Washington doesn't provide more incentives for its domestic business, venture capitalists and others told a Congressional hearing on Wednesday."
"The Obama administration's bid to strengthen federal pipeline oversight is raising questions from environmental groups as well as industry, suggesting that safety reforms could fail to reach a legislative fast track despite three recent high-profile ruptures along the 2.3 million miles of U.S. oil and gas lines."
In a last-gasp effort to pass some energy legislation this year, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill requiring utilities to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. But they do not yet have the votes, and the first chance for action would be in a lame-duck session. The House has already passed such a bill.
"WASHINGTON — Nearly seven years after a government auditor charged that an oil company had cheated the government out of millions of dollars in royalties, a federal judge has ordered the company to pay nearly $23 million in penalties — including $5.7 million to the auditor who uncovered the problem."
The gas-drilling boom that is sweeping Pennsylvania is demonstrating the power of money to overcome landowners' reluctance and influence legislators and regulators. This fall, a gusher of gas-industry political campaign donations is spewing.
"A Valdez-based citizen watchdog group told legislators Tuesday that the state's arsenal of oil-response equipment lags behind modern technology and the state division that enforces the rules for preventing and cleaning up spills has an 'ever-worsening funding shortage.'"
"U.S. EPA is considering two former Halliburton Co. executives along with one of the most outspoken critics of hydraulic fracturing to provide independent expert advice on its study of the polarizing drilling practice."
"The top federal regulator of oil and gas pipelines is facing withering criticism for her ties to industry and her agency's floundering response to recent oil-pipeline spills in the Midwest and last week's deadly gas pipeline explosion in California."
"U.S. regulators are likely to approve a higher blend of ethanol in U.S. gasoline shortly, an ethanol producers group and the top U.S. agriculture official each said on Friday, and the new fuel mix could be selling at the pump by next spring."
"The world's largest solar power plant cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for a dramatic expansion in solar energy generation in the United States and around the world. The proposed $6 billion-plus Blythe, California plant, originally proposed by Chevron Corp. and Solar Millennium AG, won clearance to build from the California Energy Commission."
"A powerful lobbying coalition is campaigning to require more electricity to come from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. But the effort hasn't gotten any traction in the Senate this year, despite the push by environmental groups, renewable energy providers, more than half the nation's governors and even some utilities."