EJToday: Top Headlines
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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."
"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 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."
"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."
"Oliver Kuttner and his team of designers have seen the future of fuel-efficient cars topping the dreamed-of mark of 100 miles per gallon. This week, the Edison2 team is being rewarded for its vision with half of the $10 million X Prize."
"A biotech company plans to announce Tuesday that it has won a patent on a genetically altered bacterium that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into ingredients of diesel fuel, a step that could provide a new pathway for making ethanol or a diesel replacement that skips several cumbersome and expensive steps in existing methods."
"Italy Tuesday seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion -- the biggest mob haul ever -- in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to 'go green' by laundering money through alternative energy companies."
"The tragic explosion of a gas pipeline in a San Francisco suburb has shed light on a problem usually kept underground: Communities have expanded over pipes built decades earlier when no one lived there. Utilities have been under pressure for years to better inspect and replace aging gas pipes — many of them laid years before sprawling communities were erected around them — that now are at risk of leaking or erupting."
"Candidates are lining up behind the issue of gas drilling as the controversial method called hydrofracking takes center stage this election season in the Finger Lakes region."
"The first wave of mass-produced advanced batteries funded by the Obama administration's economic recovery program is starting to roll off assembly lines, setting the stage for new hybrid and electric vehicles."
"Bill McKibben, an environmental campaigner from Vermont with a flair for showmanship, was rebuffed Friday morning in his effort to get the White House to reinstall one of the solar panels that President Jimmy Carter had placed on the White House roof."
A 30-inch natural gas pipeline routed through a densely populated area in San Bruno, Calif., exploded Thursday, killing at least 7 people. The fireball rose some 1,000 feet in the air and destroyed dozens of homes.