"In a setback to Trump administration efforts to increase offshore oil production, the industry responded with only modest interest on Wednesday in a federal auction covering a record 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico."
Energy & Fuel
"The Bureau of Land Management disregarded a request by the National Park Service that it hold off leasing 17,000 acres of public land in Utah on Tuesday because of concerns that drilling there could harm Hovenweep National Monument’s views and air, groundwater and sound quality."
"The U.S. Department of Interior on Tuesday will auction off more than 51,000 acres (21,000 hectares) in southeastern Utah for oil and gas development, over objections from conservationists, who say the move threatens sensitive archaeological and wilderness sites."
"A legal battle over the storage of more than 3 million tons of coal ash in Virginia is headed to a federal appeals court in a case closely watched by environmentalists and energy companies."
"On March 21, the Department of Interior will hold the largest auction of offshore leases in U.S. history, including all unleased areas on the Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf. But do energy extractors actually want such land and waters?"
"Schemes that favour coal companies in Appalachia have left a national shortfall experts said was ‘one of the biggest public failures that has gone under the radar’."
"President Trump's nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency."
"EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with an Indiana coal executive last year who was seeking to soften a pollution rule — and who once boasted about raising more than a million dollars for President Donald Trump’s campaign, according to documents provided to POLITICO."
"Faced with questions about its commitment to safety, the Interior Department sent teams to the Gulf of Mexico last week to inspect giant cranes used in offshore oil and gas operations that are a significant source of accidents."
"From the cockpit of a Cessna airplane, Gary Mowad, a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, spotted what looked like a dried-out pond in rural eastern Colorado. The banks of the pond were black, so he suspected it was actually a pit for oil company waste."