Office of Sen. Landrieu

Analysis: With Landrieu holding gavel, Louisiana to get the spotlight

Since taking the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu has said she will use the post to address issues in her home state of Louisiana, particularly jobs and revenue from oil and gas development.

On Tuesday, she made that plan abundantly clear in her first re-election ad. The ad proclaims that as chair "she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for the people of Louisiana."

Officials gather in ND to discuss new EPA rules

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Agency and industry representatives from about two dozen states are meeting in Bismarck to discuss new federal clean air rules.

The two-day summit begins Wednesday and is hosted by the state Health Department and Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Organizers say the intent is to decide how states should respond to new federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements aimed at cutting pollution from power plants and oil refineries.

Energy Future Holdings misses filing deadline

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Energy Future Holdings is still not ready to file its already delayed annual report, the company said in a filing Tuesday with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

The decision not to submit the report places the Dallas-based company in breach of agreements with creditors for TXU Energy and Luminant, the largest power generator in Texas, and could be another step towards bankruptcy.

Russian economy slows amid Ukraine crisis

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's economy minister says growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the first quarter due to uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine.

Alexei Ulyukayev told parliament Wednesday that the situation had worsened because of "the acute international situation of the past two months," as well as "serious capital flight." More capital left the country in the first three months of 2014 than in all of 2013.

The figure fell far short of the ministry's earlier prediction of 2.5 percent growth.

Oil

Offshore rig taking on water but stable after wave

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — An offshore drilling rig is taking on water but is stable after being hit by a large storm wave off the Texas coast.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the rig was drilling for oil and gas in 3,000-foot depths around 10 a.m. Tuesday when the wave hit.

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. transportation secretary is spreading some bad news: The government's Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke. If allowed to run dry, that could set back or shut down projects across the country, force widespread layoffs of construction workers and delay needed repairs and improvements.

Anthony Foxx kicked off an eight-state bus trip in Ohio to whip up public support for congressional approval of legislation to keep federal transportation aid flowing to states for another four years, and possibly longer. But Congress will have to act fast. The trust fund — the source of much of the aid — is forecast to essentially run dry sometime before the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30, and possibly as early as late August.

Schumer opens NY's new utility control center

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has formally opened the state's new high-tech utility control center near Albany that aims to improve the efficiency of the state's electrical grid.

The Democrat attended the official opening of the $38 million center Tuesday. Known as the New York Independent System Operator Utility Control Center, the facility is intended to better coordinate electrical production with demand.

Jamaica grants license for natural gas project

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A Hong Kong-based company has been granted a license for what would be a major new power project in Jamaica, the Caribbean island's energy minister announced Tuesday.

Phillip Paulwell said Energy World International is to supply 381 megawatts of natural gas-fired generating capacity for Jamaica's power grid. He called the project a "game changer" for the tropical country, which is almost entirely dependent on imported petroleum and diesel fuel.

Associated Press

U.S. greenhouse emissions fell in 2012

The latest U.S. greenhouse gas inventory shows domestic carbon emissions fell in 2012 to the lowest levels since 1994, driven by reduced energy consumption and increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which runs the inventory, said Tuesday that energy efficiency and a relatively warm winter also contributed to the drop of 3.4 percent in U.S. emissions compared to 2011.

Court upholds EPA emission standards for mercury, other pollutants

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's emission standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

In its ruling, the court rejected state and industry challenges to rules designed to clean up chromium, arsenic, acid gases, nickel, cadmium as well as mercury and other dangerous toxins.

The standards are the first federal mercury controls for power plants.

Manchin urges mines to speak out about coal

DENVER (AP) — The Democratic senator battling against the way the White House is choosing to fight climate change is urging the mining industry to speak out about coal's role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country, words he hopes will help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

Speaking to the National Western Mining Conference in Denver, Sen. Joe Manchin said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is not being reasonable in proposing that future coal plants reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and storing carbon. Manchin and other opponents say such technology is years away from being commercially viable.

"They're hearing us loud and clear. I just need more voices," he said of the Obama administration.

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces said they repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at a small airport. The clash came hours after Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, had announced an "anti-terrorist operation" against the armed, pro-Russian insurgents who had seized control of numerous buildings in at least nine cities in Ukraine's restive east.

The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia. The insurgents are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia, and, complicating the political landscape, many local security forces have switched to their side.

The United States on Tuesday gave its tacit support to Ukrainian military action against pro-Russian militia. This is not the preferred option, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, but the Ukrainian government has to respond to what he said was an untenable situation.

Shell to discuss Pa. shale gas plant proposal

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shell Oil Co. plans to hold public meetings Wednesday to discuss the possibility of building a huge natural gas processing plant.

In early 2012, Shell chose a site about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for the possible multibillion-dollar plant, and the company has purchased property in the area and sought bids from suppliers. That same year, it also got what lawmakers call Pennsylvania's largest ever taxpayer-financed incentive package.

But Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon said there's still no guarantee that the project will be built.

North Dakota may fine truck company more than $2M

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A Wyoming-based trucking company working in North Dakota could face fines of $2 million or more for operating without a license and illegally dumping saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, two North Dakota state agencies said Tuesday.

"Companies should take notice that they need to understand what is required if they are going to do business in this state," said Dave Glatt, the environmental health section chief at the Health Department, in a statement. "If they fail to comply, they may be fined."

Oil

Court upholds convictions in Ky. oil drilling scam

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two brothers who defrauded millions of dollars from thousands of investors in an oil and gas drilling scheme lost a bid Tuesday to have their convictions and sentences overturned.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that prosecutors presented enough evidence to back their contention that 53-year-old Christopher Cello Smith of Prestonsburg, Ky., and 58-year-old Michael D. Smith of Cookeville, Tenn., defrauded thousands of investors.

The Smiths ran a company called Target Oil and Gas. Prosecutors said the company asked investors to fund drilling projects in Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia and Tennessee but used fraudulent marketing materials and false geological surveys to persuade them.

Oil

Fighting threatens an oil center in South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Rebel fighters in South Sudan claimed Tuesday that they captured the capital of an oil-rich state, and they issued an ultimatum to oil companies to shut down production and evacuate workers. U.N. peacekeepers rescued 10 oil workers from the violence, but not before five were wounded.

U.N. peacekeepers from Mongolia rescued 10 staff members from the Russian oil company Safinat just north of the city of Bentiu, said Joe Contreras, a U.N. spokesman. He said two of the five wounded were in critical condition.

A rebel commander, speaking by phone from Unity state, said rebel forces recaptured Bentiu from government troops.

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