Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Maryland offshore wind auction nets $8.7m from US Wind

The Interior Department said a subsidiary of Italian company Toto Holding on Tuesday won an offshore wind lease auction for a nearly 80,000-acre area off Maryland with a bid of more than $8.7 million.

The provisional winning bid by US Wind Inc. was more than the combined high bids from the department's two previous Atlantic offshore wind lease sales, which pulled in a total of about $5.4 million.

Oil

Stretch of Ohio River reopens after fuel oil spill

CINCINNATI (AP) — A 15-mile stretch of the Ohio River closed after a fuel oil spill reopened to river traffic on Tuesday with some restrictions as containment and cleanup continued.

River traffic in that area must get Coast Guard clearance and maintain a safe speed, agency spokeswoman Lt. Katherine Cameron said. The area was closed to all traffic, including barges carrying commercial goods, after the spill from a Duke Energy power plant in New Richmond.

The spill at the W.C. Beckjord Station happened at about 11:15 p.m. Monday during a routine transfer of fuel oil from a larger tank to smaller ones and was stopped within about 15 minutes, Duke spokeswoman Sally Thelen said.

Sullivan beats tea party in Alaska GOP Senate race

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan became the latest mainstream Republican to turn back a tea party challenger, winning the Alaska GOP primary to become his party's candidate to take on U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the fall.

Republicans see the Alaska race as a key contest in their attempt to capture the Senate majority from Democrats.

Sullivan entered the primary the presumed front-runner, with the backing of national GOP powerbrokers and a huge cash advantage over his rivals.

Embattled Sen. Begich's secret weapon: Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich wants Alaskans to know he is one of them and an independent voice against President Barack Obama.

So he's opening campaign offices in far-flung places like a coin-operated laundry in Dillingham, a hamlet of 2,000 people. He's allowed himself to be videotaped strutting his stuff at the Athabascan Fiddlers' dance in Fairbanks. And as anyone with a television knows, he rode a snowmobile in subzero temperatures in the Arctic, speaking into a camera about fighting the Obama administration to help secure offshore drilling permits.

Senate control could rest with well-funded women

WASHINGTON (AP) — Control of the Senate could lie in the fortunes of female candidates and the deep-pocketed donors, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are sending piles of cash their way.

So far this election cycle, donors have handed over $46 million to a collection of political committees and candidates linked to Emily's List, which backs female contenders who support abortion rights. The Emily's List network of committees raised more than most other outside groups, including the GOP-backed American Crossroads and the anti-tax Club for Growth.

Bus rental spat as Kentucky Senate candidates meet

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The candidates in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race are answering questions together for the first time amid a squabble over a bus rental.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is accusing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes of accepting potentially illegal campaign gifts from her father's bus company.

The Grimes campaign says it sampled rates from four companies before deciding how much to pay to rent an 11-year-old luxury bus from Jerry Lundergan's company. The campaign calls McConnell's criticism a "hit job."

Glencore swings to profit, announces buyback

GENEVA (AP) — Commodities and mining group Glencore PLC says it will buy back up to $1 billion of its own shares as profit for the first half of the year rose 8 percent.

The Swiss-based company, which created an industry giant through the merger between Glencore and Xstrata, says the repurchasing of shares will run through the end of March.

In its financial statement released Wednesday, the company says its adjusted net profit was $2.01 billion in the first six months of the year, up from a restated $1.86 billion in the comparable period of 2013.

Dog Days publishing schedule for EnergyGuardian

The Dog Days of summer are upon us, and as is tradition during the week leading up to Labor Day, EnergyGuardian will publish a single midday edition each day from Aug. 25 through Aug. 29. There will be no newsletter on Labor Day, Sept. 1.

Of course, we'll cover any breaking news with alerts, and then resume normal publishing on Tuesday morning, Sept. 2.

We hope you have a chance to get away and enjoy some relaxation as summer winds down, and thank you for your support all year long.

Lake Tahoe imperiled by wildfires, officials say at meeting

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — Lake Tahoe, a crown jewel of the western landscape, is being challenged by drought, invasive species, the threat of catastrophic wildfire and climate change, officials said Tuesday.

The warning came during an annual summit about protecting the iconic lake that straddles the California-Nevada border. The meeting brought unusual bipartisan consensus among federal lawmakers on at least one aspect of the threats to the Tahoe basin — that more logging should play a role in reducing the wildfire danger.

Those in attendance said decades of suppressing wildfires, no matter how remote, has left many forests too thick with trees, leading to disease and stoking high-intensity wildfires.

Mexico says mine firm lied about chemical spill

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's top environmental official said Tuesday that a mining company lied about a spill of millions of gallons of acids and heavy metals that contaminated two rivers and a dam downstream.

Environment Secretary Juan Jose Guerra Abud said the mine falsely claimed the spill earlier this month was caused by unusually heavy rain. Officials say a construction defect at a holding pond allowed mining waste to flow out.

Blast in China coal mine kills 2, traps 25 miners

BEIJING (AP) — A gas explosion at a coal mine in eastern China has killed at least two miners, and rescuers searched Wednesday for 25 more workers missing in the blast, state media reported.

Twelve other miners were rescued from the privately owned mine in Huainan city in Anhui province after Tuesday's blast, one of whom suffered burns, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Rescuers pulled out two bodies Wednesday, including the driver of a belt conveyor, Xinhua reported. It said a search was under way for the remaining 25 people believed trapped.

Oil

Libya's largest oil depot begins exports

CAIRO (AP) — Libya's largest export terminal begun loading a tanker Wednesday destined for Italy, its first shipment after a yearlong blockade over disputes between the central government, rebels and protesters, the country's oil corporation said.

The National Oil Corp. said on its website the tanker has been loading 600,000 barrels since early Wednesday. The central government had resolved a dispute last month with militias in the country's east that had caused exports from two of the country's oil ports to stop for almost a year.

Brine hauler sues over biblical fracking billboard

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who uses a biblical reference and a statement against "poisoned waters" on billboards opposing a local deep-injection gas well is fighting a legal threat from the Texas well owner on free-speech grounds.

Austin, Texas-based Buckeye Brine alleges in a July lawsuit that the billboards paid for by Michael Boals, of Coshocton, contain false and defamatory attacks against its two wells, which dispose of contaminated wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

Oil

Water intake resumes after Ohio River oil spill

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio and Kentucky water districts have resumed taking water from the Ohio River after a fuel oil spill led them to stop doing so.

The Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Northern Kentucky Water District stopped pumping drinking water from the river because of the fuel oil spill at a Duke Energy power plant about 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati on Monday night.

Report: Firefighting costs eroding conservation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration detailed on Wednesday the toll that the escalating cost of fighting forest fires has had on other projects as it pushes Congress to overhaul how it pays for the most severe blazes.

In a new report, the Agriculture Department said that staffing for fighting fires has more than doubled since 1998. Meanwhile, the number of workers who manage National Forest System lands has dropped by about a third.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that accommodating the rapid rise in firefighting costs has harmed an array of conservation efforts. For example, spending that helps restore vegetation and watersheds after a fire has fallen 22 percent since 2001. Another program that partners with states and private landowners to conserve wildlife habitat has been cut by 17 percent during that same period.

Democratic women teaming up in key Senate states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democratic women are teaming up to raise campaign cash in key states that will help decide the Senate majority.

Incumbent senators and hopefuls formed the Blue Senate 2014 joint fundraising committee on Aug. 13.

The candidates involved are Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, Natalie Tennant in West Virginia and Michelle Nunn in Georgia.

Welcome to the new EnergyGuardian!

We've launched a new look and a new Morning Briefing that provides a capsule view of the major climate and energy stories of the day.

Interested in a quick digest of top energy and climate headlines? EnergyGuardian Morning Briefing is for you. It's free and is delivered to your email inbox every working morning. To subscribe, email us -- and be sure to give us your name and email address!

If you are interested in a more complete report on energy and climate news, this is a great time to get to know EnergyGuardian. The EPA is at the forefront of the political campaign, green energy projects are in the news all the time, and energy independence -- and the impact of energy prices on consumers, business and the economy -- is still a pressing national concern. We cover the top stories in energy and climate policy and regulation for members of the energy industry, policymakers, regulators and advocacy groups. Our goal is to provide balanced, unbiased, accurate and timely reporting that will help you know what's going on and understand the context for new developments.

If you you'd like to read more about EnergyGuardian, click on http://www.energyguardian.net/subscribe-energyguardian.