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Analysis: Mercury ruling gives GOP new rallying cry for carbon rule delay

The Supreme Court’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency acted “unreasonably” by not considering compliance costs before it drafted its Mercury and Air Toxic Standards for power plants has given Republicans fresh ammunition in their fight against the Obama administration’s environmental regulations.

It’s also helping to drive home the message behind their legislation to rein in the agency’s proposed carbon rules for power plants that legal challenges need to be settled before regulations can take effect.

Coal industry scores a win but fate of plants still uncertain

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Coal companies and their supporters scored a courtroom victory with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the Obama administration failed to take potential costs into account when it decided to regulate toxic emissions from many power plants.

But officials from New England states downwind of coal plants expressed disappointment, and the industry's legal triumph comes with a major asterisk: The disputed regulation will remain in force while a lower court reconsiders the issue, according to federal officials and outside observers.

Duke Energy CEO getting pay raise year after coal ash spill

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good is getting a raise a year after the country's largest electric company confronted a coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Duke Energy's board of directors approved raising Good's annual salary by $50,000 to more than $1.2 million, the only part of her pay package that's guaranteed. Bigger boosts in incentives could push her potential annual compensation to $10.5 million a year, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Good previously topped out at about $8 million a year if she met short- and long-term goals.

Iran's FM returns to nuke talks amid signs of backtracking

VIENNA (AP) — Iran's foreign minister returned to the nuclear talks in Vienna where negotiators are struggling to overcome still significant differences and preparing to work through Tuesday's self-imposed deadline for a deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejoined the talks after a day of consultations in Tehran and was meeting first with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Iran deal: A look at what it does and problems remaining

VIENNA (AP) — World powers and Iran are back in nuclear talks, and this round may be the deciding one.

After nearly a decade of international diplomacy, negotiators are working past Tuesday's deadline, trying to reach a final agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear activities for a decade and put tens of billions of dollars back into the Iranian economy through the easing of financial sanctions.

Meeting to cover cleanup plan for former nuke missile site

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hold a public meeting about a proposal to use vegetable oil to stimulate the growth of naturally occurring bacteria that would clean up groundwater at a former nuclear missile site.

The project, expected to cost $36 million and take at least 200 years, is for the former Atlas D missile site 15 miles southeast of Cheyenne that was in service only for a few years in the early 1960s. The U.S. Air Force turned to newer missiles that rendered the Atlas D, among the first intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed in the U.S., obsolete.

Families, Arizona settle suit in deaths of 19 firefighters

PHOENIX (AP) — The state of Arizona settled a lawsuit Monday brought by a dozen families who lost loved ones when a Hotshot firefighting crew was overcome by a wildfire near the small community of Yarnell.

The settlement announced by state Attorney General Mark Brnovich will pay the families $50,000 each. Some vowed to donate the money to a new wildland firefighter safety foundation.

Rand Paul meets with Cliven Bundy on Nevada campaign stop

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul met with southern Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Monday during a question-and-answer session in the town of Mesquite with about 50 supporters and activists interested in land rights.

The meeting northeast of Las Vegas was part of a statewide tour with stops from Las Vegas to rural Elko.

European regulators clear Siemens' buyout of Dresser-Rand

NEW YORK (AP) — European regulators have cleared Siemens' $7.6 billion acquisition of the U.S. oilfield equipment maker Dresser-Rand.

The German electronics and engineering company is beefing up its global oil and gas and power generation businesses, seeing growth opportunities in Dresser-Rand's portfolio of compressors, steam and gas turbines and engines.

Jeff Kubina photo

EPA undeterred by mercury ruling; lawyers divided on carbon rule impact

It was unclear Monday what practical effect would come of the Supreme Court's ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken cost into account before deciding to regulate power plant mercury emissions, as the agency said the ruling didn't contest its authority to regulate the emissions and the rules are already having their intended effect anyway.

But legal experts, while calling the ruling a setback for the agency, were divided on what it might mean for the agency's imminent rule to limit carbon emissions from existing plants.

Oil

Supreme Court won't hear appeal over Gulf spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear appeals from energy giants BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the owners of the blown-out Macondo well could not avoid federal fines for the spill by blaming another company's failed equipment.

13 states sue over rule giving feds authority on state water

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Thirteen states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the "Waters of the U.S." rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers is a "federal power grab" that is "unnecessary and unlawful and will do nothing to increase water quality."

New York formalizes ban on fracking

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on Monday, concluding a seven-year environmental and health review that drew a record number of public comments.

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in announcing the decision. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated."

Ban Ki-moon, Robert Redford call for faster action on climate

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says negotiations on a new climate pact to keep global warming from reaching dangerous levels are moving at a "snail's pace" and must be speeded up.

The U.N. chief stresses that only 10 negotiating days remain and key political issues are still on the table.

Robert Redford, appearing at the same meeting, said he came not as an actor but as an environmental advocate, father, grandfather and concerned citizen to urge the world's nations to take action now on climate change.

Environmental groups urge Dayton to wade into mine review

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Environmental advocates trying to stop a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota launched an ad campaign on Monday aimed not at the company behind the project but at Gov. Mark Dayton, hoping to persuade the Democrat to require stronger environmental protections.

The latest environmental review of PolyMet Mining Corp's open-pit mine, released by the Department of Natural Resources last week, did little to assuage concerns of a coalition of environmental groups called Mining Truth, despite finding that the mine likely wouldn't significantly impact water quality. In a statewide ad expected to begin airing this week, the group shows video of a massive spill of mining waste in Canada and calls on Dayton to reject the mine's waste storage system they say could result in a similar accident in Minnesota.

'Mind blowing' flames destroy homes in Washington state

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — From just across the Wenatchee River, Dominick Bonny watched a whole neighborhood in his central Washington town burn as a wildfire destroyed two dozen structures and forced hundreds to flee.

"With the wind blowing away from us, it was like we were watching a natural disaster within arm's reach," he said.

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