Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has again introduced legislation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain to oil and gas drilling, but this year she's in no mood to give the federal government more revenue than allowed under the Alaska Statehood Act.
Her latest bill to authorize drilling on the plain, made public on Friday, makes no mention of the 50-50 royalty proceeds split between the state and the federal government she proposed in an ANWR drilling measure last year.
Instead, Washington would get just 10 percent, as provided in the statehood law, a jab at the Obama administration over its recent proposal to put more than 12 million ANWR acres permanently off limits to development.
Any push by Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund will have to include reforms to support national parks maintenance and send more money to states, Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters Thursday.
Murkowski, R-Alaska, was involved in talks on the Senate floor during a Jan. 29 vote on an amendment to the Keystone XL bill by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., which saw three Republicans change their yes votes for permanent reauthorization to no votes. The amendment failed 59-39, one vote short of the 60 needed for adoption.
The Senate on Wednesday voted down a series of energy and environment policy amendments to the Keystone XL pipeline approval bill that included proposals to limit temporary wilderness policies, renew wind energy tax credits and regulate hydraulic fracturing.
They were among 13 amendments that were voted down or withdrawn, in anticipation of final debate on a handful of remaining amendments and passage of the bill on Thursday, as sought by the new Republican leadership in the Senate.
The proposal made by the Interior Department to Congress to permanently designate more than 12 million acres of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as protected wilderness -- including the oil-rich coastal plain -- does little to change the ongoing management of the remote area on Alaska's North Slope.
The request is already being dismissed by Republicans on Capitol Hill as a non-starter, just a day after President Barack Obama announced it in a video released as he was traveling in India.
And while the proposal allows the Obama administration to treat the area as wilderness though a new conservation plan to be issued this week, oil and gas drilling has been prohibited on the 1.5-million coastal plain since 1980 unless authorized by Congress -- which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
"The impact is they've offended the delegation from Alaska, " said Jason B. Hutt, an environmental and energy lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani, who recently represented Halliburton in the criminal investigation of the Deepwater Horizon sinking.
The rainfall amounts in the southern California region should remain relatively unaffected by climate change, according to a study by UCLA researchers, published in the Journal of Climate, the Los Angeles Times reports.
California's ongoing drought has led to a dramatic rise in the number of reported water thefts and a black market for water sales, leading law enforcement to boost efforts to crack down on the practice, National Journal reports.
ITU, Brazil (AP) — It's been nearly a month since Diomar Pereira has had running water at his home in Itu, a commuter city outside Sao Paulo that is at the epicenter of the worst drought to hit southeastern Brazil in more than eight decades.
Like others in this city whose indigenous name means "big waterfall," Pereira must scramble to find water for drinking, bathing and cooking. On a recent day when temperatures hit 90 degrees (32 Celsius), he drove to a community kiosk where people with empty soda bottles and jugs lined up to use a water spigot. Pereira filled several 13-gallon containers, which he loaded into his Volkswagen bug.
The Chesapeake Conservancy hosts the National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation. Keynote speakers include White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Director Mike Boots, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Conference continues Friday.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell vowed Thursday that the Obama administration will continue to use its executive powers to protect public lands until Congress takes action on a number of stalled conservation measures.
Jewell renewed the administration's threat while speaking to a few hundred wilderness advocates at a national conference in Albuquerque celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Most of the western federal lands in seven western states where the greater sage-grouse faces the loss of habitat have low oil, gas, and renewable energy potential, according to a report released Thursday by a conservation group.
The report for the Western Values Project found that most federal lands in the states with sizable energy resources are outside the bird's key habitat areas.
The Senate intends to try to override President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline approval this week, while the House plans a vote on measures targeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific data, National Journal reports.
Republicans from the Gulf region are angry about Obama administration proposals to cut the money states will get from offshore oil and gas drilling, and Alabama lawmakers Rep. Bradley Byrne and Sen. Richard Shelby say the proposal is "dead on arrival", The Hill reports.
Negotiations between refiners -– represented by Shell Oil. Co. -- and striking workers are set to resume Wednesday, as the walkout by United Steelworkers, now affecting 15 plants, drags toward its second month, Reuters reports.
A strong dollar and an increase in Libyan production helped to pressure oil prices early Monday. U.S. benchmark crude for April delivery dropped 95 cents to $48.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent fell $1.28 cents to $61.30, Reuters reports.
The administration of Pennsylvania’s new Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, is set to release plans to update drilling rules to address concerns about the health and environmental impact of natural gas drilling, The Associated Press reports.
Low natural gas prices have suppressed the demand for coal, Duke Energy Progress executive Brett Phipps told the Kentucky Public Service Commission in a filing, predicting that coal prices would remain stable in the short term but could become more volatile in the future as miners cut back production, Platts reports.