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They were among 13 amendments that were voted down or withdrawn, in anticipation of final debate on a handful of remaining amendments and passage of the bill on Thursday, as sought by the new Republican leadership in the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.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered how to resolve a long-running legal fight between Kansas and Nebraska over the use of water from the Republican River.
The justices appeared to agree with recommendations of a special master who found that Nebraska should pay $3.7 million in damages to Kansas for using more than its legal share of the river's water in 2005 and 2006.
The Supreme Court will make its first considerations on a long-standing water-use disagreement between Kansas and Nebraska over an interstate compact allocating water from the Republican River, E&E reports.
Oil prices surged 8.3 percent in Friday trading as rig data suggested a slowdown in shale oil development, with Brent crude rising $3.86 to $52.99 a barrel and U.S. crude climbing $3.71 to settle at $48.24 a barrel, Reuters reports.
A survey conducted by Reuters reports that OPEC output rose by 130,000 barrels per day in January as Angola boosted exports and Persian Gulf producers kept steady or increased output, a signal that some members plan to stay the course on maintaining output despite low oil prices.
Despite the collapse of crude oil prices last year, the latest Commerce Department report of gross domestic output showed outlays for new oil rigs and wells rose 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, even as equipment spending across all U.S. businesses fell, Bloomberg reports.
Chevron CEO John Watson, after his company reported lower profits and announced budget cuts, voiced optimism for long-term industry prospects, saying the price of oil will have to rise above $50 per barrel to support new exploration to meet energy needs, FuelFix reports.
A new poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and Resources for the Future suggests that more than two-thirds of Americans, including 48 percent of Republicans, say they consider themselves more likely to support a candidate who supports action to combat climate change.
The National Biodiesel Board in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency voiced frustration with the agency's delayed implementation of biodiesel mandates, saying the slow movement has caused some producers to reduce staff and forced others into bankruptcy, The Hill reports.
A survey of economists by Bloomberg projects that many of the world's largest crude oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar could see budget surpluses take hits and slip into deficits as global oil prices remain low.
Chevron, after posting a 30 percent decrease in earnings from the previous year in the fourth quarter 2014, abandoned plans to explore for shale gas in Poland, dealing a blow to efforts to develop hydraulic fracturing and shale drilling industries in Europe, The New York Times reports.
In an interview with E&E, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., vice chairwoman of the Natural Resources Committee and leader of a new Interior and EPA oversight panel, discusses her familiarity with development and ranching issues in western states and her plans to limit Obama administration regulations on public land use.