States to challenge EPA’s computer modeling for carbon rule


The computer model the Environmental Protection Agency uses to test the effects of its Clean Power Plan on grid reliability will likely face challenges from states as well as GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, E&E reports.

US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Freighters once carried Cuban nickel and limestone to the port of New Orleans and North Dakota beans to Havana. Cuban families ate bowls of American rice, while U.S. tourists flocked to casinos and nightclubs in Havana.

The United States' commercial ties with Cuba were broken 54 years ago after Fidel Castro took power on the Caribbean island. Now U.S.-Cuba trade is poised to resume at last: President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to re-establish diplomat relations with Havana, and economic ties are expected to follow.

Among those eager for access to a Cuban market cut off by an economic embargo are U.S. farmers, travel companies, energy producers and importers of rum and cigars.

New York move to ban fracking heartens critics

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York plans to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique and delighting opponents who previously managed to win only local bans.

New York, which overlies part of the gas-rich rock formation that has also led to a drilling boom in nearby states, has banned shale gas development since the state began its environmental review in 2008. Wednesday's announcement, though not final, means a ban is all but etched in stone.

Obama faces tough Arctic drilling decisions

National Journal

Response to President Barack Obama’s move to continue a ban on drilling in Bristol Bay was muted, but he may face much more serious opposition from oil companies if he moves to do anything similar in the Beaufort or Chukchi Seas, National Journal reports.

China slams U.S. solar tariffs but hints at settlement

The New York Times

The U.S. should “consider the serious consequences” from its move to impose steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels, the country’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday, but in a hint that Beijing might be interested in settling a long-running dispute over the issue, the statement urged the U.S. to “appropriately manage trade frictions,” The New York Times reports.

Romania PM: Russia poses energy threat to region

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister is calling Russia the biggest threat to stability in the region and says its energy threats are more worrisome than its military ones.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta told journalists that a planned European Energy Union was "the only solution good for all of us" and called offshore exploration in the Black Sea "an absolute priority."

Albanian deputy minister fired over power bills

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania's deputy environment minister has been fired for allegedly not paying her electricity bills — just as the government is striving to persuade Albanians to settle old power debts.

In a statement on his Twitter social network account Wednesday, Prime Minister Edi Rama said there can be no justification for non-payment, a major headache for the country's dysfunctional state-run power sector.

AP Interview: McConnell wants to stop coal rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pledged on Wednesday to do all he can to stop President Barack Obama's coal plant regulations, saying a White House "crusade" has devastated his state's economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency "has created a depression in my state and it's done a lot of damage to the country all across the country with these efforts to essentially eliminate coal fired generation," he said in an Associated Press interview.

Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday.

They could determine the greater sage grouse is heading toward possible extinction, but they would be unable to intervene under the Endangered Species Act. The bird's fate instead remains largely in the hands of the 11 individual states where they are found.

Washington governor proposes cap on carbon pollution

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday proposed an ambitious cap-and-trade program to require the state's largest industrial polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release.

The proposal was part of a broader package that the Democrat said would help the state meet a 2008 mandate to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. It sets an overall limit on heat-trapping gases similar to a program that California launched nearly three years ago.


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