Policy

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. transportation secretary is spreading some bad news: The government's Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke. If allowed to run dry, that could set back or shut down projects across the country, force widespread layoffs of construction workers and delay needed repairs and improvements.

Anthony Foxx kicked off an eight-state bus trip in Ohio to whip up public support for congressional approval of legislation to keep federal transportation aid flowing to states for another four years, and possibly longer. But Congress will have to act fast. The trust fund — the source of much of the aid — is forecast to essentially run dry sometime before the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30, and possibly as early as late August.

Officials gather in ND to discuss new EPA rules

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Agency and industry representatives from about two dozen states are meeting in Bismarck to discuss new federal clean air rules.

The two-day summit begins Wednesday and is hosted by the state Health Department and Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Organizers say the intent is to decide how states should respond to new federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements aimed at cutting pollution from power plants and oil refineries.

Railroads divulge little info to states, communities about oil and gas trains

Source: 
The New York Times

Railroads, used to operating under exclusively federal jurisdiction, are coming under increasing pressure to provide more information as they carry crude oil, and will face new rules forcing them to do so this summer, The New York Times reports.

Office of Sen. Landrieu

Analysis: With Landrieu holding gavel, Louisiana to get the spotlight

Since taking the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu has said she will use the post to address issues in her home state of Louisiana, particularly jobs and revenue from oil and gas development.

On Tuesday, she made that plan abundantly clear in her first re-election ad. The ad proclaims that as chair "she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for the people of Louisiana."

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces said they repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at a small airport. The clash came hours after Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, had announced an "anti-terrorist operation" against the armed, pro-Russian insurgents who had seized control of numerous buildings in at least nine cities in Ukraine's restive east.

The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia. The insurgents are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia, and, complicating the political landscape, many local security forces have switched to their side.

The United States on Tuesday gave its tacit support to Ukrainian military action against pro-Russian militia. This is not the preferred option, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, but the Ukrainian government has to respond to what he said was an untenable situation.

North Dakota may fine truck company more than $2M

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A Wyoming-based trucking company working in North Dakota could face fines of $2 million or more for operating without a license and illegally dumping saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, two North Dakota state agencies said Tuesday.

"Companies should take notice that they need to understand what is required if they are going to do business in this state," said Dave Glatt, the environmental health section chief at the Health Department, in a statement. "If they fail to comply, they may be fined."

China furious about McCarthy’s Taiwan trip

Source: 
Reuters

By visiting Taiwan, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy is breaking a promise the U.S. made to China, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said at a briefing, adding that Beijing has lodged a protest, Reuters reports.

Associated Press

U.S. greenhouse emissions fell in 2012

The latest U.S. greenhouse gas inventory shows domestic carbon emissions fell in 2012 to the lowest levels since 1994, driven by reduced energy consumption and increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which runs the inventory, said Tuesday that energy efficiency and a relatively warm winter also contributed to the drop of 3.4 percent in U.S. emissions compared to 2011.

In advance of methane regulation, EPA seeks comment on emissions sources

Source: 
The Hill

Ahead of possible rule-making, The Hill reports the Environmental Protection Agency has released five white papers seeking comment on sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas industry.

Court upholds EPA emission standards for mercury, other pollutants

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's emission standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

In its ruling, the court rejected state and industry challenges to rules designed to clean up chromium, arsenic, acid gases, nickel, cadmium as well as mercury and other dangerous toxins.

The standards are the first federal mercury controls for power plants.

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