Policy

Alert expected over hydrocarbon inhalation

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

Federal agencies and oil and gas industry safety groups are expected to issue an alert over the potential dangers of hydrocarbon inhalation following a spate of deaths involving workers opening hatches over storage tanks, The Wall Street Journal reports.

EnergyGuardian Photo

Murkowski calls for reforms to conservation fund

A popular program to finance conservation, recreation and preservation efforts should be reauthorized, but not without reforms, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee said Wednesday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she wants to see the Land and Water Conservation Fund address maintenance on public lands and put more power in state hands.

She argued that the fund, set to expire on September 30 without congressional action, has become too focused on purchasing new lands, even as the federal government faces a nearly $22 billion backlog of deferred maintenance on its holdings, including approximately $11 billion for the National Park Service.

Clean-water advocate takes Earth Day swim at Superfund site

NEW YORK (AP) — A clean-water advocate is taking an Earth Day swim in New York City's polluted Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund site.

Christopher Swain wore a protective suit as he went over a railing and into the water around 2 p.m. Wednesday in Brooklyn. He was accompanied by a woman in a kayak, paddling a few feet away from him.

Exxon Mobil "regrets" pipeline spill that will cost nearly $5M

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil must pay almost $5 million in penalties for state and federal violations involving the 2013 Mayflower oil spill in central Arkansas, according to a consent decree filed in federal court Wednesday.

The decree brokered between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arkansas attorney general's office and the subsidiaries — ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipe Line Company — will not become final until after 30 days of public comment.

Noble Energy agrees to settle Colorado air pollution case

DENVER (AP) — Large oil and gas driller Noble Energy has agreed to a settlement over alleged air-pollution violations north of Denver, a deal federal officials say could cost the company up to $73.5 million.

The proposed deal, filed in federal court Wednesday, comes after regulators found the Houston-based company's oil storage tanks were emitting thousands of tons of volatile organic chemicals a year because of undersized vapor control systems, contributing to the region's ozone pollution problem.

NYC mayor unveils sweeping environmental plan on Earth Day

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor de Blasio is linking an effort to limit New York City's impact on the environment to the fight against income inequality.

The Democrat unveiled his sweeping OneNYC plan Wednesday, Earth Day.

House passes bill designed to thwart cyberattacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Wednesday passed long-awaited legislation designed to thwart cyberattacks by encouraging private companies to share information about the attackers' methods with each other and the government.

The measure, which passed 307 to 116, grants protection from liability if companies follow certain procedures. Many companies have been reluctant to share internal data about cyberattacks for fear of being sued, leaving both the firms and the government less equipped to battle an onslaught of cyberintrusions, including state-sponsored campaigns to purloin American intellectual property.

House panel is told of slavery in Thai seafood industry

WASHINGTON (AP) — Modern-day slavery persists around the world, including the abuse of fishermen in the Thai seafood industry whose catch can end up in U.S. markets, a congressional panel was told Wednesday.

"As has been reported for years, the Thai fishing industry is rife with forced labor, both on the high seas and within seafood processing and packing plants," Mark Lagon, former State Department ambassador for trafficking in persons, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in prepared remarks.

Emotions over Obama's trade agenda roil Senate, delay action

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emotional disagreements over trade erupted in Congress on Wednesday, when a liberal senator delayed a committee's likely endorsement of a top trade priority for President Barack Obama.

The day began with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, predicting a "strong bipartisan vote" for "fast track" legislation. The measure would renew presidential authority to present trade deals that Congress can endorse or reject but not amend.

Popular pesticide hurts wild bees in major field study

WASHINGTON (AP) — A common type of pesticide is dramatically harming wild bees, according to a new in-the-field study that outside experts say may help shift the way the U.S. government looks at a controversial class of chemicals.

But in the study published by the journal Nature on Wednesday, honeybees — which get trucked from place to place to pollinate major crops like almonds— didn't show the significant ill effects that wild cousins like bumblebees did. This is a finding some experts found surprising. A second study published in the same journal showed that in lab tests bees are not repelled by the pesticides and in fact may even prefer pesticide coated crops, making the problem worse.

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