HEXIGTEN, China (AP) — Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble of this power plant echoes across the ancient steppe, and its acrid stench travels dozens of miles away.
This is the first of more than 60 coal-to-gas plants China wants to build, mostly in remote parts of the country where ethnic minorities have farmed and herded for centuries. Fired up in December, the multibillion-dollar plant bombards millions of tons of coal with water and heat to produce methane, which is piped to Beijing to generate electricity.
It's part of a controversial energy revolution China hopes will help it churn out desperately needed natural gas and electricity while cleaning up the toxic skies above the country's eastern cities. However, the plants will also release vast amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, even as the world struggles to curb greenhouse gas emissions and stave off global warming.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday pressed for a more aggressive U.S. military response in Iraq to combat Islamic state militants, including a sustained air campaign, and signaled he would support sending American ground troops.
"We need to have all of our options open," Perry told a standing-room-only crowd at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate dismissed the "limited" air strikes that President Barack Obama has ordered as insufficient as the U.S. tries to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces regain control of large sections of Iraq.
Although Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy hasn’t yet moved to lower limits on ozone levels following a recommendation from EPA's scientific advisers to do so, the National Association of Manufacturers is ramping up its campaign against the prospect with ads in the election battleground states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Colorado criticizing what it calls “unrealistic new ozone regulations,” The Hill reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said its latest status report on urban air pollution finds significant reductions in benzene, mercury and lead, among other toxics, but that additional reductions are needed, especially in low-income and minority communities.
Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that the data contained in its second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report, sent to Congress as required under the Clean Air Act, showed "considerable gains in improving our air quality across the country."
She declined to say, however, whether EPA is leaning toward a tougher ozone standard proposal, a prospect that has business and industry sounding alarms over what they say would be huge economic costs.
An effort to repeal a change in Alaska’s oil taxes -- which got companies off the hook for big surcharges -- has gone down to a narrow defeat, according to unofficial results from the state Division of Elections, Reuters reports, noting that official results won’t be posted until Sept. 2.
Energy-rich states led the country in economic expansion in the last quarter of 2013, with North Dakota and Wyoming topping the list with an 8.4 percent growth rate, followed by West Virginia and Louisiana, according to data published Wednesday by the Commerce Department, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla. and the target of ads by Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate group for his positions, attended a brief meeting with scientists this week who explained their views about the threat posed by global warming, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Higher gasoline sales may translate into a higher Renewable Fuel Standard, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told an investors’ conference in New York, although she didn’t provide any specific figures, Bloomberg reports.
Worry that weak manufacturing data from China and Europe might slow global demand weighed on oil prices Tuesday, as did a strong dollar. WTI for October delivery plunged $3.08, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $92.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while in London Brent crude slumped $2.45 to hit a 16-month low of $100.34 a barrel, Bloomberg reports.
Republicans from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- who are investigating the influence the Natural Resources Defense Council has on Environmental Protection Agency policy decisions in the wake of a New York Times story on the issue -- have written to the regulators and the environmental advocacy group demanding that they turn over documents, The Hill reports.
The first half of 2014 saw the country’s electricity prices -– averaging 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour -- increasing faster than they have for the last five years, according to statistics from the Energy Information Administration, The Hill reports.
Texas has enough generating capacity to handle autumn demand including potential emergencies, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday, adding that preliminary projections figure the same for winter as well, barring a period of unusually high demand that also coincides with fuel shortages, Platts reports.
George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, told the Texas Tribune in an interview that he believes climate change poses a serious threat for the state, particularly from Gulf coast flooding, adding that he supports more reliance on natural gas and renewable energy for electricity.
Project on Government Oversight investigator Michael Smallberg says Department of Energy waivers allowing national lab consultants to serve on DOE’s Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories run counter to the panel's mandate from Congress, according to E&E, which provides details of the waivers revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Pam Haze, who retired Friday after decades of government service, was the top career budget official at the Interior Department for the past six years, winning plaudits from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, E&E reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have both approved permits for the Formosa Plastics Corp. to start work on expanding its Port Comfort petrochemical facility to include a unit to convert propane to propylene, as well as an ethane cracker, a company spokesman told FuelFix.