Policy

CRS report finds oil, gas production down on federal leases, triggers GOP complaints

Source: 
The Hill

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton leveled fresh criticism of President Obama’s energy policies after a report from the Congressional Research Service found that oil and gas production declined on federal leases, The Hill reports.

Maine Senate sustains veto of solar rebate bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate failed to muster enough support Wednesday to revive a bill that would have restored a program that provides rebates for residents and businesses who install solar panels.

Despite strong support in the Democratic-led House earlier this week, the effort to overturn Republican Gov. Paul LePage's veto fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority support it needed in the Senate, killing the bill as lawmakers make their way through the final days of the legislative session.

Energy state Dems in Senate races split from Obama

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that's sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.

Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's also the proven path for the man Tennant wants to replace — retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller — and the state's other senator, Joe Manchin.

Russian economy slows amid Ukraine crisis

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's economy minister says growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the first quarter due to uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine.

Alexei Ulyukayev told parliament Wednesday that the situation had worsened because of "the acute international situation of the past two months," as well as "serious capital flight." More capital left the country in the first three months of 2014 than in all of 2013.

The figure fell far short of the ministry's earlier prediction of 2.5 percent growth.

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."

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