Policy

Unprecedented sage grouse protection deal signed in Nevada

RENO, Nev. (AP) — An unprecedented attempt to protect sage grouse habitat across parts of more than 900 square miles of privately owned land in Nevada will begin under a deal Thursday involving the federal government, an environmental group and the world's largest gold mining company.

The agreement comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approaches a fall deadline for a decision on whether to protect the greater sage grouse, a bird roughly the size of a chicken that ranges across the West, under the Endangered Species Act.

Oil

Shell cuts staff numbers in North Sea operations

LONDON (AP) — Shell U.K. says it will cut at least 250 staff and contractors in the North Sea, amid sharp drops in the price of oil.

The oil company said Thursday the cuts are part of a range of initiatives it has been pursuing to manage costs and improve competitive performance.

Extortion behind attack on U.S. firm: Mexican prosecutor

Source: 
The Associated Press

A Mexican state prosecutor says a subsidiary of U.S. company Key Energy Services Inc. was attacked in southern Mexico because it refused to pay protection money, The Associated Press reports.

First since Fisker: Alcoa to get DOE loan for factory

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

A revived Department of Energy program to provide loans to promote fuel efficient vehicles will give Alcoa $259 million to expand a Tennessee sheet metal factory that supplies the auto industry, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Fast-track trade waiting on Wyden in committee

Source: 
National Journal

Finance Committee chair Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, had wanted the full Senate to be debating fast track trade authority for the president by now, but the issue is being held up in committee by uncertainty from ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., National Journal reports.

House panel says Obama to ask CSB chief to quit

Source: 
National Journal

President Obama will request the resignation of Rafael Moure-Eraso, head of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board -- three months before his term is set to finish -- after lawmakers from both parties urged the White House to take the step, an aide to the House Science Committee told National Journal.

Obama highlights benefits of trade on small businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama met with mayors and owners of small businesses at the White House on Wednesday to highlight the benefits of trade on a broad swath of the economy.

Participants included Mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Bob Buckhorn of Tampa, Florida, as well as nine small-business owners from across the country. The meeting was part of Obama's push for trade policies that face opposition within the Democratic Party.

Report: Diversity of New England plant life is threatened

BOSTON (AP) — From picturesque coastal estuaries of Cape Cod to the soaring White Mountains, much of New England's rich native flora is fighting for survival against increasing odds, according to what conservationists call the most comprehensive accounting ever made of the region's plant life.

The report, to be released Thursday by the New England Wild Flower Society, studied more than 3,500 known plant species and determined that 22 percent are considered rare, in decline, endangered or possibly extinct. Many plants also range over a much smaller geographical area than they once did.

House GOP issues subpoena for EPA chief's text messages

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Science Committee issued a subpoena Wednesday to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking her text messages and other electronic communications.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he was left with no alternative but to issue the subpoena after the EPA refused to provide complete records in response to the committee's repeated requests for all emails and text messages sent by McCarthy and other top officials.

Schlumberger to pay $232 million in sanctions violations case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's largest oil services company, Schlumberger Ltd., has agreed to a penalty of more than $232 million and one of its subsidiaries will plead guilty to trade sanctions violations, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The criminal case against Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd. resolves a yearslong investigation into allegations that the wholly owned subsidiary had illegally conducted business from Texas with Sudan and Iran in violation of U.S. economic sanctions.

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