US: No link to Russian gov't in plane downing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.

The intelligence officials were cautious in their assessment, noting that while the Russians have been arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Oops! EPA goes off topic, tweets about Kardashian

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency's fight to clean up water pollution got a splash of pop culture Tuesday, thanks to an Internet flub involving reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

The verified Twitter account for the EPA's Office of Water mistakenly published a message Monday night about an online game, "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," in which players walk red carpets, attend photo shoots and get dolled up like a Kardashian. An agency spokeswoman said the off-topic tweet was done by an intern.

Senate panel approves Vietnam nuclear agreement

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam, as Washington looks to expand its relationship with its former Southeast Asian foe.

The agreement would allow U.S. companies into Vietnam's expanding market for nuclear power. The U.S. and Vietnamese governments reached the agreement in October, and it was approved by President Barack Obama in February this year. It now has to be endorsed by the full Senate. The prospects for passage remain uncertain.

Moniz, Fanning address Bipartisan Policy Center forum on energy innovation

Washington, July 23, 2014, 8:30 am

Bipartisan Policy Center forum, "Driving Resources into Energy Innovation." Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning among speakers.

House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on modernizing environmental regulations

Washington, July 23, 2014, 10:00 am

House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee hearing, "Modernizing the Business of Environmental Regulation and Protection." State and expert witnesses.

Business groups vow court challenge of EPA carbon plan

Manufacturing, refiner and business executives on Tuesday called on the Obama administration to pull back its proposed carbon regulations on existing power plants, which they've threatened to oppose in court.

"We're all going to tell the EPA that this regulation is simply not workable," during the agency's planned public listening sessions next week, said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Senators urge new sanctions against Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading Democratic senators want harsh new measures against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. They are also asking President Barack Obama to add a Ukrainian rebel group to a U.S. terrorism blacklist.

In a letter to Obama, Sens. Bob Menendez, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin say Russia's defense, energy and finance sectors should be targeted for sanctions. They say Russian must halt weapons, equipment and training to separatists in eastern Ukraine. The senators also ask Obama to consider designating the "Donetsk People's Republic" a foreign terrorist organization.

Ex-miner asks Congress for help on black lung

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired coal miner who suffers from black lung disease urged Congress on Tuesday to help clear a backlog of claims of fellow miners who have the disease.

"I look to y'all to help us to get that which we need," Robert Bailey of Princeton, West Virginia told senators at a Capitol Hill hearing. "I would like to see that Congress step in and do make some changes to help process these claims" that are taking too long.

Infrastructure, renewables major topics of energy session with Moniz Monday

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was talking about infrastructure challenges in the age of drilling in the Bakken and Marcellus Shale, while he was being questioned about the role of renewable and sustainable energy over the long term, during a session at Carnegie Mellon University Monday that was linked to the Obama administration's Quadrennial Energy Review, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

O’Malia quits CFTC, effective early August


In an abrupt move, Scott O’Malia, a Republican on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has tendered his resignation to President Obama effective Aug. 8, after spending more than four years as a CFTC regulator, Platts reports.


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