Policy

New firm set to run Yosemite park sites in $2 billion deal

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A new company has been selected to take over hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities at Yosemite National Park under the national park system's most lucrative single contract for services, officials said Wednesday.

Aramark has been offered the 15-year contract valued at $2 billion, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. If the deal is approved, the Philadelphia-based company would replace Delaware North on March 1, the day after the old contract expires.

Jeb Bush on Pope's climate push: Don't politicize faith

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Jeb Bush cautioned against blending politics and religion Wednesday, signaling he will not necessarily heed the pope or pander to social conservatives on policy in his campaign for the Republican nomination.

"I don't think we should politicize our faith," he said, speaking in a state where evangelical Christians wield significant political influence. "I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm."

What's blamed for California's drought? Basically everything

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Mother Nature isn't the only one blamed for California's drought.

The state's historic four-year dry spell has brought with it a flurry of finger-pointing. Now advocates, noting how California's water shortage ranks as the top public concern, are invoking the drought to bolster their own causes.

Alaska gets help from lower 48 states in fighting wildfires

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Firefighters and equipment from the lower 48 states and Canada are arriving in to help battle wildfires burning in the nation's largest state.

Weary firefighters are welcoming the help as they struggle to keep up with two major fires threatening rural highway communities, even as lightning sparked nearly a dozen more blazes.

Record year for renewable power; but heat, transport stay fossil

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector last year, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources, a new study shows.

That's more than the generating capacity of all nuclear reactors in the United States and slightly less than Germany's installed capacity from all power sources.

US, EU ready tough Russia sanctions, in case they're needed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Determined to prevent another Moscow-led rebel advance, the United States and European governments have prepared a new round of penalties targeting Russia's energy and financial sectors as part of a sanctions-in-waiting strategy that officials hope will help the West respond immediately if insurgents push deeper into Ukraine.

The penalties could start with banning more Russian government officials and businessmen from traveling and doing business in the West, U.S. and European officials said. But they can climb dramatically to include new measures to crimp the country's all-important fuel exports, cut Russian banks off from international financial transactions and severely limit the capacity of Russian businesses to engage in lucrative business deals overseas.

Tribal lands could generate renewables, but BIA in the way: Report

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Native American reservations could produce much more of the country's solar and wind energy, but the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs largely has hindered energy development on tribal lands, the investigative arm of Congress has found.

The BIA often has the final say in approving documents that would clear the way for solar, wind, oil, gas and other projects on reservations, although a process is in places for tribes to take control.

Office of Sen. Bill Cassidy

Ethanol foes split on Cassidy’s RFS repeal proposal

A Republican bill that would outright repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard has caused a split among ethanol opponents, with some endorsing the legislation and others calling for a more targeted approach to reform the law.

The bill, introduced this week by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., represents the first legislative crack at the RFS since the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled three years’ worth of blending proposals last month.

World Resources Institute event on water quality trading

Washington, June 18, 2015, 8:30 am

The World Resources Institute to hold launch event for new publication detailing strategies to develop water quality trading programs.

Natural Gas Roundtable featuring Congressional Natural Gas Caucus

Washington, June 18, 2015, 12:30 pm

The American Gas Association to hold its Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon, featuring the co-chairs of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Gene Green, D-Texas, and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

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