WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraq is increasingly turning to other governments like Iran, Russia and Syria to help beat back a rampant insurgency because it cannot wait for additional American military aid, Baghdad's top envoy to the U.S. said Tuesday.
Such an alliance could test the Obama administration's influence overseas and raise risks for the U.S. as some of its main global opponents consider joining forces. Moreover, such a partnership could also solidify a Shiite-led crescent across much of the Mideast at a time when the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq is trying to create an Islamic state through the region.
Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faily stopped short of describing enduring military relationships with any of the other nations that are offering to help Iraq fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. And he said Baghdad would prefer to work with the U.S.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the summer driving season swings into full gear, states can expect a large pothole in their construction budgets if Congress doesn't reach an agreement quickly on how to pay for federal highway and transit programs, President Barack Obama and his top officials are warning.
States will begin to feel the pain of cutbacks in federal aid as soon as the first week in August if lawmakers don't act, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a letter to states. That's because the balance in the federal Highway Trust Fund is dropping and will soon go below $4 billion, the cushion federal officials say is needed for incoming fuel tax revenue to cover outgoing payments to states.
The cuts will vary from state to state but will average about 28 percent, transportation officials said. By the end of August, the trust fund's balance is forecast to fall to zero and the cuts could deepen.
HONOLULU (AP) — A key role of the American troops in Iraq is assessing whether the country's security forces can hold together and whether its leaders are confident they can do their jobs, a top U.S. military official said Tuesday.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters after a speech that some of the 750 troops in Iraq are specifically there to help determine what the United States might do next to help Iraq fight an insurgency.
Some troops are manning a joint operations center with Iraqi security forces to give a better picture of how the situation is evolving, while others are visiting Iraqi units to answer some basic questions, Dempsey said.
Potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival Monday night, applauded the Obama administration’s moves to fight climate change, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules to limit power plant carbon emissions, but said more action was required, The Hill reports.
Democrats changed Senate rules last year to allow confirmation of President Obama’s nominees on a simple majority vote, but there are still more than 200 waiting for lawmakers to take action, leaving key agencies like the EPA’s air program without permanent bosses, and the beleaguered Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board with less than half of its seats filled, E&E reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed new rules to lower emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from new municipal landfills, in its latest step to implement President Barack Obama's climate action plan.
EPA also called for comment on whether it should move to cut methane emissions from existing landfills, though it said it would decide later whether to go forward with any new standard.
Alstom minority shareholders, speaking at the annual general meeting Tuesday, expressed concerns about the agreement to sell most of the company’s energy business to General Electric, Reuters reports, noting that CEO Patrick Kron said the deal will need approval from a two-thirds majority.
Another federal agency has spoken out against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS –- the Small Business Administration wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and a top official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers saying it’s worried about the economic impact of the regulation, The Hill reports.
Saudi Arabia’s move to cut its official crude price has sent oil prices tumbling early Thursday. U.S. benchmark crude sank $2.00 to $88.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent crude plunged $2.15 to $92.01, Reuters reports.
A bearish outlook is taking hold of natural gas prices ahead of an expected announcement of a storage build from the Energy Information Administration combined with a mild October weather forecast, as Wednesday’s settlement for November delivery declined 9.8 cents to $4.023 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, Platts reports.
Goldman Sachs has cut its growth projections for future LNG demand and warns that investors should be wary about the costs of major projects and “realistic about expectations for further contracts,” Bloomberg reports.
State Sen. Kevin de Leon said he wasn’t sure whether to reintroduce legislation to reform the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of his bill, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The U.S. hasn’t achieved complete energy independence despite the impact of the shale boom, according to speakers at a panel discussion in Houston Tuesday evening, who disagreed on how that might be accomplished or if it’s even desirable, The Houston Chronicle reports.
Moves by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to boost the energy efficiency programs aimed at large customers are aimed at saving more than 44,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, Platts reports.
The American Legislative Exchange Council was caught by surprise when Google chief Eric Schmidt said in a radio show that the company was pulling out of ALEC because the organization was “lying” about climate change, new CEO Lisa Nelson told National Journal in an interview, adding that she’s had calls from companies seeking to join despite a recent wave of departure announcements.
Problems encountered by West Texas Guar Inc., which operated a processing facility to extract a thickening agent from the legume guar, has cost investors and farmers millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sierra Oil & Gas, a private company created in the wake of Mexico’s energy reform, has a team with a combined 350 years’ experience and $525 million in financial backing from private equity investors, chief executive Ivan Sandrea told The Wall Street Journal.