EPA: Duke done dredging coal ash from NC river

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy has completed removal of large pockets of coal ash from the Dan River months after a massive spill at a North Carolina power plant, federal environmental officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's on-scene coordinator, Myles Bartos, said Duke had dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment that settled against a dam in Danville, Virginia. Another 500 tons was recovered from other pockets in the river and settling tanks at two municipal water treatment plants in Virginia.

Risk of earthquake increased for about half of US

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about half of the United States and lowers it for nearly a quarter of the nation.

The U.S. Geological Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.

Obama pushes transportation money at closed bridge

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Barack Obama announced a new program Thursday to attract more private money to help pay to build new roads, bridges and highways as he criticized Congress for refusing to approve a more lasting source of transportation funding.

The new program is designed to encourage collaboration between state and local governments and private-sector investors, expand the market for public-private partnerships and make greater use of federal credit programs.

Obama's second-in-command at EPA resigns

WASHINGTON (AP) — The No. 2 environmental official under President Barack Obama is resigning to head a nonprofit group dedicated to energy and climate change.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday announced the resignation of Bob Perciasepe. He was appointed deputy administrator in 2009 as the Obama administration tapped the EPA to tackle pollution blamed for global warming.

Putin: US sanctions hurt bilateral ties, US firms

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Thursday lamented the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, saying they will stalemate bilateral relations and hurt not only Russian but also American businesses.

Russia's benchmark MICEX was down 2.9 percent in late afternoon trading Thursday upon news of the sanctions while Russia's biggest oil company, Rosneft, was nearly 5 percent down and second-largest oil producer was trading 9 percent lower.

US trying to determine why jet down in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration scrambled Thursday to determine what brought down a passenger jet in Ukraine and whether any Americans were killed in an incident that could worsen the already tense conflict near the Ukraine-Russia border.

President Barack Obama made no mention of who might be responsible for the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people, but said the incident appeared to be a "terrible tragedy."

Russian energy firms look to Chinese loans to offset sanctions

The New York Times

Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom have increasingly looked to China for loans, a development that could help to negate the impact of European Union and U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for aggression in Ukraine, The New York Times reports.

Opponents paint Australian carbon tax repeal as climate retreat

The New York Times

The move by the Australian government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott to repeal a two-year-old carbon tax drew outrage from environmentalists and opposing politicians, saying the repeal makes Australia the only country to scale back progress on climate change, The New York Times reports.

State regulators end conference focused on carbon rule deadline


EPA proposals to limit carbon emissions from power plants dominated conversation at the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners meeting, and the conference ended with some state regulators concerned about the work to be done on approaching deadlines, E&E reports.

Scott administration agrees to meet with climate scientists

The Associated Press

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, R, said his administration is open to meeting a group of ten climate scientists who requested an opportunity to brief him on the threat climate change poses to Florida, The Associated Press reports.


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