Canada urges US to decide on Keystone XL pipeline

TORONTO (AP) — Canada's foreign minister said Thursday it's time for the Obama administration to make a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline even if the answer is no.

"The time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one," John Baird said during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. "We can't continue in this state of limbo."

Obama is expected to decide early this year on the pipeline, which is under review at the State Department. Some advocates fear another delay with the US mid-term elections approaching.

GOP launches offensive against Obama climate plan

Senate Republicans on Thursday fired multiple broadsides at President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency over his climate agenda, accusing them of taking steps to delay a planned greenhouse gas rule on new coal-fired power plants past the November elections and ignoring federal energy law.

Republicans also announced their intent to force a pre-emptive Senate floor vote on the proposed new plants rule under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers an avenue to overrule agency regulations, though one that faces long odds of success.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. introduced the resolution, co-signed by 40 Republican senators.

Senate Energy business meeting on pending nominations

Washington, January 16, 2014, 9:30 am

Senate Energy and Natural Resources holds business meeting to vote on pending Interior Department and Energy Department nominations.

Company in W.Va. chemical spill cited at 2nd site

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The company responsible for the chemical spill in West Virginia moved its chemicals to a nearby plant that has already been cited for safety violations, including a backup containment wall with holes in it.

As a result, state officials may force the company to move the chemicals to a third site.

Inspectors on Monday found five safety violations at Freedom Industries' storage facility in Nitro, about 10 miles from the spill site in Charleston. The spill contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people, and about half of them were still waiting for officials to lift the ban on tap water.

W.Va. spill shows vulnerability of water supply

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — It's a nightmare scenario that became all too real in West Virginia: a chemical seeped into the water supply and threatened to sicken hundreds of thousands of people.

While no one became seriously ill from last week's chemical spill, some homeland security experts said the emergency was proof the United States has not done nearly enough to protect water systems from accidental spills or deliberate contamination.

Officials found out about the spill when people started calling in complaints about a strong licorice-type smell in the air. West Virginia American Water, which supplies 300,000 people with water in the central part of the state, said it would not have detected the chemical because it's not a substance utilities test for. Before the spill, no standards existed for measuring the chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, in water, the utility said.

Some in Congress pressing for limits on commodities trading

The New York Times

It's time for the Federal Reserve to finally take action to limit banks' involvement in commodities trading, blamed for boosting prices including energy prices, said lawmakers at a Senate hearing Wednesday, The New York Times reports.

Energy Guardian Photo

Analysis: Liberals ready to help, and push, Obama on climate

The appearance by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley on Thursday at a Senate hearing is being billed as a review of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan. 

But their time before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is more than that. It represents an alliance between liberal Senate Democrats and Obama that will see each depend on the other as he imposes new greenhouse gas regulations on power plants and takes other climate actions.

House Natural Resources business meeting on subpoenas

Washington, January 16, 2014, 10:00 am

House Natural Resources Committee meets to consider authorizing subpoenas for documents sought by the committee on  Secure Rural Schools sequestration, stream buffer rule drafting, enforcement of wildlife and endangered species laws and suspected conflicts of interests among current and former Interior Department employees. 

House passes $1.1 trillion bill to fund government

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $1.1 trillion spending bill for operating the government until just before next fall's election steamed through the battle-weary House on Wednesday over tepid protests from tea party conservatives, driven by a bipartisan desire to restore painful cuts in domestic and defense programs and show disaffected voters that Congress can do its job.

The bill swept through the House on a 359-67 vote and was on track for a big Senate vote by week's end. Republicans voted for the bill by a 2 1/2-1 margin, and just three Democrats were opposed.

Energy Guardian Photo

Donohue vows Chamber will 'embarrass' Obama on Keystone XL

The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday pledged to make the inaction on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline "an embarrassment" for the Obama administration, as part of the lobby's push for greater production and use of fossil fuels.

"That is the most blatant political decision that has been made in this country in a long time and it is going to turn out to be an embarrassment for the people that made it, and that's because we plan to keep talking about it," the chamber's president Tom Donohue told an audience in Washington.


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