Policy

Merkel pushes business leaders on free-trade pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that it was critical to complete a free-trade agreement deal between the United States and Europe, urging the American business community to realize that the agreement could open the way for shipping abundant American natural gas supplies to Europe.

After a meeting President Barack Obama that focused on the crisis in Ukraine, Merkel told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that most of the European Union was eager to broaden their energy sources, one third of which come from Russia. A majority of that supply passes through Ukraine. Russia has in the past cut supplies reaching Europe when it shutdown pipeline flows in disputes with Ukraine over payment.

Atlantic Council forum on energy, water, agriculture nexus

Washington, May 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

Atlantic Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation host forum, "Energy, Water, and Agriculture Nexus: Risks and Opportunities." Sandia National Laboratories ecologist Howard Passell among speakers.

EPA to face challenges with air pollution rule despite SCOTUS win

Source: 
E&E

A major legal victory at the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule still leaves the EPA plenty to do to get it implemented, E&E reports.

Republicans move to finish off energy tax credits

Source: 
The Hill

GOP lawmakers – Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas – have introduced bills to end all energy tax credits, Lee would like his to be considered as an amendment to energy efficiency legislation set for a vote next week, The Hill reports.

Bank helps with exports, which creates jobs: Hochberg

Source: 
FuelFix

Fred Hochberg, chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, says lawmakers should re-authorize funding for the institution because it helps to generate billions of dollars in export sales and that generates jobs, FuelFix reports.

EU, Ukraine, Russia to hold gas price talks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The European Union said Friday it will hold gas price talks this month with Russia and Ukraine in an effort to avoid any disruption of deliveries.

EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said after a meeting between the three sides in Warsaw that common ground must be found in Russia's dispute with Ukraine. After Kiev signed a cooperation pact with the EU instead of with Russia, Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula and is accused by the EU and U.S. of fomenting unrest in Ukraine's eastern region.

Moscow also hiked the price of gas for Ukraine to $485 per thousand cubic meters from $268.50, and threatened to limit deliveries if Kiev does not respect that new price and repay a debt of $3.5 billion.

Chief of Calif.’s troubled toxics regulator moving on

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

Debbie Raphael, who worked to reform California’s much-criticized Department of Toxic Substances Control, is leaving after three years heading the agency, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama, Merkel to display unity against Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are putting on a display of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's reasoning on Ukraine.

Days after the United States and the European Union slapped Moscow with a new round of sanctions, Merkel was to hold meetings, a working lunch and a joint news conference with Obama on Friday. The German chancellor comes to the White House buoyed by a decisive re-election victory late last year but facing pressure from all sides as Europe seeks to toe a hard line against Russia on Ukraine without harming its own economic interests.

Kansas lawmakers back away from prairie chicken fines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators who seemed ready to pursue fines of up to $1,000 against federal employees who attempt to regulate prairie chickens in the state backed off that proposal Thursday night in favor of a less confrontational protest against the U.S. government.

House and Senate negotiators agreed on the wording of a bill declaring that the federal government lacks the authority over prairie chickens or their habitats in Kansas. The measure is a response to the federal government's decision last month to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, though the measure also asserts state sovereignty over the larger, darker and more abundant greater prairie chicken.

The final version will allow the attorney general to sue to block federal actions, something the House had suggested. Republican senators initially wanted to make it a felony for federal employees to attempt to regulate prairie chickens but then suggested fines as a compromise.

Energy Guardian

LaFleur nominated for second term at FERC

The White House late Thursday said that President Barack Obama will nominate Cheryl LaFleur, the acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to a second term as a commissioner.

LaFleur was first appointed to the commission in 2010 to a term that expires this year. She has been acting chairman since the departure last fall of the former chairman Jon Wellinghoff.

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