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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Wednesday, Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and David Vitter of Louisiana criticized Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy over charges that the Natural Resources Defense Council was the driving force behind the EPA’s rule limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, but McCarthy replied that was a “discredit” to the hard work of her staff, E&E reports.
Madelyn Creedon, formerly assistant secretary of Defense, has received Senate confirmation to become the principal deputy administrator in the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the number two post in the NNSA, National Journal reports.
It’s unlikely any legislation to get states like Louisiana a bigger share of oil and gas revenue will be moving through the Senate anytime soon, and Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was realistic about the hurdles when she spoke about the issue Tuesday, E&E reports.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. considers its best prospects for growth to be in deep water oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico, vice chairman Jim Flores said Wednesday, adding that the company will likely sell off up to $5 billion worth of land-based assets to help pay for it, Bloomberg reports.
Looking back on the failed attempt to repeal the renewable portfolio standard in the state legislature’s recent session, Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for wind energy and urged a compromise between supporters and opponents of renewables, The Wichita Eagle reports.
Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning told reporters Wednesday that his company –- which is already building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia -– hopes to announce plans before the end of 2014 for more nuclear construction using the same AP1000 reactor design, Platts reports.
A Harris poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute found 68 percent of those surveyed support offshore drilling, and Americans likewise back an increase in oil and gas production, FuelFix reports.
The Department of Energy loan program designed to encourage advanced technologies has around a 2 percent default rate and has used only 10 percent of a mandated reserve fund, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Wednesday, The Hill reports.