Policy

NY ban on fracking waste proposed by Democrats

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Shipping hydraulic fracturing waste product into the state for treatment or disposal would be banned under legislation introduced Tuesday by Democrats in the state Senate.

The four bill released by the minority conference Tuesday would also ban the waste from being used to melt ice off roads and bar treatment facilities and landfills from accepting the byproduct.

Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to extract oil and gas from rock formations.

Lawmaker: Washington state coal plan hurts Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Republican congressman from Montana said Monday that his state's power generation and mining industries would suffer under a Washington state proposal to cut carbon pollution by eliminating imports of coal-fired power.

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines called on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to reconsider an executive order the Democrat signed in April to reduce Washington's greenhouse gas emissions. Inslee's plan includes phasing out electricity generated from burning coal, although no timeline has been established.

Pipeline, energy bill backers vow to keep up fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of a popular energy savings bill and the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline say they will keep trying to force Senate action on the measures, even after they were defeated amid partisan gridlock in the Senate.

The energy legislation would tighten efficiency guidelines for new federal buildings and provide tax incentives to make homes and commercial buildings more efficient. The pipeline measure would force a decision by President Barack Obama on the long-delayed project to carry oil from Canada to the United States.

Both proposals fell victim to election-year politics Monday night, as a procedural motion to end debate on the energy bill without amendments fell five votes short of the 60 votes needed for approval. The demise of the energy bill also sealed the fate of the pipeline measure. Senate Democratic leaders said the pipeline vote could occur only after Senate action on an unamended energy bill.

Associated Press

Senate shelves Shaheen-Portman bill

Bipartisan energy efficiency legislation failed to advance in the Senate on Monday, as backers were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster. 

The 55-36 vote fell short of the 60-vote margin needed to end general debate.

The bill, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was expected to die after Republicans said last week they would not agree to an up-or-down vote offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. that did not allow them to offer amendments. 

The defeat also ends an offer by Reid to hold a separate vote on a Keystone XL pipeline approval bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Three of the seven Republican sponsors of the efficiency bill voted against the motion to end the filibuster. They were Hoeven, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

The vote likely means no energy legislation will move in the Senate this year, outside of a bill to renew expired tax breaks that includes incentives for renewable energy production, alternative vehicles and biofuels.

EnergyGuardian

DOE has more work ahead to revamp loan office, IG says

More than half of the planned reforms to Energy Department's controversial $30 billion loan guarantee program have yet to be completed, an internal watchdog reported Monday, even as Secretary Ernest Moniz moves to put billions of dollars behind more renewable and fossil energy projects.

Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman, in an audit report issued Monday, said that just four of 12 changes recommended by White House consultant Herb Allison two years ago are fully in place.

UN's nuclear probe of Iran falters

VIENNA (AP) — A once-promising U.N. attempt to probe suspicions that Tehran worked on atomic arms is faltering — and with it, hopes that Iran and six world powers can meet their July target date for an overarching nuclear deal.

With efforts to draft the text of an agreement starting in Vienna on Wednesday, both sides say that meeting the informal July 20 deadline remains possible. The U.S. administration gives it a 50-50 chance, and Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said the talks are progressing at an "unexpectedly fast pace."

The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany want to reduce Iran's present nuclear weapons-making potential. Tehran has been engaging with them over the past six months in exchange for full sanctions relief, even though it insists it has no interest in such arms.

Draft letter signals EPA may tighten ozone standard

Source: 
E&E

The current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion in the air could come down, if a draft letter written by an Environmental Protection Agency science advisory panel is any indication, E&E reports.

McCarthy addresses Association of Climate Change Officers

Washington, May 13, 2014, 8:30 am

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy delivers keynote address to Association of Climate Change Officers climate forum.

Oil

ND: Spill reported at oil well near Tioga

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Oil and Gas Division says a spill occurred at an oil well near the town of Tioga in the state's western oil patch.

The incident occurred at the Ron Burgandy 3-23-14H well, eight miles northwest of Tioga. The well is owned by Denver-based Emerald Oil.

Obama climate change panel to meet in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Eight governors were expected to join with local and tribal leaders Tuesday at a two-day event to discuss climate issues.

The Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience meeting will take place at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines. Mayor Frank Cownie will host the meeting, which is the third of four such events around the country organized by the White House as part of President Barack Obama's efforts to address climate change.

"The idea is, what are the issues that we all deal with and how do we apply best practices?" Cownie said.

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