Politics

McConnell win tops news from Tuesday's primary elections in 6 states

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The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, fended off a tea party challenger on Tuesday to set up an expensive November contest against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes and McConnell won their parties' nominations as Kentucky and five other states held primary contests ahead of November's mid-term elections.

Also picking Senate nominees Tuesday were voters in Oregon, Georgia and Arkansas. Oregon Republicans were choosing a challenger to first-term Sen. Jeff Merkley, who only recently emerged as a GOP target. Georgia had a crowded GOP race that is headed to a July runoff.

La. process for handling 'legacy lawsuits' to change

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State laws governing disputes over how to handle the cleanup of environmental damage caused by drilling years ago have been reworked under a bill supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal and now headed to his desk.

Final legislative passage came Tuesday with a 27-12 Senate vote, over the objections of senators who said it was inappropriate to make the new rules retroactively apply to cover hundreds of long-running lawsuits.

Sen. Robert Adley's bill changes the complex legal process for dealing with "legacy lawsuits" that seek compensation from energy companies that leased property and are blamed for damage from the drilling, such as contamination of ground water resources.

Ohio clean energy fight intensifies as vote nears

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Faith leaders are highlighting a historic church honored for energy efficiency improvements as they seek an audience with Republican Gov. John Kasich on legislation halting phase-in of Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency standards.

The House Public Utilities Committee plans a vote Wednesday on a bill pausing rollout of targets for how much renewable energy, such as solar and wind, Ohio utilities must generate by 2025.

The bill's opponents have stepped up efforts this week. They aired a television ad, released research findings and lodged protests aimed at drawing the attention of lawmakers and the governor.

Senate bill seeks NC fracking permits next year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The effort to get the exploration of natural gas in North Carolina using a process called fracking started next year is moving ahead at the legislature.

The Senate scheduled debate Wednesday on how rules being developed by a commission to regulate hydraulic fracturing will be handled by the General Assembly once they're finalized by year's end. The bill says the first permits could be issued starting in July 2015.

Oklahoma legislative panels OK drilling incentive

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill that would adjust a generous tax incentive for horizontally drilled oil and gas wells and extend it to all wells drilled in Oklahoma has cleared budget committees in the House and Senate.

The measure approved on Tuesday next will be considered by the full House and Senate.

The bill would increase the tax rate on horizontal wells from 1 percent to 2 percent for the first three years of a well's production. After that, the rate would increase to the standard production tax rate of 7 percent.

House approves $12 billion-plus water bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed the closest thing so far this year to an infrastructure bill — a $12 billion-plus bipartisan measure authorizing 34 water projects, ranging from flood protection in California and North Dakota to deepening the Port of Savannah and widening a Texas-Louisiana waterway that services the oil industry.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed Tuesday on a 412-4 vote. Lawmakers shook off criticism from conservative and watchdog groups like Heritage Action and Taxpayers for Common Sense that argued the bill should have done more to rein in wasteful government spending.

Opponents of Ohio freeze on efficiency, renewable standards launch ads

Source: 
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The television ad launched by opponents of an Ohio measure to freeze the state’s energy efficiency and renewable standards claims that it would threaten jobs and hike electricity bills, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Republicans facing off _ for chance to face Dems

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell looked to vanquish a tea party challenger, and nearly a dozen candidates vied for spots on the Georgia ballot for fall elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate — highlights Tuesday night of party primaries that spread across six states.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, ran unopposed for their party nominations, pointing toward their highly anticipated battle in November as the GOP labors to gain a majority.

Pennsylvania Democrats eager to gain control of their statehouse sorted through four contenders vying to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who faces an uphill battle for re-election in November.

GOP ad barrage starts in NC, to move onto Alaska, Ark., Colo.

Source: 
The Washington Post

The Karl Rove-founded Republican Crossroad groups – super PAC American Crossroads and non-profit Crossroads GPS – on Tuesday kick off more than $9 million in ad campaigns in four key Senate races, starting in North Carolina where Thom Tillis is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, The Washington Post reports.

Industry raises most, as war chest for Colorado energy fight tops $5M

Source: 
The Denver Post

Committees in Colorado organizing supporters and opponents of local government control over drilling have raised more than $5 million to campaign on November ballot measures, The Denver Post reports, noting that most cash is flowing to those against, backed by the energy industry.

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