SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — The last of several Southern California beaches soiled by last spring's massive oil spill reopened Friday to enthusiastic crowds that quickly jammed its campgrounds to capacity.
Refugio State Beach opened to day visitors at 8 a.m. and began letting overnight campers in at noon, said Eric Hjelstrom, the beach's section superintendent. By early afternoon, its 60 camping spaces were taken.
Five years after the Obama administration promised to move swiftly to permanently plug unused oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, even more shafts are lingering for longer periods with only temporary sealing, an investigation by The Associated Press shows.
It is not clear how many incompletely sealed wells may have leaked — they generally are not monitored as carefully as active wells — but they contain fewer barriers to pent-up petroleum and rupture more easily. The threat to the environment increases with time.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Three tank cars leaked an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil after a train hauling crude from North Dakota derailed in rural northeastern Montana, the latest in a series of wrecks raising concerns across the U.S. and Canada, authorities said Friday.
No one was reported injured in the accident Thursday night that temporarily led to the evacuation of some homes and followed recent oil train crashes including a 2013 derailment in Quebec that exploded and killed 47 people.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Hill lawmakers from Louisiana have intervened on behalf of a New Orleans company that has failed to stop a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico but lobbied for a refund of money reserved for spill containment work, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests.
Since December, at least four members of Louisiana's congressional delegation have urged the Obama administration to take up a settlement proposal by Taylor Energy Company, the letters show. The company is down to one full-time employee and is no longer active in the offshore drilling industry, but its CEO is a prominent philanthropist and generous political donor.
DUBLIN, Va. (AP) — More than 20,000 gallons of lube oil spilled after a freight train was rear-ended by another train traveling in the same direction Tuesday in western Virginia, causing 18 cars and a locomotive to derail, Norfolk Southern said.
The oil, which is commonly used in machinery, spilled from one of the derailed rail cars. Scrap metal spilled from another car. The other cars that went off the tracks were empty, Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay said Wednesday in an email.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal agency that oversees the safety of the nation's pipelines failed to follow through on congressional reforms that could have made a difference in a May break that created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years, a House committee chairman said Tuesday.
In a rare display of agreement on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats on the Energy and Power Subcommittee expressed frustration with inaction by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which has yet to complete more than a dozen requirements outlined in a 2011 federal law.
Workers are still taking steps to prevent drinking water for Highland, Illinois from being contaminated by a crude spill that took place Friday at a Plains All American Pipeline company pumping station, FuelFix reports.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — The effort to track the impact of a crude oil spill on the Santa Barbara coast in May hit beaches this week as far south as Orange County, officials said Saturday.
Tar ball samples were taken Thursday and Friday from Gaviota to Newport Beach, about 170 miles away, for a better reference point of where oil is washing up and to improve reporting, according to a press release from officials overseeing the cleanup.
The Obama administration may be backing away from its insistence that future coal-burning power plants use carbon capture technology, settling instead on a requirement for ultra-supercritical technology in the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, E&E reports.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers argued that the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Rule lacks a sound scientific basis in memos made public by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, The Hill reports.
The Department of Energy has agreed to rework its proposed efficiency standards for walk-in freezers and coolers, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which says it has reached a settlement with the DOE over the issue, The Hill reports.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. says some other Democrats may be willing to go along with him and Sen. Angus King, I-Me., in a willingness to support legislation lifting the ban on U.S. crude exports if it also backs renewable energy such as wind and solar, E&E reports.
Despite data from the Energy Information Administration showing that U.S. crude production peaked at almost 9.7 million barrels a day in March, news of an increase in oil rig count this week piled more pressure on prices. U.S. benchmark crude slumped $1.40, or 2.9 percent, to settle at $47.12 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London, Brent dropped $1.10 to $52.26, its lowest settlement since January, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Chevron is getting nearly a third more oil and gas from its wells in the Permian Basin, and is paying less for oilfield services as well—but even so, its second quarter profits dove 90 percent on lower crude prices, FuelFix reports.
Hess has increased its production forecast for its Bakken Shale operations to up to 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, despite the company dropping the number of rigs it’s operating in the play, Platts reports.
Many witnesses testifying at the first Interior Department hearing on the future of the federal coal program—which was attended by Secretary Sally Jewell—said they wanted to see higher royalty rates to raise more money for U.S. taxpayers, High Country News reports.
Senior creditors for Alpha Natural Resources Inc. will loan money to the beleaguered Virginia-based coal company to help it get through bankruptcy, a filing for which could come as early as Monday, Bloomberg reports.
Although Thursday’s peak demand of 67,624 megawatts didn’t break the all-time record as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas had feared, it's been a huge week for demand, and the grid operator expects high usage throughout the summer, FuelFix reports.