NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP's blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull.
In a study published Monday, scientists say meticulous chemical analysis of samples taken in late 2010 proves that oil from BP PLC's out-of-control Macondo well devastated corals living about 7 miles southwest of the well. The coral community is located over an area roughly the size of half a football field nearly a mile below the Gulf's surface.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority last year in revoking water pollution permits for what could now become West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal coal mine, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday.
In siding with St. Louis-based Arch Coal, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson declared the permits were valid. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had issued the permits for the 2,300-acre Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County.
The explosion in shale gas production is taking a toll on Appalachia where 85 percent of the nation's coal mines operate, with production cuts of at least 21 million tons this year as power utilities favor cheap natural gas, Bloomberg reports.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., blasted the EPA on Tuesday for new air pollution regulations that are designed to protect public health and are said to be forcing closure of a GenOn coal-fired power plant in his district, The Hill reports.
The Australian government pushed a new 30 percent tax on big mining companies through Parliament on Monday but faces an uphill battle to reduce the tax burden on struggling companies outside the booming commodities sector.
The Senate passed the legislation 38 votes to 32, allowing the government to take a bigger slice of profits from a mining boom driven by Chinese and Indian demand for raw materials.
Weekly reports on Thursday dealing with power generation and rail transport from the Edison Electric Institute and American Association of Railroads portray a gloomy picture, as U.S. electricity generation this year and the volume of coal transported by rail were off by 5.4 percent and 7 percent respectively, from a year ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The highest-ranking official charged in the deadly explosion at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine will enter a plea next week.
Former mine superintendent Gary May will appear before U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley, W.Va., on March 22.
May has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government and is apparently cooperating with prosecutors in a continuing criminal investigation of the 2010 blast that killed 29 men. The explosion at the former Massey Energy mine was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in four decades.
Liberal watchdog group Checks and Balances Project said the State Department inspector general is investigating potential conflicts of interests in the department's environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline, The Hill reports.