Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe is tying his vote to support Environmental Protection Agency administrator nominee Gina McCarthy's confirmation to a reversal of policies he calls a "war on fossil fuels."
Inhofe, a Republican who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on Thursday released a letter he sent earlier in the week to McCarthy asking for responses questions on pending greenhouse gas regulations, EPA's hydraulic fracturing study and two other Clean Air Act issues. He said the answers would determine if he would support her nomination.
A report from the International Energy Agency found carbon emissions from today's energy sources remain similar to levels 20 years ago, a result of stalled climate change efforts and an increase in coal use, Bloomberg reports.
House Republicans plan to hold their first hearing Friday on draft legislation that would block any new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would raise energy prices or cost jobs, their latest bid to thwart the Obama administration's efforts to cut pollution from coal.
House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., scheduled the hearing on the draft, titled the Energy Consumer Relief Act.
The ongoing switch by electricity generators from coal to natural gas last year helped lower U.S. energy sector carbon emissions to their lowest levels since 1994, the Energy Department said Friday.
The drop to about 5.3 billion metric tons of combined output extended the decline in energy-related emissions that began in 2007, save for 2010 when emissions rose slightly as the economy bounced back from the recession.
Dominion Resources on Monday agreed to settle Clean Air Act violations alleged by the Environmental Protection Agency through the prior retirement of one coal-fired power plant and the addition of $325 million in pollution controls at two others that it has agreed to sell.
The utility giant also pledged to pay a $3.4 million penalty and contribute $9.8 million for pollution mitigation projects. The company denied the allegations, spokesman Jim Norvelle said, but agreed to the settlement to avoid going into court.
The major climate bill introduced last week by two key liberal senators would not only impose carbon fees on major energy sources and oil refiners, it would also effectively end President Barack Obama's research and development into "clean coal."
The Energy Department's Office of Fossil Energy Research and Development would be eliminated under the Sustainable Energy Act introduced by Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
The office got about $560 million for its work in 2012 and Obama proposed putting $421 million toward its programs this fiscal year.
EIA reports that rail shipments of crude oil rose 46 percent last year while loadings of coal fell about 11 percent. The trends reflected the oil boom in areas like the Bakken Shale without extensive pipeline capacity, and the decline in coal use in electricity generation.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank officially took on a new set of guidelines to limit financing for coal-fired power plants in foreign nations, with exceptions for plants with carbon-capture systems and those built in poor countries without alternatives, National Journal reports.
The Nuclear Energy Institute criticized the exclusion of nuclear energy from President Obama's recent executive action ordering the federal government to purchase more power from low-carbon sources, saying the move represents a "missed leadership opportunity," Platts reports.
A national poll conducted by Bloomberg reported 56 percent of respondents view the Keystone XL pipeline as positive for U.S. energy security compared with 35 percent who view it as a source of potential environmental damage.
Speaking at a summit on energy and infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said his department is at the forefront of the administration's climate action plan, developing plans for disaster recovery and climate-resilient infrastructure, National Journal reports.
A poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute reports that 80 percent of respondents support the expansion of new energy infrastructure, and 70 percent support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, FuelFix reports.
Dallas will have some of the tightest rules in the country on fracking, following a City Council vote Wednesday that critics say virtually imposes a ban on the practice, the Dallas Morning News reports.