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Under Scrutiny for Astroturfing Campaign, Entergy Takes Heat for Missed Clean Energy Goals and Power Outages

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 01:27
Read time: 8 minsSite where Entergy Plans to build a natural gas power plant in New Orleans East

At a June 28 meeting, New Orleans regulators put the city’s public utility Entergy in the hot seat over increasing power outages and slow progress on clean energy goals. City councilmembers showed little patience for the embattled company, which currently is under investigation for its role in paying actors to show support for its proposed $210 million natural gas power plant, approved by the council on March 8.

Tags: entergynew orleansNatural Gas Power Plantsastroturfinghawthorn group
Categories: News

As Industry Pushes Billion-Dollar Fracked Petrochemical Projects, State Regulators Struggle To Keep Up

Sun, 07/01/2018 - 13:00
Read time: 12 minsShell's ethane cracker petrochemical plant under construction in Pennsylvania

Fueled by fracking in the region, petrochemical and plastics projects in the Ohio River Valley are attracting tens of billions of dollars in investment, but as plans for this build-out hit the drawing boards, signs already are emerging that state regulators are unprepared for this next wave of industrialization. And the implications of their inexperience could mean major threats to the region's health and environment.

One of the projects currently underway, an underground natural gas liquids (NLG) storage site — designed to support the construction of several huge petrochemical complexes — is undergoing review by state regulators who have little experience with NGL storage facilities of its size.

Tags: Marcellus shalepetrochemical developmentNatural Gas LiquidsCracker RefineryFracking Plasticsfrackinghydraulic fracturing
Categories: News

News Not to Miss: Oil Train Spill, China Petrochemical Deal, Methane Leaks

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 19:40
Read time: 4 minsOil train cars

It's hard to keep up with the flood of news these days. Here's your weekly round-up of news not to miss from DeSmog.

Justin Mikulka has been on the oil train beat for years. He's documented how the oil boom and pipeline bottleneck in the Bakken Shale has led to more, longer, and heavier trains shuttling oil across North America and how various factors also have led to another type of boom: the literal “boom” of exploding oil trains. (In fact, train operators have given them the nickname “bomb trains.”)

This week, Mikulka writes about the latest oil train incident, this time involving a BNSF train carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, across northwestern Iowa.Tags: oil trainstar sandschinawest virginiapetrochemical developmenthydraulic fracturingfrackingmethane leakspatrick michaels

Categories: News

Minnesota Approves Controversial Enbridge Pipeline Rebuild

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 18:04
Read time: 3 minsEnbridge Line 3 pipeline protester on an Expect Resistance sign

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a controversial rebuild of Line 3 of the Enbridge Energy oil pipeline Thursday, as environmental activists and Native American groups vowed to keep fighting, The Associated Press reported.

Opponents are concerned about the need for new fossil fuel infrastructure and the danger of an oil spill near vulnerable ecosystems in Minnesota, including areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, which is sacred to the Ojibwe.

Tags: Minnesota Public Utilities CommissionMinnesotaEnbridgeEnbridge Line 3 pipelinetar sands pipelines
Categories: News

Rise of the Machines: Fracking Execs Plan Profits by Using Automation to Shrink Workforce

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 15:45
Read time: 6 minsFracking rig workers

At a recent industry conference, Terry Spencer, head of natural gas infrastructure company ONEOK, made clear the direction the fracking industry was headed: “One of these days one of these big ol’ fracs will be operated with nobody there.”

Translation: Computers and robots are going to replace all human jobs at the oil and gas fracking sites of the future.

Tags: fracking financesautomationoil job lossesU.S. Energy Information Administration
Categories: News

Could Proposed Mission Statement Changes Shake NOAA’s Climate Focus?

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 17:23
Read time: 3 minsCyclone satellite image over central U.S.

By Olivia Rosane, Ecowatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the foremost U.S. agency focusing on weather, climate and oceans, reassured reporters Monday that it would not shift its focus away from climate change and conservation after a presentation last week suggested it might do exactly that, USA Today reported.

Last week, acting NOAA head Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet spoke at a Department of Commerce summit and proposed removing “climate” from NOAA's current mission statement and replacing its directive “to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources” with one “To protect lives and property, empower the economy, and support homeland and national security,” the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) reported Sunday.

Tags: NOAANational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationTrump Administrationclimate science
Categories: News

The Latest on Pruitt's Many Scandals: Condo Deal, Emails, Hurricane Coins, and Retaliatory Firing Practices

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 20:02
Read time: 4 minsScott Pruitt

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

It’s been 15 years since George W. Bush stood under a “Mission Accomplished” banner announcing the end to major combat operations in Iraq and becoming a symbol of an out-of-touch politician eager to end an ongoing issue that continues to cost lives. Apparently, Scott Pruitt wants to take political pointers from this historic gaffe.

Back in March, the EPA ordered a bunch of commemorative challenge coins to celebrate the agency’s response to last year’s hurricanes. EPA brass thought it would be a good idea to do this at a time when the agency was only just beginning to get a handle on the Harvey-flooded Houston Superfund site (that the press office attacked an AP reporter for covering) — and, of course, while places in Puerto Rico continued to suffer without power. Unsurprisingly, and like the news about the tragedy itself, this story has gotten overlooked by all the other Pruitt scandals. 

Tags: Scott PruittU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyTrump AdministrationAmerican Petroleum Institute
Categories: News

Derailed Oil Train Spills 230,000 Gallons of Tar Sands in Flooded Iowa River

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 01:25
Read time: 7 minsIowa oil train spill and derailment

On June 22, a train carrying Canadian crude oil derailed in northwestern Iowa, releasing an estimated 230,000 gallons of oil into a flooded river. As a result of the derailment, over 30 rail tank cars ended up in the water, with 14 cars confirmed to have leaked oil.

To put the size of this spill in perspective, an Enbridge pipeline that leaked in Michigan in July 2010 released roughly 1,000,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. Cleanup for this spill, one of the largest inland oil spills on record, took years and more than $1 billion. 

Like the Kalamazoo River spill, the train that derailed in Iowa was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada.

Tags: Bomb TrainsIowaoil spilloil train derailmentoil-by-rail
Categories: News

$83 Billion West Virginia Petrochemical Deal with China on Skids Due to Trade War, Corruption Probe

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:54
Read time: 9 minsBrian Anderson, Woody Thrasher, Jim Justice

Last November, China and West Virginia signed an $83.7 billion dollar, 20-year agreement to build a massive petrochemical hub in the state but that deal may be on hiatus in the midst of a de facto trade war spurred by President Donald Trump and a corruption investigation unfolding in the Mountain State. 

The deal would be worth more than the total gross domestic product of West Virginia, which was $76.8 billion in 2017. China's sizable investment would create a sprawling petrochemical center in West Virginia, focused on storing and refining natural gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the Marcellus Shale. Full details are sealed in a yet-to-be-released Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was inked during a trade mission attended by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last fall in Beijing, China.Tags: Marcellus shaleJim JusticeLiquefied Natural GasLNGMATRICSteptoe & JohnsonBrian AndersonKathy BeckettMid-Atlantic Technology Research and Innovationwest virginiaAppalachia Development GroupWoody ThrasherThe Thrasher Groupfrackinghydraulic fracturingchinaSteven Hedrick

Categories: News

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