ov. Jay Inslee asked the Union Pacific Railroad on Friday to halt oil train shipments through Washington until the company does more walking inspections of its railroad track. Inslee joins Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who has repeatedly called for a moratorium on oil train traffic.
Minnesota will appeal a federal appellate court’s decision last week that Minnesota’s 2007 clean energy law illegally regulates out-of-state utilities. Gov. Mark Dayton announced the appeal of a decision by a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The state is asking for a “rehearing.” Usually, that would entail an “en banc” review by the entire Eighth Circuit bench, which has more than 12 judges. Such court petitions aren’t easy to get accepted. In a win for North Dakota, the three-judge Eighth Circuit panel upheld a lower-court ruling that Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act interfered with federal law. The state law takes aim at coal, restricting electricity from power plants that increase greenhouse gases. However, North Dakota claimed the law hampered its ability to sell coal-based electricity into Minnesota and therefore to build new coal power plants.
The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Monday to block the handling and storage of coal in Oakland, effectively halting a developer’s controversial plan to ship coal from the port. The new ordinance, which requires a second vote to be made final, would thwart Oakland developer Phil Tagami’s plan to export coal from a terminal near the east end of the Bay Bridge. It’s become the focus of a heated political debate, infuriating environmentalists and labor leaders but garnering support from some West Oakland residents who say it would create vital jobs.
President Obama and his counterparts from Canada and Mexico are preparing to unveil an ambitious new goal for generating carbon-free power when they meet this week in Ottawa. The three leaders are expected to set a target for North America to get 50 percent of its electricity from nonpolluting sources by 2025. That's up from about 37 percent last year. Aides acknowledge that's a "stretch goal," requiring commitments over and above what the three countries agreed to as part of the Paris climate agreement.
As the biofuel industry has developed, there has been a lot of discussion about the linkages between the energy and agricultural markets. The growth of the ethanol and biodiesel sectors bolstered the connection among the oil, gas, and crop markets. As crop-based biofuels compete in the energy market, crop prices are directly impacted not only by the relative standing of biofuels in the fuel hierarchy, but also by general shifts in energy supplies and demands. However, there is another distinct way energy markets can impact crop markets—many US international trade partners are reliant on the energy sector as a major source of income. Thus, energy market swings can translate into significant income movements for those countries, influencing their ability to purchase US agricultural products. In this article, we examine the robustness of treating a key energy commodity—crude oil—as an indicator for income for those oil-reliant countries and investigate how that affects their demand for US crop exports.
North Dakota's Public Service Commission has approved a proposed $153 million wind farm and associated electric transmission line in Oliver and Morton counties.
Officials with Exelon have notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of plans to close the Clinton Nuclear Plant in 2017, marking the first of several procedural notifications Exelon will make in the coming months to inform regulators, grid operators and state agencies of the plant's retirement. The notification is required by federal law. The planned closure of the Quad Cities plant in 2018 also was formally documented with the NRC. Decisions on capital improvements and planning for an outage to refuel the Clinton plant in 2017 are being weighed in light of the pending closure. The decision to retire the plant could be reversed if a compromise is reached in Springfield on energy legislation, but with lawmakers mainly focused on budget issues, the future of nuclear power has not been a priority in legislative talks.
A federal judge has struck down the Obama administration's rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, a victory for oil and gas producers and state regulators who opposed the rules as an egregious overreach. The ruling, which the White House vowed to appeal, halts the administration's efforts to address what it sees as safety concerns in the industry and reverses what producers had seen as a first step toward full federal regulation of all fracking activity. The U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lacked Congressional authority to set fracking regulations for federal and Indian lands, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Wyoming ruled. BLM's rules, issued in their final form in March 2015, would have required companies to provide data on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and to take steps to prevent leakage from oil and gas wells on federally owned land.
A state Senate committee approved new restrictions on North Carolina wind farms near military bases and low-level flight corridors. The measure, which needs approval by the full Senate and House, would allow the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to recommend whether permits for wind farms should be allowed or denied, based on the farms’ expected impact on military bases.
A Raleigh judge dismissed a legal challenge Wednesday to the Amazon Wind Farm, clearing the way for the largest wind farm in the Southeast to continue with construction along the North Carolina coast. The 104-turbine wind farm is a private energy project commissioned by Amazon to power the online retailing giant’s data centers in Virginia. The $400-million wind farm spans an area of 34 square miles and is being built by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables.