Zack Colman - 06/06/13 02:03 PM ET
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Thursday that the White House won’t allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean while House Republicans are putting the finishing touches on legislation to do so.
“We’ve done a five-year plan — it doesn’t include the Atlantic. I don’t expect to go back on that,” Jewell told reporters Thursday after a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
President Obama’s five-year drilling plan, which runs through 2017, doesn't offer any lease sales in Atlantic or Pacific coastal waters. A 2010 draft of his plan included Atlantic waters, but Obama pulled back on it following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill later that year.
That’s irked Republicans, who want oil and gas firms to have more access to offshore waters.
Earlier Thursday, a subpanel of the House Natural Resources Committee discussed a bill that would open the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to drilling.
Jewell’s remark hints strongly that Obama would veto the bill should it ever get to his desk — but Republicans plan to forge ahead regardless.
The legislation (H.R. 2231) from committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) is similar to a bill he sponsored last year that cleared the GOP-controlled House.
That bill picked up no traction in the Senate. It's unlikely to see the light of day this session, though some Senate Democrats have warmed to the idea.
Hastings's bill would require Obama to submit another five-year plan — this one ending in 2020 — that includes zones off the coasts of California, South Carolina and Virginia.
The bill “clearly states that the president's plan is unacceptable and it requires him to put a new offshore leasing plan in place by 2015,” Hastings said Thursday in his opening remarks.
“In contrast to the president's no-new energy plan, this is a drill-smart plan that focuses energy production in
Zack Colman - 06/06/13 03:36 PM ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thurdsay said the Senate will hold a vote on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline
“There’s going to come a time when we'll vote on it. That's fine. It doesn't bother me at all,” Reid said during a Thursday media call without providing a timeline for action.
In March, the Senate endorsed the Canada-to-Texas pipeline in a nonbinding amendment to the Senate Democratic budget. That measure garnered 62 supporters, 17 of which were Democrats — though some downplayed their votes.
The controversial oil sands project is under federal review at the State Department. Its builder, TransCanada Corp., needs a cross-border permit from the White House to complete Keystone’s northern leg.
Reid hinted a vote would happen because Republicans have been insistent on it.
"I would assume they would offer amendments any time they want," Reid said.
He said the GOP's push for a Keystone vote has held up other efforts, referencing comprehensive energy efficiency legislation sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
The bill's path to the floor has faced obstacles because of disagreements on amendments. That's similar to last year, when Democrats and Republicans alike derailed it because they wanted to tack messaging bills to the legislation.
“I have tried to get it on the floor. I tried to do it before immigration,” Reid said. “The Tea Party-driven House — and, frankly, Senate — makes it very difficult.”
The bill, which has support from industry, labor and green groups, would encourage the adoption of energy savings technologies and techniques at residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
Still, Reid said the bill could end up being a vehicle for a Keystone vote. That could represent a turn from last year, in which several Senate aides have said attempts to add a attach Keystone...
Joanna Schroeder – June 6th, 2013
The American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a brief with the Supreme Court this week regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a blend of E15, 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. API claims that the ethanol fuel blend has been shown to damage millions of cars on the road.
“E15 could leave millions of consumers with broken down cars and high repair bills,” said Bob Greco, API group downstream director. “It could also put motorists in harm’s way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA’s dangerous E15 mandate before it’s too late. ”
Greco went on to say that ethanol and other renewable fuels play an important role in our transportation fuel mix, but we cannot allow a mandate for ethanol that exceeds what is safe for consumers. He is asking for the EPA to immediately finalize the 2013 ethanol mandate and lower the 2014 mandate.
The ethanol industry has been fighting claims that ethanol damages engines for many years even though E15 is the most tested fuel in the history of the U.S. Ron Lamberty, senior vice president for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) said of API’s latest attempt: “API is basically presenting evidence to prove they will do whatever they can to keep from having to compete with any other fuels.”
“Big Oil will take any approach available to delay E15 implementation while continuing its public smear campaign against it,” continued Lamberty. “API’s press statement – ostensibly about their court petition – is instead a replay of anti-ethanol misinformation campaign “greatest hits” which have nothing to do with the legal issues continued in their appeal.”
Lamberty pointed out that EPA did its due diligence before approving E15. He concluded, “The DC Circuit Court was right to throw out Big Oil’s legal
Elise Viebeck - 06/06/13
President Obama's signature healthcare law is more unpopular than ever as officials prepare to implement its largest provisions, according to a new poll.
NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that 49 percent of people call the Affordable Care Act a bad idea, while about four in 10 say they will be worse off under the law.
Thirty-seven percent call the reform a good idea. A plurality, 39 percent, said the law won't make a difference to them, while 19 percent said it will leave them better off.
The figures reflect the strongest doubts about ObamaCare recorded since 2009, when NBC/WSJ first surveyed the question, and 2010, when Obama signed the bill into law.
The share of people who say healthcare reform is a bad idea has also risen since last year, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the law. In July 2012, 44 percent said the reform was a bad idea, while 40 percent said it was a good idea.
The next six months will be critical for the Obama administration as it struggles to meet several major deadlines, particularly the launch of the new health insurance exchanges.
Public support for the marketplaces will be crucial to their success, and federal health officials have promised major education campaigns over the summer encouraging people to enroll.
Previous surveys have suggested that the public is widely confused about the facts of healthcare reform, adding to the Obama administration's task.
An April poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about four in 10 were unsure if the Affordable Care Act remains on the books.
The new NBC/WSJ poll found deep divisions on the law correlating with political party and whether the individual has health insurance.
Democrats said the law would leave them better off by a margin of 35 percent to 11 percent. Republicans strongly said the opposite, 67 percent
Zack Colman - 06/06/13 12:33 PM ET
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said she hasn’t heard many complaints from the oil-and-gas industry about the Obama administration’s draft hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, rule.
“I’ve met with a lot of representatives of the oil industry and I don’t hear a lot of objections to the rule. We’re talking about a minimum standard for federal land,” Jewell told reporters Thursday following a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
Jewell’s comments came after she announced the Interior Department would extend the comment period on the proposed Bureau of Land Management rule by 60 days.
The draft rule, which was revised from an earlier version, drew fire from both the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), though, said that "many questions still remain."
"[T]his new rule has the potential to significantly slow domestic energy production, as well as damage national, state, and local economies. An additional layer of regulation must be carefully scrutinized and the last thing we need are rules that create confusion in the regulatory process,” Erik Milito, API director of upstream and industry operations, said in a Thursday statement.
Oil-and-gas groups want states to continue regulating fracking, and argue federal requirements would be duplicative.
Green groups, however, say the rule is too weak.
Jewell said those responses were likely a good sign.
“Well, I think if you’re making both sides mad then that probably means that you’re hitting the middle ground,” she told reporters.
The draft rule governs fracking on federal lands. It proposes establishing reporting requirements for chemicals used in the fracking process and setting guidelines for well integrity and managing so-called flowback water.
Fracking is a drilling method that injects
June 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm by Zain Shauk
A corn-based bubble is building on the horizon, with expectations of a large oversupply of high-priced ethanol that has nowhere to go.
The phenomenon is a product of environmental requirements and subsidies that are currently leading refiners to buy ethanol at record prices, according to analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Refiners and other parties that produce fuels are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to buy supplies of ethanol to blend with their gasoline. For each gallon of ethanol they blend into their fuel, refiners get a credit, also known as a Renewable Identification Number, or RIN.
Refiners need to acquire a set amount of RINs annually to meet EPA requirements, and can also do so by buying RINs from other parties.
Ethanol mandate: Unusual allies fight renewable fuel standard
While the current supply of corn-based ethanol is down, because of a drought that affected production, output is expected to grow to levels that will leave the country with an oversupply of the fuel that will go unused unless something changes.
That’s because the EPA is requiring refiners to buy more ethanol at a time when fuel makers say they can’t blend any more of it into their gasoline.
The nation’s consumption of gasoline is falling and refiners say they can only replace 10 percent of their main gasoline blend with ethanol.
Ten percent of the nation’s expected 2013 gasoline consumption 13.3 billion gallons, a volume of ethanol that would fall within the mandate this year. But 10 percent of gasoline consumption will likely fall short of mandates in the future, EIA analyst Sean Hill said.
While the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy have insisted that gasoline blends including as much as 15 percent ethanol is safe for most vehicles, automakers and the oil industry have disagreed.
Without marketing more of a
June 6, 2013 at 9:07 am by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
U.S. regulators are giving the oil industry and other stakeholders more time to weigh in on a controversial proposal to stiffen standards for wells drilled on federal lands, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell pledged Thursday.
At issue is a proposed rule from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management that aims to boost the integrity of oil and gas wells to prevent contamination, would force companies to disclose the chemicals they pump underground and would make drillers adopt plans for managing water at the sites.
Both environmentalists and oil industry leaders had pleaded for extra time to examine the 171-page proposal unveiled last month.
Jewell said she would allow an extra 60 days for stakeholders to vet the proposed rule, giving a full three months for review.
“That will give ample time for people to express their views on it,” Jewell said, “but we do need to get on with (updating) this regulation that has been over 30 years in place (as) technology has moved forward.”
During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Jewell said the extension was designed “to provide an opportunity for people to comment on those rules, to determine whether it is problematic for them.”
An extra two months should be plenty, Jewell said.
“I think that will be plenty of time for them to get comments in,” Jewell told reporters after the hearing. “Many of them have already formulated their comments. It just gives them a little breathing space.”
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management proposed a similar regulation last year but then withdrew it after a flood of critical responses. Stakeholders had 120 days to weigh in on last year’s proposal.
The new measure has drawn widespread opposition from the oil industry even though it includes a number of concessions geared toward that sector. F
06/06/2013 by Dan Haugen
As the population grows, the economy improves and the climate warms in its service territory, Xcel Energy projects rising demand for electricity on hot summer days before the end of the decade.
On April 15, the Minnesota utility proposed meeting that new peak demand by building three 215-megawatt natural gas power plants — one in the Twin Cities and another two in North Dakota.
Six weeks later, though, Xcel and other investor-owned utilities in Minnesota were presented with a new legislative mandate to generate 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar by 2020.
The state’s new solar standard is expected to spur development of an estimated 450 megawatts of solar power over the next six and a half years, which raises the question: does Xcel still need all three of those gas peaking plants?
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which has already agreed to the need for more generation, will meet today to consider whether some of that need could be met with solar power instead of fossil fuels.
The commission is charged with choosing the best plan for ratepayers from five possible proposals, including Xcel Energy’s natural gas plants and a renewable developer’s plan to install more than 30 solar arrays strategically spread across Xcel’s territory.
The renewable company, Geronimo Energy, says its 100-megawatt distributed solar project could economically supply about a seventh of the additional generation capacity Xcel Energy expects to require by 2019.
Other options include proposals by Invenergy and Calpine Corp. to expand existing natural gas plants in Cannon Falls and Mankato, respectively, and a bid by Great River Energy to sell its surplus electricity to Xcel customers.
A coalition of environmental and policy groups, including Fresh Energy, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League and the Minnesota Center for
EPA to investigate efforts to reduce methane gas leaks
Published: Wed, June 5, 2013 @ 1:15 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General plans to investigate what actions are being taken to reduce methane leaks from natural gas pipelines.
The IG says in memo dated Monday that they will review data and interview EPA staff, environmental groups, industry associations, and scientists. There’s no estimate of when the investigation will be complete.
In April the EPA lowered its estimates of natural-gas leaks but some scientists questioned the figures. The issue is important because natural gas emits far less pollution than coal when burned, but those benefits can be offset by leaks of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
A previous IG report found that unreliable estimates on air pollution from natural gas production hinder EPA efforts to police the recent boom in drilling.
Summer To Bring Upward Pressure on Natural Gas Prices, Suppliers Say
By Tennille Tracy
June 5, 2013, 12:00 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON--The Natural Gas Supply Association is predicting upward pressure on natural gas prices this summer, when compared with 2012, but says demand will be slightly lower than last summer.
In its annual summer outlook assessment, released Wednesday, the association forecasts "slightly increased pressure on natural gas prices," due largely to the need to fill storage at a faster rate than last summer.
NGSA, which represents natural gas suppliers and marketers, doesn't provide actual price forecasts. Henry Hub prices averaged $2.70 during the summer of 2012.
Demand for natural gas will be somewhat lower in the 2013 summer months, however not enough to affect pricing, NGSA says. The association sees lower demand for natural gas in the power sector, resulting from cooler temperatures and "significantly" less coal-to-gas switching among utilities.
The association projects an average demand of 62 billion cubic feet per day over the summer. The power sector has consumed greater quantities of natural gas to generate electricity, in large part because gas prices have dropped to years-long lows. NGSA says the long-term forecast suggests that will continue to be the case.
NGSA forecasts natural gas production will be slightly higher this summer, setting yet another record. There will be less drilling activity, the association says, but that decline will be offset by the construction of new pipelines and processing plants that are capable of carrying "previously stranded" natural gas away from the Marcellus Shale region and other production areas.
"This new infrastructure is forecasted to keep supply at a high level that is similar to last summer," NGSA chairman Greg Vesey said in a statement.
Holly Jessen | June 05, 2013
Linn Co-op Oil Co. and Iowa’s other E15 retailers were recently forced to stop selling E15 because oil refiners won’t supply the gasoline blendstock required for the summer months. “Consumers who want a higher grade ethanol blend, in this case E15, are being denied that choice,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa. Braley was part of a June 3 conference call hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association that was held to discuss the petroleum distribution monopoly, one of the tools Big Oil is using to block the sale of higher ethanol blends, said Monte Shaw, executive director of IRFA.
In the summer months the U.S. EPA allows E10 to exceed the 9.0 pounds per-square-inch Reid Vapor Pressure requirement by 1 pound from June 1 to Sept. 15 but did not give E15 the same waiver. In order to offer E15 to vehicles model year 2001 and newer, the renewable fuel must be blended with low-volatility gasoline, which is used in markets that require reformulated gasoline. The catch is, although that fuel travels through Iowa via pipeline, E15 retailers are being denied access and therefore must only sell E15 to flex-fuel vehicle drivers or shut down their E15 pumps, as Linn Co-op did. “One of the key things about this is, we’re not asking for something that doesn’t exist,” Shaw said. “The gasoline blendstock we need to make E15 in the summer is available, it flows through the very pipeline system that services Iowa, but they will not let us take it out of the pipeline here.”
Earlier this year, a group of Iowa’s E15 retailers sent a letter, asking oil refiners supplying Iowa to provide the summer gas blendstock required for E15, IRFA said. However, as of June 1, no oil refiner has done so. In the meantime, the necessary blendstock travels through Iowa, on its way to Kansas City and Chicago, where reformulated gas is required due to
Nebraska Gov. Heineman signs wind-energy bill
June 05, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a wind-energy bill that he opposes to prevent the city of Omaha from increasing its local option sales tax.
The Republican governor approved the measure on Tuesday.
The bill is designed to stimulate wind-energy production in Nebraska by offering sales tax breaks to companies that invest at least $20 million in a renewable energy project. Heineman opposed the measure as a tax giveaway to out-of-state companies, but he supported another part of the bill that will rescind Omaha's ability to ask voters for a half-cent sales tax increase.
Heineman says he would have used a line-item veto to strike the wind-energy portions of the bill, but he can only use that power with budget bills.
Interior Department Approves Up To 4GW Of New Renewable Energy Projects
June 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm by Bloomberg
By Moming Zhou
U.S. domestic crude-oil production exceeded imports last week for the first time in 16 years, a government report showed today.
Output was 32,000 barrels a day higher than imports in the seven days ended May 31, according to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Production had been lower than international purchases since January 1997.
Market shift: OPEC to study U.S. shale boom
A combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies trapped in shale formations in states including North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas. The surge in oil and gas production helped the U.S. meet 88 percent of its own energy needs in February, the highest monthly rate since April 1986, EIA data show. Crude inventories climbed to the highest level in 82 years in the week ended May 24.
“The U.S. market is much more comfortably supplied than a few years ago,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “We have a reduced need for imports.”
The U.S. pumped 7.3 million barrels a day of oil last week, up 8,000 barrels from the prior week, the EIA said in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report. Imports fell 549,000 barrels a day last week to 7.27 million.
Up North: Canadian refineries importing US oil at a soaring rate
Stockpiles slid 1.6 percent to 391.3 million barrels last week as imports dropped and refineries used more crude to produce fuels. Supplies reached 397.6 million barrels in the week ended May 24, the highest level since 1931.
Production climbed 42 percent over the past five years and reached a 21-year high of 7.37 million barrels a day in the week ended May 3. Imports have tumbled 26 percent since May 2008.
“This is an extension of trends that have
Zack Colman - 06/05/13 03:01 PM ET
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that climate change is “new and different than anything we’ve ever tackled” in the farming industry.
Vilsack said farmers are experiencing the fallout from more severe storms, invasive species, drought, flooding and wildfires that he said are occurring at a more rapid clip than ever before.
“So the fact is, across America, farmers and ranchers and forest landowners are seeing the beginning chapter of what will be a long-term challenge posed by a changing climate. This problem is not going to go away on its own. That's why America must take steps now to adapt,” Vilsack said at a Washington, D.C., event hosted by the National Press Club.
On the links to extreme weather, climate scientists generally avoid connecting singular events to climate change. They note, however, that its effects can intensify extreme weather events.
Vilsack said he wasn’t going to debate the science of climate change, but instead describe what he’s seen on farms across the country.
Rising temperatures have introduced invasive species to new regions, he said. And water shortages have forced farmers to look into more drought-resistant crops.
Severe weather patterns that include more floods and fires also threaten to destroy acres of land, Vilsack said. He noted a recent U.S. Forest Service study projected a doubling of acreage subject to wildfires by 2050.
The threat of deforestation, Vilsack noted, would further exacerbate climate change through destroying carbon dioxide-absorbing vegetation.
“Given the threats our forests face, we moved away from the timber wars of the past towards a shared vision that recognizes we must work together towards a common goal of forest restoration,” he said.
Vilsack said the Agriculture Department (USDA) has taken several steps to mitigate the effects of
June 5, 2013 at 10:32 am by Harry R. Weber
Some states are spurring growth in solar panel installations in the U.S. with mandates and incentives for homeowners and businesses, a market information and advisory services firm says in a new report.
Domestic demand for solar panels is forecast to grow nearly 20 percent this year compared to 2012, the NPD Group says in its Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly released this week.
But, the report pointed out that just nine states will account for more than 85 percent of all U.S. solar panel demand this year.
Solar surge: Renewable power generation grew 7 percent in Texas last year
U.S. demand for solar PV, or photovoltaic, panels represents 12 percent of annual global demand, up from 5 percent three years ago, the firm says, adding that a big chunk of the latest growth is coming from California, Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina. Texas and New Mexico also are among the states driving growth.
The reason? NPD Group cited mandates in some states that require solar power to meet certain levels of total energy production and incentives that allow homeowners and businesses to install solar panels with low upfront costs.
Figures released last month by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the power grid for most of the state, show that electric generation from renewable sources increased 7 percent in 2012 in the state. Solar power had the largest rate of growth, based on the data.
In Houston, solar power advocates reported in March that the city has come a long way in encouraging homeowners to go solar, but businesses are lagging behind because tax and financial incentives are insufficient. According to data they released, in 2012, there were 557 solar installations on the books for residential customers, compared to only 54 installations for businesses and other non-residential
Official Music Video for Amor by EMIN, featuring Miss Universe Olivia Culpo
eminmusicofficial 90 videos
Published on May 29, 2013
Music video for Amor, the first single off of EMIN's upcoming album! Featuring Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012.
Tropical Storm Andrea lifts the curtain on Atlantic hurricane season
images at talkstock
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.5 million barrels per day during the week ending May 31, 2013, 433 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging over 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.8 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged just under 7.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 549 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day, about 1.2 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 514 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 143 thousand barrels per day last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 6.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 391.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week but remained in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period..
Data Overview (Combined Table 1 and Table 9)
Tropical weather outlook
nws national hurricane center miami fl
800 am edt wed jun 5 2013
for the north atlantic...caribbean sea and the gulf of mexico...
1. A broad area of low pressure over the central gulf of mexico is
producing a large area of disorganized thunderstorms and strong
gusty winds over the southeastern gulf of mexico. Although the
thunderstorm activity associated with the low has increased
overnight...the circulation remains poorly-defined. Environmental
conditions could become a little more conducive for development
during the next day or so...and a tropical depression or storm
could form before the system moves northeastward over northern
florida late thursday or thursday night. This system has a medium
chance...50 percent...of becoming a subtropical or tropical cyclone
during the next 48 hours. An air force reserve reconnaissance
aircraft is scheduled to investigate this disturbance this
afternoon...if necessary. Regardless of development...locally
heavy rains and gusty winds are likely over portions of central and
western cuba...the florida keys...and the florida peninsula during
the couple of days. Additional information on this system can be
found in high seas forecasts issued by the national weather
service...and in products issued by your local national weather
service office or national meteorological service.
elsewhere...tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the
next 48 hours.
high seas forecasts issued by the national weather service can be
found under awips header nfdhsfat1 and wmo header fznt01 kwbc.