The Democratic-led states, in a brief filed with the court, pointed to the "recent practical experience" in California and New York showing that switching to low carbon energy sources can produce "more efficient and less polluting industrial processes, delivered at a reasonable cost."
Environmental lawyers said the energy-industry advocates are trying to re-fight a battle that they already lost. "They are still seeking a total exemption for greenhouse gases," said Sean Donahue, a Washington lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Once again, all eyes will be on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who usually holds the deciding vote when the court is split. He joined the 5-4 opinion in 2007 that cleared the way for regulating greenhouse gases. But since then, he has voiced concern for over-regulation by the administration.
Most environmental law experts said they were confident that the greenhouse gas regulations will survive. The justices turned away appeals that asked them to reverse the 2007 ruling or stop the motor vehicle regulations.
"I think the court will uphold the EPA," said Ann Carlson, who teaches environmental law at UCLA. "The statutory language is pretty clear."
Once it is decided that greenhouse gases are harmful air pollutants, the law says EPA has a duty to regulate, she said.
Politics aside, the case involves a dense set of regulations and asks only whether the EPA may restrict greenhouse gases coming from stationary sources.
In Obama's first year in office, the EPA set in motion rules that require new motor vehicles to burn less gasoline and reduce their carbon emissions. Those rules were upheld when the high court declined to hear a challenge against them. Obama this week announced plans to expand on such regulations with new limits on carbon emissions from trucks and buses.
But when the EPA tried to expand those rules to stationary facilities, industry leaders and Republican-dominated states argued that the agency had gone too far. Justices agreed last year to consider six different appeals of the rules.
Typically, stationary facilities would include power plants, but the challengers said the regulations could potentially extend to millions of others, including hospitals, shopping malls and universities.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the new rules, if put into full effect in 2016, would "erect the costliest, farthest reaching and most intrusive regulatory apparatus in the history of the American administrative state."
The regulations "mean we would see the cost of energy go up dramatically," said Richard Faulk, a Washington lawyer who represented local and state chambers of commerce. "And that would put a very serious burden on small business. And the administration is trying to do this unilaterally."
Environmentalists accused industry officials of greatly exaggerating the reach of the EPA's new rules and their likely cost. They noted that federal regulators have only targeted new and major emitters of carbon dioxide, such as power plants, not the vast number of facilities that produce carbon pollution.
To obtain a permit, new facilities must use the "best available technology" to reduce their greenhouse gases. That can be done by switching from coal to natural gas, environmentalists say
I agree with you.. I went to the government BLS site and used their inflation calculator.. $ 100 in 1974 , would in todays money require $ 474.47 to achieve parity. don
I told bruce about a week ago that all gov muni bonds would require Insurance to sell in the future if Detroit was allowed to go the way it wanted to.. I also indicated that I thought one of Buffets companies sold this type of insurance..
I really wonder if first by throwing General Motors Bond holders under the bus, and then now the GO bond holder of Detroit, that the USA is getting the law precedence set up to throw the US Bonds under the bus., Meaning the 6 month, 1 yr,3,5,7,10 and 30 yr bond... don
Looks Like We Have A New Shale Play To Keep Track Of: Burnt Wood Canyon,
A big thank you to a reader alerting me to this new shale play, southwestern Nebraska/northwestern Kansas, on the state line.
THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA LINE SOUTH OF STRATTON, Nebraska -- Sparked by a series of significant oil strikes, one of the biggest oil booms in this region's history is bringing an outpouring of oil activity along the Kansas-Nebraska line south of Stratton, Nebraska.
Exceeded only by the Sleepy Hollow and Ackman Field discoveries of the late 1950s and early 1960s, the latest rush of petroleum activity got a big boost July 5, 2013, when Berexco hit a 400 barrel a day well on the ranch land of Rich and Ken Walter. Before and since, drilling crews from Berexco and Murfin have brought in a bunch of big producers on both sides of the state line, with the core of the prolific production centered in the Walter Brothers' Burnt Wood Canyon field.
"The Sleepy Hollow name became famous in the 1960s," said Bill Sydow, the executive director of the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. "Going forward, the Burnt Wood Canyon name will define this development."
the local cbs weatherman from Bismarck said last night ND/MN was going into Colder then normal temps for the next 3 weeks.. then a return to normal temps.. well that is Mid march for normal temps... All the cold will move South and east, it may moderate but it will be colder then normal..
Also accuweather is showing ice fishing contest on Great lakes could occur this summer.. don
have you looked at this DVN transcript.. looks like a total of 850 million in Miss lime, but dvn is on carrying 200 million.. don
As I mentioned earlier, the anticipated addition of the Eagle Ford assets to our opportunity set and our decision to grow within operating cash flow has resulted in high grading across our portfolio and the Mississippian-Woodford is no exception. In 2014, we expect to maintain positive momentum in this play focusing our activity on our joint venture acreage where we have the benefit of the JV carry. The partnership will spend approximately $850 million to run an inter-rig program and drill more than 200 wells. After the benefit of Devon’s drilling carry, Devon’s portion will be about $200 million in the play this year.
with the 3 month average volume of MDU to be approx. 538 thousand.. the trading volume in the last 8 FULL trading days has exceeded this number only twice.. with 3 days of light Volume of stock trading..
I sure would like to see a increase in volume.. don
do you think Duke will put this asset into a MLP??? or will some other investor group ( like you listed ) make a MLP out of these assets from other different companies that sell off this merchant electricity.. don
Get Ready for More cold on Friday - thru the weekend..
article in todays Duluth herald , Deals with the city water lines freezing in Northern MN. don
Residents in Ely, Hibbing, Bemidji, Washburn, parts of Virginia and several other Northland communities are being asked to keep a cold water faucet running for the rest of the winter to prevent incoming waterlines from freezing.
The unusually widespread problem has hit, not surprisingly, as the region broke a record for most days below zero in one winter, and municipal water service lines are starting to show signs of trouble from the cold.
Frozen waterlines running into homes add to the already growing problem of broken water mains that crack as the cold sinks into the ground. The deepening frost can cause shifting and snap some pipes or simply freeze others solid.
Northland cities don’t have enough public works crews to get to homes fast enough as they freeze, making it easier to ask residents to keep the water running to prevent the problem from happening. Private companies also have been kept running responding to homeowners or helping cities cope.
Ely city officials on Monday asked residents to check the temperature of their incoming cold water. If it is 37 degrees or colder, or for homeowners and businesses that had frozen lines in the past, they urged residents to keep water running at a steady stream.
The general rule of thumb is to keep a quarter-inch stream flowing out of a main faucet — about the size of a pencil. The moving water usually prevents freeze up entering the home.
Hibbing on Friday went to its first citywide request to keep taps on because the problem is so widespread.
this landfill project started in 2008/2009 time period I believe. The city of Billings received 15 % of the profits for a sum of $ 55,000. Then MDU received $ 311,000 odd dollars as their share of the profits.. don
The gas leaving the plant is sent directly to homes and businesses in MDU pipelines throughout Billings.
“We are producing 9,000 decatherms a month, and putting it into our distribution” said Mark Hanson, a spokesperson for MDU.
An average home uses roughly 70 decatherms or 70,000 cubic feet of natural gas in a year.
The figure could increase to 15,000 decatherms once the new lines are operational.
In a 40-year agreement between the MDU and the City of Billings, 15 percent of the profits from the sale of gas goes to the city.
In 2013, the city pulled in $55,000 from gas sales.
By spring, a side-loading and a front-loading garbage truck powered by compressed natural gas bought out of the city’s 15 percent will hit the streets in Billings.
The trucks went out for bid on Feb. 11, and bidding will close on the 24th.
“We’re just going to get two to try out,” said Vester Wilson, the city’s Solid Waste superintendent. “We want to see how they run, and what their costs are.”
After a year of service, if the vehicles perform comparably to their diesel counterparts, the department will begin integrating more CNG vehicles into the fleet.
“As we replace vehicles, we’ll replace them with CNG vehicles,” Wilson said. “We could have our whole fleet completely turned over in eight years to CNG.”
A successful transition to trash collection with CNG-powered vehicles would be a first for Montana, Wilson said.
It’s always exciting to see something new, but it’s scary also,” Wilson said. “When you’re the guinea pig, you don’t know what’s going to happen
Plans are in the works at the Billings Regional Landfill to collect enough natural gas from decomposing trash to heat 2,100 homes and power trucks hauling garbage.
The landfill currently produces enough natural gas annually to heat 1,400 homes.
Sixty-four vertical wells and two horizontal collectors gather methane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases produced by bacteria in the tightly compacted pile.
The anaerobic bacteria emit the gas as the microbes chew through organic matter, such as grass clippings, food scraps wood and paper.
The gas is refined and cleaned at a facility on the back side of the landfill.
By spring, Montana Dakota Utilities hopes to add two new collectors into newer, active areas of the landfill, which could increase production by 50 percent.
“We’re waiting for a response from Montana DEQ to install more horizontal collectors,” said David Hood, MDU gas superintendent. “As soon as we get approval, and we think we will, it will be a good year for MDU.”
The horizontal collectors are composed of a 500-foot-long permeable steel main pipeline, with a series of 350 foot tentacles attached along the length of the main pipe. The arrangement forms a collection grid in the trash.
“They’re going to vary a little bit, but they’re about 1,500 feet of collection in each area,” Hood s Two other horizontal collectors were installed in the active cells in 2012.
The culverts have to be buried under 14 feet of trash before viable gas can be extracted, which takes about 10 months to a year.
The most gas is created in the first 10 years after trash is deposited, so adding horizontal collectors as garbage hits the pile maximizes the amount harvested.
About half of the gas coming off the mixture is methane. More than 80 percent can be isolated from other gases. The rest is flared or used to power a large on-site generator intended to offset electricity costs associated with plant operation.
Besides, it’s becoming clear that a few years of cheap prices wasn’t enough to drive a wholesale investment away from coal and into natural gas. Power plants, after all, represent billions in sunk costs, and switching all those plants would require more capital than most utilities have available.
Power companies have other long-term concerns to worry about too. Industry studies show U.S. electricity demand falling during the next decade, thanks to improved energy efficiency and the rise of alternatives such as distributed solar power.
Other factors also come into play. For example, the pipeline shortage that has left many oil and gas producers in hot shale plays struggling to get their production to market also makes it difficult to ship gas to power plants. Even if, say, 20 percent of the existing coal plants magically transformed into gas plants, there are no pipelines to connect them with their fuel source. Given the backlog of pipeline projects in the U.S. right now, this problem could persist for more than a decade.
All of which helps add to the inertia that pervades the power market. It takes companies years to expand their generating fleet, and with price advantages vacillating between gas and coal, many aren’t willing to place a bet on a single fuel.
Gas may be cheap and abundant, and it may represent a compromise on climate change issues, but coal’s reign in the power market is far from over
Forbes is reporting. don
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Cheap natural gas was supposed to be the answer to our dependence on dirty old coal. But now, it seems, coal is making a comeback. The bitter winter, the coldest in 30 years, has pushed natural gas prices to some of their highest levels in four years, and that has made coal attractive to utilities again.
Electric companies are generating more than 4.5 million megawatt hours a day using coal, the most since 2011, Bloomberg reported, citing government data. As a result, coal’s share of power production rose to more than 40 percent from 39 percent last year.
Cheap and abundant natural gas supplies from the hydraulic fracturing boom had made natural gas a cheaper and cleaner alternative to coal for the past several years. Economics, though, had to catch up at some point. With demand for gas rising this winter, pushing prices as high #$%$56 per million British thermal units at the end of January, coal is looking more attractive
We’ve seen this sort of see-sawing on prices before. Back in the 1990s, a push to convert buses and fleet vehicles to compressed natural gas stalled when crude oil prices plunged and diesel became cheaper than natural gas.
Many utilities still have a large investment in coal. Even though the prospect of stricter emissions standards have loomed for years – and the Environmental Protection Agency issued new standards last year – most haven’t made the necessary investments to comply with the laws they know are coming.
Older coal plants, in particular, may have been idled or mothballed as natural gas prices fell, but it’s cheaper for utilities to bring those plants back on line than invest in new or cleaner technology
From todays Duluth paper. don
Today is the 60th day this winter that a subzero low temperature has been recorded at the Duluth International Airport, setting the city's record for most days with below-zero temperatures in a season.
It was 9 below zero at the Duluth airport as of 8 a.m.
Our reward for reaching the record? More snow.
After a partly sunny day today, snow is forecast to move into the Northland late tonight and last through Monday evening, with perhaps 4-7 inches of snow possible for much of the region with some locally higher amounts.
The previous record of 59 days with subzero lows in a single winter was set in the winters of 1958-59, 1916-17 and 1874-75.
That's why many analysts are now trotting out the old saw that it's "a stockpicker's market," rewarding shrewd selection of individual MLPs. A more nuanced version of this theme emerged during our semiannual MLP Roundtable, pointing to an increasingly bifurcated MLP market. The growth boom is ending, and companies need to be evaluated on their ability to demonstrate real returns on their investments -- in the form of continued distribution growth. Indeed, "execution risk" tops our experts' list of threats facing MLPs this year.
Barron's assembled a Roundtable of two analysts, a fund manager, and the head of an MLP data and index provider to assess the year ahead for MLPs.
Houston-based John Edwards is a director and senior equity research analyst at Credit Suisse, overseeing the firm's coverage of 50 MLPs. Stephen Maresca, a managing director and equity-research analyst at Morgan Stanley since 2008, has spent more than a decade focusing on the energy sector.
Greg Reid, president and chief executive officer of the MLP business at Salient Partners, represents the fund-management industry. Salient manages more than $3 billion in MLP investments. Reid joined Salient in 2010, when his Houston-based wealth-management firm, which specialized in MLPs, was acquired by Salient.
Kenny Feng is president and CEO of Dallas-based Alerian, a firm best known for its pioneering Alerian MLP Index, which holds the 50 largest MLPs by market value, representing at least 85% of the universe. More than $16 billion in exchange-traded products and managed accounts is tied directly to one of Alerian's six indexes
The MLP market might be maturing, but so are the methods used to analyze and value MLPs. Our Roundtable participants break down common mistakes even savvy stock investors make when trying to gauge an MLP's value, and discuss what calculations the pros prefer instead. They help investors differentiate between general partners and limited partnerships, and determine which MLPs offer the best value now.
this is copy/paste of todays Barrons article. don
Master limited partnerships entered 2014 at a crossroads. As the energy-oriented asset class grew over the past decade and a half, it beat the Standard & Poor's 500 for 12 straight years. But that streak ended in 2012, and MLPs underperformed again in 2013. Throw in expectations of a rise in interest rates this year, and MLPs could be losing some of their luster.
The MLP universe -- which in 2000 had 18 companies with a collective $14 billion in market value -- now has 113 companies with some $460 billion. The vast majority operate in the energy and natural-resources industry. Most are infrastructure companies, in the business of storing or transporting oil, natural gas, and other forms of fuel. The energy industry calls these businesses "midstream."
Investors have fueled the boom in MLPs with their passion for income. MLPs offer high payouts, averaging 5.7% today, and have been some of the most reliably high-yielding investments in recent years. Those payouts are a result of the partnerships' tax-advantaged structure; MLPs distribute a high percentage of their profit to shareholders, who are able to defer much of the tax owed on distributions. But there has been troubling news on this front, as well: Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (ticker: BWP) cut its payout by 80% last week, and investors rushed for the exits, sending shares down 46%
Because MLPs pay out so much of their earnings, they typically finance the expensive business of pipeline construction and other infrastructure management by borrowing, which will become more expensive if and when interest rates rise. And as rates rise, other income products will look increasingly appealing