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May 8th, 2012 Archives
Ken Silverstein | May 07, 2012
Both manufacturers and environmentalists are now left “scratching their heads” after the Obama administration has proposed new shale gas rules. Some businesses are befuddled why this kind of oversight is not left exclusively to the states while all greenies want to know why certain drillers are opposed to federal standards.Share This Post
Posted: 05/07/2012 9:54 am
Steven Cohen Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute
If the abundant natural gas available as a bridge fuel on the road to renewable energy is to actually be utilized, Americans will need to believe that the gas being extracted does not damage the environment. The natural gas that we hope to mine will probably last for less than a hundred years. The ecosystems that sustain our food and water systems will need to last for thousands of years. In a disappointing move last week the federal government took us one step forward and two steps back on the hydrofracking issue. The step forward was the federal government's decision that companies engaged in hydrofracking on public lands would be required to disclose the chemical composition of their fracking fluids. The two steps back took place when the Department of the Interior caved in to industry pressure, and changed the proposed rule from requiring disclosure before fracking begins to requiring it after it is completed. It seems that the urgency of getting the gas out of the ground dominated any concerns about potential damage from fracking chemicals.
According to Mathew Daley of the Associated Press:
"The new rules, which have been under consideration for a year and a half, were softened after industry groups expressed strong concerns about an initial proposal leaked earlier this year. The proposal would allow companies to file disclosure reports after drilling operations are completed, rather than before they begin, as initially proposed. Industry groups said the earlier proposal could have caused lengthy delays."
If these gas drillers are worried about delay that results from filling out a few forms for the Department of the Interior, wait until they experience the delays that follow visible damage to a valuable source of groundwater. Lawsuits, demonstrations, teach-ins and a full activist onslaught will make these folks wish they had an effective and respected regulatory system to fall back on. Unfortunately, in this era of free market extremism, any steps taken to ensure safety and care of the environment are seen as a waste of time.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/fracking-regulation_b_1495183.html?ref=greenShare This Post
By RUSSELL GOLD Updated May 7, 2012, 2:50 p.m. ET
Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s largest shareholder urged the company's board to consider selling the company after criticizing management's focus and current strategy.
Southeastern Asset Management, which owns 13.6% of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, said in a letter to the board and management that was filed with regulators Monday that Chesapeake should "be open to any offers to acquire the whole company."
The investment firm also expressed unhappiness with management's handling of shareholder communications and its plans to hold to "an arbitrary target" for reducing debt and increasing oil and gas production.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577390231768951056.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
Aubrey McClendon built Chesapeake Energy Corp. from a flyspeck operation that teetered on the edge of insolvency to an energy giant, a company that each year drills more oil and gas wells, by far, than any other company in the U.S.
But the 52-year-old Mr. McClendon is coming under increasing fire for his stewardship and his many outside ventures and investments.
Mr. McClendon last week apologized for distractions caused by revelations about a controversial perk. "My primary job as CEO has been, and always will be, to build long-term value along with attractive short-term returns for the company and all its stakeholders," he said on a call with energy analysts. "That is and has been my primary focus for the past 20 years."
But over the years, Mr. McClendon has helped run a hedge fund and two venture-capital firms; battled a township in Michigan over zoning for a planned lakeside development; amassed a large tree farm; and helped bring Oklahoma City its first major-league sports team, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, in which he holds a 19% stake.
He has also acquired ownership stakes in a TV station, several restaurants, a cattle ranch and a cancer-treatment center.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577390231768951056.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By SAM HOLMES Updated May 7, 2012, 11:22 p.m. ET
SINGAPORE—Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Hong Kong-based private-equity firm RRJ Capital will jointly invest $468 million in Houston-based liquefied natural gas firm Cheniere Energy Inc., as the firms look to increase their exposure to energy assets and emerging markets.
Cheniere Energy said Monday in a statement it plans to use proceeds of the investment to purchase $500 million of the $2 billion in securities to be issued by its subsidiary, Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P.. which owns liquefaction assets and will use its capital raising to finance an expansion of these facilities.
Last month, Cheniere Energy received federal approval to build what would be the first major natural gas export facility in the lower 48 U.S. states, putting the company a step closer to shipping some of America's newly abundant gas abroad. The project would allow Cheniere to become the only large-scale liquefied natural gas exporter in the U.S.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577390960152800428.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By SAUL ELBEIN May 7, 2012
SUMNER, Tex. — When the TransCanada men first came, Julia Trigg Crawford said, they were polite. They offered money. Seven thousand dollars to let the Keystone XL pipeline cross her family’s 600-acre farm on its way from the Alberta tar sands to the refineries on the Gulf Coast.
This was nothing new. Her grandfather bought the land, in northeast Texas, about a two-hour drive from Dallas and a quarter mile from the Oklahoma border, in 1948 and started growing wheat, corn and soy. Since then, pipeline companies have tried to lease rights to cross it many times. The Crawfords always managed to persuade them to find a way around their property.
“When you allow a pipeline to cross your land, you give up certain rights to it,” Ms. Crawford said. “You can’t use your land the way you want anymore. We didn’t want to do that.”
But TransCanada did not go away. Their people kept coming back, offering more and more money.
Then on Aug. 26, 2011, Ms. Crawford received a letter from Keystone, TransCanada’s American subsidiary. The letter made a “final offer” of $21,626. Then, it said, “if Keystone is unable to successfully negotiate the voluntary acquisition of the necessary easements, it will have to resort to the exercise of its statutory right of eminent domain.”
“In other words,” Ms. Crawford said, “sign or we’ll take it.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/us/old-texas-tale-retold-farmer-vs-transcanada.html?_r=1&ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 3:16 PM Updated: Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 5:07 AM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Several hundred activists gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square today to rally against exporting Montana and Wyoming coal from Northwest ports, an effort to signal the industry that it's in for a no-holds-barred fight.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chief prosecuting attorney for Hudson Riverkeeper and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, took top billing.
Based on his experience fighting coal mining in Appalachia, Kennedy told the crowd, coal would corrupt politicians, damage health and the environment and "turn government agencies into the sock puppets of the industries they're supposed to regulate."
Kennedy talked of his prior lawsuits against coal projects, and said afterward that the six potential proposals to export coal to Asia through ports in Oregon and Washington are illegal.
"It's illegal for them to do it without an environmental impact statement," he said. "And the minute they release a true and proper EIS their proposals will be laughed out of town."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/05/activists_rally_in_portland_ag.htmlShare This Post
firstname.lastname@example.org Published Tuesday, May. 08, 2012
Citing potential catastrophic impacts, a California Public Utilities commissioner is urging that a local company be blocked from storing natural gas 3,800 feet beneath Sacramento's Avondale Glen Elder neighborhood.
Commissioner Michel Peter Florio issued the proposed decision Friday on the request from Sacramento Natural Gas Storage LLC for a $70 million project to store the gas in a sandstone formation under the neighborhood.
It was the third recommendation from key players within the state PUC. While Florio's urged denial, two previous filings urged approval.
A decision by the five-member commission could come as early as June 7.
If successful, the company next would have to apply for a special permit from the city of Sacramento.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/08/4473288/puc-commissioner-opposes-sacramento.htmlShare This Post
By MATTHEW L. WALD May 6, 2012, 9:15 am
The government does a poor job of estimating what it will cost to tear down a nuclear reactor, Congressional auditors say, and it may not be overseeing plant owners well enough to assure that they set aside enough money to do the job.
For a study it plans to issue on Monday, the Government Accountability Office scrutinized 12 of the nation’s 104 power reactors and found that for 5 of them, the decommissioning cost calculated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was 76 percent or less of what the reactor’s owner thought would be needed.
The most striking example was Indian Point 3 in Buchanan, N.Y., which could be forced to close by 2015 because of a licensing dispute. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimated the cost of decommissioning the reactor at $474.2 million, just 57 percent of the “site-specific” estimate made by Entergy, the owner, which put the figure at $836.45 million.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/n-r-c-falls-short-on-financial-oversight-audit-says/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 3:17 PM Updated: Monday, May 07, 2012, 7:05 PM
By John Funk, The Plain Dealer
East Cleveland -- GE Lighting's new 27-watt replacement for the old 100-watt incandescent bulb does something no household light has ever done before -- it breaths.
Its rapid respiration is part of a science fiction-like cooling system engineered to keep such a very bright bulb small enough to fit into any household lamp or fixture, just like the bulb it replaces.
The new bulb is the first household-sized 100-watt-equivalent that uses light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to make the light allowing GE to claim that it has leapfrogged over it competitors who have yet to release a 100-watt LED equivalent.
GE expects to officially introduce the Energy Smart bulb later this week at a national lighting show, but the bulb will not be on sale until the spring of 2013.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/05/ge_lighting_has_an_led_replace.htmlShare This Post
The startup specializing in energy management microgrids for hospitals raises money to expand to other customers with critical power backup needs.
Jeff St. John: May 4, 2012
Blue Pillar, a startup that’s built up an interesting niche in enabling hospitals to manage power for efficiency and demand response needs, has raised a $7 million Series B round aimed at expanding its presence into the data center, military, education and manufacturing sectors.
Investors in the Series B round included Claremont Creek Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, Allos Ventures and OnPoint Technologies, the U.S. Army's venture capital fund. Previous unnamed investors also participated in the round, the company announced.
Blue Pillar has previously raised about $2.5 million in friends and family investment, CEO Kevin Kushman told me in an interview last year. Founded in 2006, the Indianapolis-based startup got its start in providing the hospital market with distributed power asset management, specifically, testing generators and other emergency power systems that keep critical medical services up and running during blackouts.
Because keeping the power up and running can be a matter of life and death, hospitals are required to have plenty of power backup and to make sure it operates properly in an emergency. But most of the time, that backup power goes unused, Kushman said. That makes hospitals a natural target for demand response capacity, or covering grid peak power needs in exchange for a fee.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/blue-pillar-raises-7m-for-hospital-military-data-center-demand-response/Share This Post
Energy audits can save buyers thousands of dollars in future operating costs. One real estate broker says they help sell houses — even raise prices — rather than wrecking deals.
By Kenneth R. Harney
May 6, 2012
WASHINGTON — It may be the best-kept secret in residential real estate: For a couple of hundred dollars, a potential buyer bidding on an existing house can ask for a formal energy audit along with the standard inspection clause. That audit, in turn, can save the buyer thousands of dollars in future operating costs and pinpoint the specific features of the house that need correction to improve efficiency. It might also be a tipoff to a sobering reality: This house is an energy guzzler. Either the asking price comes down, the seller fixes the problems or I walk.
Though energy audits have been available to consumers for years — the best known is the Home Energy Rating System — virtually nobody in the real estate field promotes them to buyers. Of the 120,000 HERS audits completed last year in the country, according to experts, just 12,000 were done on existing houses — a trivial number in a market with 4.5 million resales. The rest were performed on newly built homes.
Since energy costs rank high on the list of ongoing expenses for many homeowners, and multiple studies have demonstrated that energy-efficiency renovations more than pay for themselves in utilities savings, why aren't more audits performed? In an era of $4-a-gallon gas and autos that are marketed on the basis of their low fuel consumption, shouldn't buyers know about the operating costs of the houses they are bidding on? Shouldn't energy audit contingency clauses in purchase contracts be as commonplace as home inspection clauses?
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20120506,0,7456238.storyShare This Post
By RAKESH SHARMA May 8, 2012, 3:42 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI – India will step up imports of liquefied natural gas, as domestic gas output is projected to decline in the next two to three years, Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy said Tuesday.
India's natural gas output is estimated at 104 million standard cubic meters a day in the current financial year that began on April 1, while current demand is about 166 mmscm/d, Mr. Reddy told lawmakers in a written reply in the upper house of Parliament.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577391370468951272.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By AMOL SHARMA Updated May 8, 2012, 6:54 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI – A U.S. special energy envoy, Carlos Pascual, will visit India next week to assess Indian oil refineries' capabilities to shift crude imports from Iran to other suppliers, an evaluation that will help determine what New Delhi needs to do to head off U.S. sanctions that come into effect next month.
After a three-day India visit that included meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several other top officials, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was encouraged by the steps India has already taken to reduce Iran imports. But she pressed Indian officials to do more, saying significant cutbacks would help international efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577391612085409538.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post