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June 7th, 2012 Archives
By KEITH SCHNEIDER June 4, 2012
CALDWELL, Ohio — The energy boom has swept into the rural counties of the upper Ohio River Valley, producing a torrent of investment in mineral leasing that is jolting the economies of small towns and swelling the bank accounts of some working-class families.
Here in Noble County, where vehicle repair and convenience stores are economic mainstays, Eclipse Resources, a Pennsylvania company, mailed $16 million in oil- and gas-leasing checks last month to 70 households whose property has been found to sit atop oil and gas reserves. Working with a lawyer in nearby Marietta, the residents were able to band together to negotiate an unusually lucrative deal with the company that paid $4,000 an acre and 19 percent royalties on oil and gas production, and included safeguards to protect water and land. (The standard has been $20 to $30 an acre, one-sixth royalty rates, and no protections for water and land.)
In a region where median household income is less than $33,000, the first big flush of oil- and gas-related income produced leasing checks of six and seven figures — amounts the recipients say are a bit disorienting.
Arthur and Sharon Stottsberry, who are retired from inspector and clerk jobs with the State Department of Transportation, received $280,000 for the right to lease oil and gas reserves beneath their 70-acre farm. “It doesn’t seem real,” said Mrs. Stottsberry, 68. “We haven’t planned much about what to do. The most important thing is I want to make sure my grandkids do well.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/us/mineral-leases-give-boost-to-rural-ohio.html?_r=1&ref=usShare This Post
Posted: 06/06/2012 6:18 pm Updated: 06/06/2012 6:23 pm
ERIE — With black whiskers painted across her cheeks, 6-year-old Olivia Cusimano roared into the plastic megaphone as if hers were the voice of the blue knotted-up balloon tiger she clutched beneath her left arm.
“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! These fracking wells have got to go!” she shouted as she led a parade of demonstrators through the streets on Saturday to protest Encana Corp.’s latest natural gas drilling project. The company has set up extraction operations in a prairie near two elementary schools, a middle school and a daycare.
“I think people will get hurt,” Cusimano said in an interview (mp3). “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Her concern stems from the rising tide of information scientists are publishing about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The University of Colorado-Denver School of Public Health recently released a study showing people who reside within a half-mile of oil-and-gas drilling were exposed to air pollutants five times above federal hazard standards. The researchers concluded that people living closer to natural gas wells had a greater risk of developing cancer.
Some of Cusimano’s classmates stayed home from school last year with breathing and gastrointestinal problems their parents blame on pollutants from the hundreds of natural gas wells in the area.
Industry representatives maintain fracking is safe. They claim the protestors exaggerate.
Erie is an old coal town. Before it was incorporated in 1874, its coal fields powered steam engines. Mines in the area produced coal until the mid-1960s.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/colorado-fracking-protest-school_n_1575816.html?ref=greenShare This Post
Posted: 06/05/2012 07:30:22 AM MDT
Updated: 06/05/2012 07:30:23 AM MDT
By Nelson Harvey
The Post Independent
GLENWOOD SPRINGS - — The Garfield Board of County Commissioners appears unwilling to fund construction of a water quality testing well on the property of Silt landowner Lisa Bracken, who claims that gas from a seep has contaminated her water supply.
Bracken, who detected the seep near her home on Divide Creek in 2008, asked the commissioners in a public comment period at their Monday meeting to fund a testing well. Her request comes after a consultant retained by the county to investigate the 2008 seep determined it came from natural, not human, causes.
"We have a lot of other experts who are saying that we're monitoring it, and things are OK," Commissioner John Martin told Bracken. "I know this is dear to you, but my best advice is to visit with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission," the state agency charged with regulating oil and gas.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_20785225Share This Post
By RACHEL NUWER June 6, 2012, 1:57 pm
A former Environmental Protection Agency official who stepped down this spring over controversial remarks he had made about punishing major polluters has sidestepped a grilling that he was expected to face on Wednesday at a House subcommittee hearing.
The official, Al Armendariz, the former Dallas-based administrator for the E.P.A.’s Region 6, notified a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday afternoon that he would not appear at Wednesday’s 10 a.m. hearing on “E.P.A. Enforcement Priorities and Practices.”
Dr. Armendariz resigned in April after Republican critics of the E.P.A. circulated a 2010 video in which he declared that the agency should “crucify” polluting companies. “It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean – they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them,” he says on the tape. “Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
Dr. Armendariz had previously agreed to serve as a witness at the subcommittee hearing. He did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
It went without saying that many had expected Dr. Armendariz to face a crucifixion, rhetorically speaking, at the hearing. Its Republican leadership has been sharply critical of the E.P.A.’s efforts to enforce the Clean Air Act and tighten emissions standards.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/former-e-p-a-official-pulls-out-of-house-hearing/Share This Post
Jun 6 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Jack Latta The Floyd County Times, Prestonburg, Ky.
Senator Rand Paul added more fuel to the fire of criticism aimed at the EPA Tuesday releasing a statement chastising the federal agency for its practices.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24832785Share This Post
By LESLIE KAUFMAN June 6, 2012
Two prominent scientists involved in estimating the flow rate from a ruptured oil well during BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have surrendered more than 3,000 of their private e-mails to the company in response to a subpoena by the United States District Court in New Orleans. BP sought the e-mails from the scientists, Chris Reddy and Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, to help prepare its defense in a lawsuit brought by the federal government. In an op-ed article in The Boston Globe, the scientists said they had given the company more than 50,000 pages of documents and data before the company also demanded the e-mails.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/science/earth/louisiana-two-scientists-surrender-e-mail-to-bp.htmlShare This Post
Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 10:23 AM Updated: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 5:04 PM
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
The Williams Companies, Inc. has asked federal regulators to begin the review process for the Pacific Connector pipeline, which would carry natural gas to a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay. It intends to file a complete application by the end of the year.
Williams and the backers of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal had hoped that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would expedite review of the pipeline, which was previously approved when Jordan Cove was envisioned as an import facility. Now that the project backers intend to export gas, however, regulators are undertaking another full- blown review of both the terminal and the pipe.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/06/exporter_requests_federal_revi.htmlShare This Post
Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 12:13 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 8:47 PM
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
Gov. John Kitzhaber on Tuesday released a new draft of his 10-year energy action plan that outlines a host of regulatory and legislative measures to boost conservation and renewable energy and transform Oregon's transportation sector to use less fuel and emit less greenhouse gases.
The plan calls for meeting 100 percent of Oregon's electricity demand growth during the next 10 years through expanded conservation and efficiency programs. The state will start at home, with a state building innovation lab and retrofits of up to four million feet of state-owned office space. The plan also calls for expansion of conservation tax incentives, the Small Scale Energy Loan Program, and programs like Clean Energy Works that coordinate bank-funded home retrofits with repayment on utility bills.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/06/governor_releases_draft_of_10-.htmlShare This Post
The Huffington Post | By Lucia Graves
Posted: 06/05/2012 11:13 pm
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) warned against a “knee-jerk” response to Solyndra, breaking with top Republicans as she voiced her support for federally backed renewable energy programs, including the loan program that aided the now-bankrupt solar manufacturer.
“I think we need to get through this period and be able to reflect on what it is that actually comes out of these loan guarantee programs," Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told The Hill Tuesday. "We are focusing right now on the failures instead of also recognizing that we have done good things for the loan guarantee program. We need to make sure it does what it is supposed to be doing."
Murkowski's support for the Energy Department's loan-guarantee program comes after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney chastised the president for "picking winners and losers” in private industry, hosting a press conference at Solyndra's headquarters in Fremont, Calif., last week to draw attention to the failed solar company that received $535 million in federal loans before going belly-up late last year.
“I do believe there is a role, and perhaps that sets me apart from some of my other colleagues on Capitol Hill,” Murkowski acknowledged in her interview with The Hill. “I think we need to do a critical, hard assessment and make sure it is doing that which we had intended."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/lisa-murkowski-solyndra_n_1572427.html?ref=greenShare This Post
Jun 6 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Marjorie Hernandez Ventura County Star, Calif.
"Going green" is no longer just a catchphrase but also a necessary principle businesses must embrace to stay competitive, say officials at the California Lutheran University School of Management.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24819039Share This Post
Emissions plan goes forward
Al Senia | Jun 06, 2012
California is set to take another jaw-dropping energy gamble with the impending introduction of the nation’s most ambitious cap-and-trade system, which state energy officials believe will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but skeptics fear it will place upward pressure on energy prices.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/06/cap&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=RB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
By JIM WITKIN June 6, 2012, 3:40 pm
The developers, Zerofootprint, received $8,000 as the Popular Choice winner. They previously took third place, and $7,500 in prize money for the part of the contest that was judged by an expert panel of people from the Energy Department and the utility and energy industries.
Deemed the “energy bill of the future” by its developers, VELObill gathers all of the data on your utility usage – electricity, natural gas and water – into one view, available on a Web page, tablet or smartphone. The app is driven by so-called Green Button data, which many utilities are now starting to offer to their customers.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/Share This Post
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon
Bonneville Power Administration officials are cautiously optimistic that the season where oversupply would prompt a call for wind farm shutdowns is drawing to a close.
Bonneville Power Administration officials are stopping short of calling it "over," but they are cautiously optimistic that the contentious season known as oversupply — when too much hydro power on the system prompting calls for wind farm shutdowns — may be coming to an end.
In a biweekly call last week with stakeholders, Steve Barton, an operations research analyst with BPA, called the season for wind energy curtailment "pretty much over," according to a report in SNL Financial.
Doug Johnson, a BPA spokesman said Monday, "We are optimistic, but we still have a month or so where oversupply could happen."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2012/06/bpa-wind-curtailment-my-be-done-for.html?ed=2012-06-05&s=article_du&ana=e_sboShare This Post
BrightSource Energy Hired Former Biden Chief of Staff, Worked Other Democratic Contacts as Financing Deadline Neared
The recipient of the Obama administration's biggest loan guarantee for solar energy won federal money after an intense push in early 2011 that included hiring a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden to lobby the administration, according to federal records and people involved in the approval process.
The lobbying blitz came as the $1.6 billion loan to BrightSource Energy Inc.—a centerpiece of the administration's program to promote nascent green-energy projects—faced a do-or-die moment, and the company called on its Democratic connections to help push the deal forward, according to emails, records and those familiar with the loan.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the Department of Energy made the loan-approval decision, not Mr. Biden nor other White House officials. A Department of Energy spokeswoman said it chose BrightSource, whose solar power plant in California continues to move ahead, based on the project's merits.
The $16 billion federal loan-guarantee program became headline news in September when a recipient of a $535 million guarantee, solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, declared bankruptcy. Solyndra's chief backer was an Oklahoma industrialist who had bundled contributions for Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign. The White House said there was no connection between the donations and the loan.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303506404577448231576896206.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By KATY STECH June 4, 2012, 4:19 p.m. ET
Solar-power company Konarka Technologies Inc. collapsed into bankruptcy after spending tens of millions of investor dollars and government grant money to research and manufacture thin plastic strips of sunlight-absorbing sheeting.
Running low on cash, the Lowell, Mass., manufacturer filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and laid off its roughly 80 remaining workers. The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Worcester, Mass., puts the company's thin and flexible solar film—technology that competed with more traditional, bulky solar panels—in the hands of a court-appointed trustee who will likely sell it to raise money for creditors.
The company's debts topped more than $10 million, according to its bankruptcy petition. A recent financial statement projects that roughly $113,541 will remain in the company's bank accounts after it pays out severance to employees and receives a final $82,000 grant payment from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.
In a statement posted on the company's website, Chief Executive Howard Berke blamed the collapse on Konarka's inability to find additional money to fund its operations. In the statement, he called the turn of events a "tragedy for Konarka's shareholders and employees and for the development of alternative energy in the United States."
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577446652561985704.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post