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July 12th, 2012 Archives
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 10:02 AM Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 1:18 PM
Coal trains destined for planned terminals in Oregon and Washington could gum up already congested lines, increase rail rates for other freight and increase taxpayers' costs to fix rail problems, a report released today by the Western Organization of Resource Councils predicts.
Six Northwest export terminals are on the drawing boards, with plans to ship some 150 million tons of coal a year to fast-growing Asia, up from about 5 million tons annually now through three British Columbia ports. For context: In 2010, trains unloaded about 80 million tons of freight in Oregon and Washington.
"This, make no mistake about it, is a huge, huge increase in volume, like we've never seen before in this part of the world," said Terry Whiteside, a rail consultant based in Montana and one of the report's authors.
There are no Northwest coal export facilities now. But if all six go forward and reach full capacity by 2022 they'd generate up to 60 additional 1¼-mile-long coal trains a day, arriving full and returning empty, the report estimates. That figure also includes expanded export from the British Columbia terminals.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/07/detailed_study_of_potential_co.htmlShare This Post
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 6:00 PM
By Robert L. Smith, The Plain Dealer
With drilling derricks rising like dollar signs in the countryside, and some analysts predicting an energy boom, many in Ohio see shale gas as an economic force and a lucky strike.
Deborah Rogers takes a contrary view shaped in the decade-old shale fields of north Texas, where she runs a dairy farm flanked by natural gas wells. She founded the Energy Policy Forum to combat what she calls myths and mistruths spread by the energy industry and to warn nascent shale gas communities of what's coming.
In a methodical presentation at the City Club of Cleveland Wednesday, Rogers argued that the numbers of jobs to be created, the amount of gas to be produced, and the safety of the drilling operations are vastly overstated.
She warned that a shale gas boom can quickly go bust, and she asked her audience to ponder whether the extraction methods are worth the environmental degradation.
She also said she understands the excitement.
"I have never seen a resource more hyped than shale gas," said Rogers, a former financial consultant for Wall Street investment firms. "What exactly is going on here?"
To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/07/shale_gas_boom_may_quickly_go.htmlShare This Post
RALEIGH, N.C.—Former employees of Progress Energy Inc. gave their new boss, Duke Energy Corp. Chief Executive Jim Rogers, a cool reception on Wednesday during Mr. Rogers's first meeting with them since the two utilities merged last week and the CEO at Progress was ousted.
Immediately after the $26 billion merger was completed, a Duke-dominated board removed Bill Johnson as CEO; he had served as Progress CEO since October 2007 and had been expected to lead the combined company for years to come.
Mr. Rogers told the former Progress employees during a meeting at a downtown Marriott hotel ballroom that they were welcomed and valued as part of the combined company. But some former Progress employees who attended Wednesday's meeting, and now work for Duke, said in interviews that people in the room were skeptical of Mr. Rogers's assurances.
The comments by Mr. Rogers came one day after regulators at the North Carolina Utilities Commission grilled him concerning last week's boardroom coup. He told the commission the ouster wasn't his idea but he agreed to retake the reins during discussions with Duke directors, unbeknown to Mr. Johnson or the old Progress board. And he criticized Mr. Johnson's leadership style as autocratic.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303644004577521181605378026.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
Published 11:04 p.m., Wednesday, July 11, 2012
San Francisco has once again found itself at the vanguard of sustainable policymaking, but this time city officials say they're just following the rules.
The city that bans toys from fat-laden Happy Meals, bars plastic bags from supermarkets and mandates composting now has a new subject of concern, this one thrust into its lap: Apple computers.
With rare exceptions, San Francisco's 50 city departments will no longer be able to buy Apple laptops, desktop computers or monitors after the Cupertino tech giant pulled out of an international green electronics certification program last month with little explanation, city officials said. Apple's decision has also raised complications for other institutional purchasers, including the University of California system.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Apple-not-green-enough-to-suit-SF-policy-3700816.phpShare This Post
By MATTHEW L. WALD July 11, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Intended as an additive to gasoline, ethanol in modern times was meant to stretch America’s fuel supplies, much as a cook uses chicken stock to increase the volume of a soup. By federal mandate, ethanol makes up about 10 percent of most fuel that motorists buy at the pump.
Unfortunately for ethanol makers, Americans are driving fewer miles and upgrading to more efficient cars — or to continue the analogy, eating less soup.
So ethanol makers want to change the longstanding recipe, trying to persuade gas stations and motorists to buy fuel that is 15 percent ethanol, or E15. And here, between a transmission shop and a Western clothing retailer, the first service station in the nation to offer the new blend for regular cars has just begun sales.
“I’m a firm believer that we have to do something. You can’t just sit there,” said Scott Zaremba, owner of the Phillips 66 station, which has 14 gas pumps and four for diesel that mix in soy biodiesel with the petroleum variety. “Being in the Midwest, offering renewables from ethanol and biodiesel fuel are just a natural fit for us.”Share This Post
Posted: 07/11/2012 7:16 am Updated: 07/11/2012 1:07 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- In the two months since he lost his job driving a delivery truck for a door company, Lebron Stinson has absorbed a bitter geography lesson about this riverfront city: The jobs are in one place, he is in another, and the bus does not bridge the divide.
Stinson lives downtown, where many of the factories that once employed willing hands have been converted into chic eateries. The majority of jobs are out in the suburbs, in the strip malls, office parks and chain restaurants that stretch eastward. Most of this sprawl lies beyond reach of the public bus system, and Stinson cannot afford a car.
Friends have told him about a building materials business that would hire him on the spot, but the company is 26 miles away and over the Georgia state line, reachable only by car. A plywood company would hire him, too, but that job is 30 miles away. Merely getting to the state Career Center to maintain his a $180-a-week unemployment check and search through job listings on a public computer requires a 40-minute bus ride.
Lean, able-bodied and proud, Stinson is accustomed to earning his way. He does not want an unemployment check any more than he wants extra time to sit around his cramped apartment watching daytime television. He would much prefer not using the food stamps that have become the only thing sparing him from hunger. He wants what he has had for most of his 49 years: He wants a job.
But in Chattanooga, as in much of America, getting a job and getting to a job are two different things.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/unemployment-problem-public-transportation_n_1660344.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=GreenShare This Post
by Melanie Turner
Sacramento Business Journal
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | 6:14am PDT
In a ranking of the 100 largest metropolitan areas for how well their transit systems connect employers to the labor pool, the Sacramento region ranks No. 60.
The typical job served by transit lies within reach of 22.1 percent of workers in the Sacramento metro area, allowing for 90 minutes of transit travel time.
Cities in the Sacramento metro area have a coverage rate of 30.2 percent, while suburban transit covers only 15.4 percent of its jobs.
That’s according to results of a Brookings Institution report, “Where the Jobs Are: Employer Access to Labor by Transit,” released Wednesday.
To read the entire article go to: http://m.bizjournals.com/sacramentoShare This Post
email@example.com (Mark Glover)
Posted: 07/11/2012 12:47 PM
Ryder System Inc., the Miami-based commercial transportation and rental trucks provider, is offering Sacramento-area businesses an opportunity to test drive alternative-fuel trucks for free.
Businesses interested in test driving natural gas vehicles can sign up for a free, three-day rental through July 27.
To read the entire article go to: http://m.sacbee.com/sacramento/db_99257/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Won8Jcf0Share This Post
B.C. looks to expand its energy exports, but environmental and labour concerns pose hurdles
By SCOTT SIMPSON, Vancouver SunJuly 3, 2012
Viewed from outside the province, British Columbia has assets few large-scale, energy exporters can offer.
A stable democracy. A trans-parent set of rules for conducting business. Solid, reliable infrastructure.
But B.C. still has some big issues to resolve.
At a recent Business Council of British Columbia forum on the province's future energy opportunities, some leading voices in the sector were advised that environmental and labour issues are lingering impediments.
Potentially big, long-term customers such as Japan are watching, as are longtime players in the B.C. natural gas sector.
According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency, the anxiety in Japan and Europe about the reliability of nuclear power - triggered by the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima in 2011 - will give gas greater prominence as a fuel for electricity generation.
With the global trade balance "visibly shifting to Asia," the IEA noted, LNG trade is increasing faster than global gas demand and the bulk of that trade is with "hungry Asian markets."
The IEA foresees global LNG trade accelerating in 2015, with a new wave of production from LNG projects still underway in Australia and the U.S.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/fp/resources/Japan+beyond/6862922/story.htmlShare This Post
By ANDREW E. KRAMER July 11, 2012
MOSCOW — A Russian oil company will delay drilling its first exploratory well off the northern coast of Cuba, about 180 miles from Florida, after apparently struggling to find a drilling rig that would not violate a United States embargo.
The Russian company, Zarubezhneft, said in a statement on Wednesday that it had planned to drill in August but now planned to start in November.
Finding rigs can be a challenge for oil companies operating in Cuba. To avoid violating the trade embargo the United States imposed on Cuba 50 years ago, rigs can have only a small portion of their parts manufactured in the United States.
Zarubezhneft, a small state-owned company, obtained the exploration rights to potential oil fields in the waters off Cuba three years ago. Last month, it obtained a rig from the Cyprus-based drilling operator, Songa Offshore.
Cuba produces little oil now, but petroleum experts say the country’s northern coastal waters could hold reserves, which may help revive the island’s economy and ease its dependence on oil imported from Venezuela.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/business/global/russian-company-delays-cuban-oil-exploration-plans.html?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
By TIM ARANGO July 11, 2012
BAGHDAD — With average temperatures hovering around 110 degrees this week, Iraqi officials have decided to try to head off the kind of huge public protests that have arisen in years past over their failure to provide adequate electric service.
But officials are not just trying to upgrade power lines and generators. They are also looking to Katie Couric to help keep people cool.
At more than two dozen locations around this city, officials have posted giant billboards of Ms. Couric, billed as “America’s Sweetheart” during her time as a host of the “Today” show on NBC. From high above the steamy streets, or from the side of blast walls, Ms. Couric beams out at passers-by in an advertisement for a daily news bulletin about electricity that is produced by the government and is shown on 11 satellite television channels.
“It doesn’t give me hope about electricity, but I like to see her beautiful face,” Habib Harbi, who sells watermelon in the summer and sweets in the winter, said as he looked across the street at the billboard from his fruit stand.Share This Post