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Lawmakers renew push for drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge

Former U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski in 2001 gave a speech urging colleagues to approve oil drilling in America’s largest wildlife refuge. The Alaska Republican held up a blank sheet of paper to illustrate his point.  The field of white, he said, was all you could see each winter on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, implying that such a barren landscape would not be harmed by oil rigs. Sixteen years later, Murkowski’s daughter is trying again. U.S. Sen.

Iowa farmers to appeal after losing Dakota Access pipeline challenge

Iowa farmers challenging construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline on their land will appeal to the Supreme Court after a Polk County district judge upheld the Iowa Utilities Board’s approval of the decision.  “We’re not giving up,” said Dick Lamb, one of 14 landowners in the case. “We don’t want this pipeline, and I think most Iowans don’t want it either.” The landowners have 30 days from District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell’s Feb. 15 decision to file their appeal. “We are disappointed,” said attorney Bill Hanigan of the Davis Brown law firm in Iowa, “but we’re not deterred.

The Pruitt emails: E.P.A. chief was arm in arm with industry

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations, according to over 6,000 pages of emails made public on Wednesday.  The publication of the correspondence comes just days after Mr. Pruitt was sworn in to run the E.P.A., which is charged with reining in pollution and regulating public health.

How an Interoffice Spat Erupted Into a Climate-Change Furor

few weeks ago, on an obscure climate-change blog, a retired government scientist named John Bates blasted his former boss on an esoteric point having to do with archiving temperature data. It was little more than lingering workplace bad blood, said Dr. Bates’s former co-workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Bates had felt he deserved his boss’s job at NOAA, they said, not the demotion he received. “He’s retaliating. It’s like grade school,” said Glenn Rutledge, a former physical scientist at NOAA who worked with Dr. Bates.

Minnesota Senate approves Becker power plant

The Legislature moved to sidestep utility regulators and approve a new Xcel Energy power plant in central Minnesota.  The natural gas-fired plant in Becker is meant to offset losses from two coal-fired generators when they close in 2023 and 2026. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission sidelined Xcel's proposal in October. However, bills passed in both chambers of the Legislature mean the plant can move forward without fulfilling the regulator's request to research renewable energy options.

Indiana Senate panel OKs bill to reduce solar incentives

An Indiana Senate panel gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill backed by the state's investor-owned power utilities that critics contend is an effort to muscle out smaller companies from the emerging solar energy market. The measure by Republican state Sen. Brandt Hershman was approved by thte Senate Utilities committee.Currently, solar panel owners who feed surplus energy into the power grid are compensated at a retail market rate, which supporters say enables them to pay off the expensive investment in solar within its useful life.

Maryland Recognizes Critical Role States Can Play in Ag Energy Solutions

This week, the Maryland governor and agriculture secretary toured a state-subsidized, pilot, on-farm manure-to-energy project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The project burns poultry litter that heats the poultry house while also reducing humidity and ammonia. It also underscores the role states can play in helping ag producers produce clean energy, meet their stewardship responsibilities and even potentially open new revenue streams for their operations. The system that Gov.

Trump signs law rolling back disclosure rule for energy and mining companies

President Trump signed his first piece of legislation on Tuesday, a measure that could presage the most aggressive assault on government regulations since President Reagan. The bill cancels out a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation that would have required oil and gas and mining companies to disclose in detail the payments they make to foreign governments in a bid to boost transparency in resource-rich countries.

Innovation is Driving Down Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Corn-based Ethanol

Ethanol production has changed significantly over the past ten years. U.S. production has ramped up from 3.9 to 14.8 billion gallons per year between 2005 and 2015. As demand for corn ethanol has increased, corn production in the US expanded from 11.8 billion bushels in 2004 to 13.6 billion bushels in 2015.  In addition to the gains from reduced levels of land conversion, the ICF report shows that the reductions in GHG emissions from corn ethanol are continually driven by a variety of improvements in efficiency, from the corn field to the ethanol refinery.

Fight over renewable energy comes to New Hampshire

New Hampshire already lags behind most of its neighbors in expanding its use of renewable energy but that hasn't stopped several groups from using this legislative session to attack those nascent efforts. Led by the Americans for Prosperity,  these groups support a bill that would pull New Hampshire out of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The program has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from electrical generation in those eight states by 40 percent over the last decade.

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