Qatar’s Powerless Weapon
Julian Lee, Bloomberg Gadfly
EPA delays chemical safety rule until 2019
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay implementation of an Obama-era chemical safety rule for nearly two years while it reassesses the necessity of the regulation. The EPA announced on Monday that Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a directive last Friday delaying the chemical plant safety standards until at least Feb. 20, 2019.
Inspector general clears EPA in investigation of Gold King Mine disaster
Nearly two years after the Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado, the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general on Monday concluded there was no wrongdoing, but that the EPA had no rules for dealing with blowout-prone toxic mines. That meant crews weren’t required to conduct a pressure test on trapped acid water inside the Gold King before trying to open it.
Details emerge about Trump’s planned rollback
The Trump administration will use a central argument from legal challengers of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan to rescind the Obama-era climate standards. EPA chief Scott Pruitt will argue that the agency went too far in setting carbon reduction goals by looking at what the broader power system could achieve instead of focusing solely on improvements at coal plants, an administration official told E&E News.
Trump slams media for failing to cover nonexistent energy stock boom
President Trump unleashed tweets over the weekend slamming the “fake news” media for once again ignoring terrific economic news. Among other good economic and markets news, Trump said the “drilling & energy sector” is “way up” since the election.
Zinke Recommends Rolling Back Parts of Bears Ears National Monument
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended on Monday that President Donald Trump shrink the boundaries of Utah’s controversial Bears Ears National Monument and called on Congress to pass a bill on land management in the area. Zinke said on a conference call that he had submitted his report on Bears Ears to the White House on Saturday, under an executive order calling for reviews of 22 national monuments and five marine monuments around the country created by the Antiquities Act.
Oil rises on Saudi pledge to make real supply cuts
Oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said it would make significant export cuts in July amid signs of a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories, though increasing U.S. output continues to weigh on the market. Brent crude futures were at $48.64 per barrel at 0833 GMT, up 35 cents, while benchmark U.S. crude was at $46.38 per barrel, up 30 cents.
Oil and Natural Gas
Saudi Arabia Cuts U.S. Oil Exports to Work Down Global Supply Glut
Saudi Arabia is slashing its U.S. oil exports to a near three-decade low for this time of the year, intensifying its efforts to reduce a global supply glut that has been pummeling crude prices. The state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. expects its sales to the U.S. will drop below one million barrels a day in June, then slide to about 850,000 barrels a day in July, according to people familiar with the matter.
Trump looks to boost natural gas exports to India
President Trump is expected to make U.S.-produced natural gas a key part of discussions when he meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “U.S. energy and technologies, including natural gas, are helping to build Prime Minister Modi’s vision for a new India in creating thousands of U.S. jobs in the process,” Spicer said.
Fatal explosion threatens more upheaval over drilling in Colo.
Critics of oil and gas drilling are redoubling their efforts to stop development in the wake of an oil-field-related explosion that killed two people in April. Broomfield, a fast-growing suburb about 20 miles north of Denver, exemplifies some of the trend.
Ineos to spend €2bn on expanding petrochemicals capacity
Ineos is to invest €2bn expanding its European petrochemicals capacity in a sign of the benefits of cheap US shale gas spreading across the Atlantic. The privately owned UK group said it planned to build a new plant, probably in Belgium, to produce propylene — a raw material used in many plastics and other chemical products — using US gas as a feedstock.
Utilities and Infrastructure
Appeals court ruling lets challenge to Arizona utility’s pricing stand
An Arizona utility can’t escape being sued for anti-trust violations for the rates it sets solely because it’s a quasi-governmental entity, at least not now — if ever, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by attorneys for Salt River Project that SolarCity cannot challenge its pricing system. The appellate judges said they have no authority to consider the finding of a trial judge in Phoenix who said the challenge should be allowed to go ahead.
Western Ky. Power Plant Seeking to Convert Coal Ash Storage
The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking public input on a western Kentucky power plant’s proposal to change the way it stores coal ash. The Shawnee Fossil Plant in West Paducah is planning to covert from wet to dry storage of the ash, a byproduct of burning coal.
Goldman’s Green Push Comes With a Trading Twist
A wind farm in Scranton, Pa., sitting over ancient coal seams, will soon power Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s data centers in New Jersey. The Wall Street bank said Monday that it has agreed to buy 68 megawatts of electricity from the plant, which will come online in 2019.
Coal mines on track for lowest production in a decade
Montana coal mines are entering a second straight year of historically low production, industry records show. Coal numbers through the first four months of 2017 show Montana mines producing a third less coal than they did just two years ago.
New cracks discovered at Belgian nuclear plant
Three years after its last inspection, new microfractures have been discovered at the Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium. Experts using ultrasonic technology found the latest cracks on the high pressure boiler at the facility, confirmed by Belgian interior minister Jan Gambon, whose government added that the security of the plant was not threatened.
France to close some nuclear reactors, says ecology minister Hulot
French environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot said on Monday that the government plans to close some nuclear reactors of state-controlled utility EDF to reduce nuclear’s share of the country’s power mix. He gave no indication of timing.
Trump lawyers try ‘extraordinary trick’ to quash youth climate case
The US federal government has invoked a rarely used legal tool to try and quash a climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people. After district court judge Ann Aiken last week stood by her decision that the youth lawsuit deserved a hearing, the Trump administration went over her head to the 9th circuit court of appeals on Friday to get the case dismissed.
This is what the U.S.’s new global isolation on climate change looks like
Now that the Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate deal, we’re starting to see concretely what that means on the world stage. In particular, it seems to suggest the United States is increasingly isolated as other nations reiterate their commitment to climate action in group statements and the United States, via footnote, says it isn’t part of all that.
‘We’re still on fast-track to trial’: Kids’ climate lawsuit against Trump administration stays alive
Late last week, a federal judge denied a Trump administration move to prevent a major climate change lawsuit from going to trial. The case, being brought by 21 young people against the federal government, is now closer to a full-fledged trial that will pit the Trump administration against children and young adults who insist the government is undermining their future through climate change inaction.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Qatar’s Powerless Weapon
Oil and gas exports are key to Qatar’s prosperity, and the restrictions imposed earlier this month by its neighbors on vessels could create some real problems for crude.For gas, there will be limited impact. However the key weapon in Qatar’s arsenal — its gas supplies to Abu Dhabi — can’t be compromised without escalating a battle the nation would seem destined to lose.
Decline in Chinese lake phosphorus concentration accompanied by shift in sources since 2006
Domestic wastewater and agricultural activities are important sources of nutrient pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Upon reaching freshwater, these nutrients can lead to extensive growth of harmful algae, which results in eutrophication.