Energy & Environment Correspondent
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Jun 27, 2012

Falling oil prices put Iran over U.S. sanctions barrel

WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) – For most of this year, the
threat of tough U.S. sanctions on Iran, the world’s
third-largest oil exporter, helped push crude oil prices higher
and higher, adding a menacing headwind for struggling global
economies.

But in the past few weeks, a combination of higher output
from Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia and economic troubles in China
and Europe have pushed oil prices down 25
percent, putting the threat of sanctions back squarely on Iran.

Jun 19, 2012

Asarco, citing DOJ probe of EPA, wants settlement voided

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) – An Arizona mining company
has asked a federal court to void a $220 million settlement with
the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it found the Justice
Department was conducting an criminal investigation of the
agency over the case.

Asarco, a unit of Grupo Mexico, has long
accused the EPA of concealing records that would clear the
company from claims it polluted thousands of properties with
lead near Omaha, Nebraska, where it operated a smelter for more
than 50 years. Asarco says that lead paint from houses caused
the pollution, not the plant.

Jun 15, 2012

U.S. proposes tighter rules on soot pollution

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
proposed stricter standards to control harmful soot from heavy
industry on Friday, a move expected to save lives but which drew
criticism from Republicans and industry worried the costs of
compliance will hurt the economy.

Under a court order, the Environmental Protection Agency
proposed tightening exposure to the particulate pollution that
threatens the elderly, people with heart disease, and children.

Jun 11, 2012

U.S. to exempt India, not China, from Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States extended exemptions from its tough, new sanctions on Iran’s oil trade to seven more economies on Monday, leaving China the last remaining major importer exposed to possible penalties at the end of the month.

In the latest sign Washington is working with other countries to pressure Iran’s nuclear program, India, South Korea, Turkey and four more economies will receive waivers from financial sanctions in return for significantly cutting purchases of Iranian oil, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Jun 7, 2012

More U.S. waivers to Iran sanctions likely next week

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will announce a new list of countries that will receive exceptions to financial sanctions on oil trade with Iran as soon as early next week, a government official said on Thursday.

Not all of Iran’s oil buyers are likely to get the waivers, said the source, who declined to elaborate. Around two thirds of Iran’s crude exports flow to Asia, where the biggest buyers are China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Jun 7, 2012

More US waivers to Iran sanctions as early as next week

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – The United States
will announce a new list of countries that will receive
exceptions to financial sanctions on oil trade with Iran as soon
as early next week, a U.S. official in Washington said on
Thursday.
The latest round of U.S. sanctions come into effect on June
28 and aim to cut Iran’s oil revenue to pressure Tehran into
halting its nuclear program. Western powers suspect Iran is
aiming to develop nuclear arms, but Tehran says the program is
for civilian purposes.
The United States can exempt countries from sanctions if
they make significant reductions to crude imports from Iran, and
has already granted waivers to Japan and 10 European Union
countries in March.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said the
announcement was originally going to be made in late May but has
been delayed and will not be out this week.
Another U.S. official, who also asked not to be identified,
said earlier on Thursday more exceptions would be announced
“soon” but declined to give more details on which countries
would join the exemptions list. The official said the United
States and South Korea had made progress in talks about reducing
imports from Iran.
Even if countries are omitted from the list, it does not
necessarily follow that the United States would quickly impose
sanctions after June 28, the official said.

It would take some time for the U.S. to gather evidence to
support punitive measures against financial institutions that
have processed oil transactions, said the official who had
spoken earlier.
Around two thirds of Iran’s crude exports flow to Asia,
where the biggest buyers are China, Japan, India and South
Korea.
The four countries have already cut their imports by about a
fifth from the 1.45 million barrels per day (bpd) they were
buying a year ago as they prepare for the U.S. sanctions to come
into effect.

May 18, 2012

Obama, G8 may remind Iran of their own “oil weapon”

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Late last year, Iran issued a series of not-so veiled threats to the West, suggesting it could use its “oil weapon” to show displeasure over toughening sanctions by halting exports or disrupting the Strait of Hormuz.

This weekend, the Group of Eight nations may offer a timely retort: We’ve got an oil weapon of our own, and we’re not afraid to use it.

May 11, 2012

Water safe in town made famous by fracking-EPA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.

The EPA has completed testing water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water after Cabot Oil & Gas Corp drilled for gas nearby.

Apr 30, 2012

US EPA official resigns after crucifixion comment

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) – A regional Environmental
Protection Agency chief based in Dallas resigned on Monday, days
after Republican lawmakers uncovered comments in which he
compared his enforcement of energy companies with crucifixion.

Al Armendariz, who was the chief of EPA’s Region 6 office,
which includes refinery-rich Texas, Louisiana and three other
states, sent a letter of resignation to EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson late on Sunday. She accepted on Monday.

Apr 27, 2012

US oil report seen supporting Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) – The Obama administration is
unlikely to pull back from levying sanctions against Iran oil
transactions based on a government report due on Friday, which
is expected to show crude markets are sufficiently well-supplied
to move forward with the penalties.

The report, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration
is required to produce every two months under the sanctions law
aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, could walk a fine
line in assessing the state of markets, according to analysts.

    • About Timothy

      "I cover U.S. energy and environment policy and climate change. Moved to DC in late 2009 after a decade in New York. Author of "Diminishing Resources:Oil," which is one in a series of books for young adults."
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