Energy & Environment Correspondent
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Nov 16, 2011

U.S. State Deptartment energy office to push natural gas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Encouraging the world’s major energy consumers to take advantage of a global boom in natural gas can help ease growth in oil dependency and climate-changing emissions, the head of a new U.S. State Department office on energy said on Wednesday.

“That is an issue we are addressing very seriously,” Carlos Pascual, who designed and established the State Department’s new Bureau of Energy Resources, told reporters.

Nov 16, 2011

Republicans blast shale drilling rule expansion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans on Wednesday blasted the Obama administration’s plans to expand regulation of the controversial “fracking” drilling practice essential to tapping the nation’s abundant shale oil and gas reserves.

The Interior Department is in the process of updating rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands and developing a proposal to require disclosure of chemicals used in the drilling technique.

Nov 11, 2011

U.S. puts tricky pipeline decision past 2012 election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Thursday delayed approval of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline until after the 2012 U.S. election, bowing to pressure from environmentalists and sparing President Barack Obama a damaging split with liberal voters he may need to win reelection.

The decision to explore a new route for TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL oil pipeline to avoid fragile territory in the Sand Hills of Nebraska dismayed the Canadian government, which had lobbied assiduously for the $7 billion project.

Nov 10, 2011

U.S. seeks new Keystone pipeline route

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The United States said on
Thursday it will study a new route for the Keystone XL
Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying any final approval
beyond the U.S. 2012 election and sparing U.S. President Barack
Obama a politically risky decision during an election year.

The decision was a victory for environmental groups, who
say producing oil sands crude emits large amounts of greenhouse
gases. It was a blow to TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), which
planned to build and operate the conduit.

Nov 10, 2011

Democrats ax bill to block EPA clean air rule

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democrats defeated a bill on Thursday that would have blocked federal environmental regulators from slashing power plant air pollution that blows downwind to other states and causes lung and heart problems.

The bill, sponsored by Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and Tea Party favorite, needed only a simple majority of 50 to pass. The measure got only 41, while 56 voted against it. Only one Democrat, Joe Manchin from coal-rich West Virginia, voted for it.

Nov 10, 2011

Exclusive: New Keystone pipeline route sought

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will study a new route for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, U.S. officials said on Thursday, delaying any final approval beyond the 2012 election and sparing President Barack Obama a politically risky decision for now.

The delay was a victory for environmentalists who say oil sands crude development emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. It would deal a blow to companies developing Alberta’s oil sands and to TransCanada Corp, which planned to build and operate the conduit.

Nov 9, 2011

U.S. could delay Keystone decision past 2012 election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States may decide within weeks whether to pursue a new route for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas pipeline, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, a step that may delay a final decision on the politically sensitive project beyond the 2012 U.S. election.

Such a delay in TransCanada Corp’s $7 billion pipeline could be a serious setback for a project considered the most important North American crude conduit in decades. A study of the environmental and other effects of a new route could take 12 to 18 months, the U.S. official told Reuters.

Nov 7, 2011

Inspector review may delay Canada-U.S. oil pipeline

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department’s
inspector general has opened a “special review” of the
department’s handling of permitting for the Canada-to-Texas
Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, which could delay the final
decision on the line into 2012 or later.

Howard Geisel, the State Department’s inspector general,
said in a memo sent to Senator Bernie Sanders that the review
will determine to what extent the department and all other
parties involved complied with federal laws and regulations
relating to the permitting process on TransCanada Corp’s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline.

Nov 3, 2011

Democrats block bill to delay clean air rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats on Thursday blocked the first major bill in the Senate that would have delayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air rules.

The bill, which needed 60 votes to pass, got only 47 votes. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who faces reelection next year, was the lone Democrat to vote for the bill. His state is rich in coal, the fuel that could see added costs from a raft of upcoming EPA rules on power plants and industry.

Nov 3, 2011

Obama advisers fret over pipeline’s political risks

WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Reeling from months of
protests, President Barack Obama’s advisers are worried that
administration approval for a planned oil pipeline from Canada
could cost him political support from Democrats in 2012.

Senior officials at the White House and Obama’s Chicago
campaign headquarters have fielded complaints from supporters
who are unhappy about TransCanada Corp’s plan to build a
massive pipeline to transport crude from Alberta to Texas,
sources familiar with the situation said.

    • 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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