UPDATES FROM THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT – Stay Informed
Following is a round-up of relevant oil and gas stories, International, US, California, and LA-oriented, compiled by Maro Kakoussian of March and Rally Los Angeles. Check back for updates and STAY INFORMED!
TOP STORIES – September 4, 2017:
EPA slams reporter over story on flooded toxic waste sites in Houston
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release Sunday that slammed a reporter by name over a story about the flooding of toxic waste sites in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. ‘Yesterday, the Associated Press’ Michael Biesecker wrote an incredibly misleading story about toxic land sites that are under water,” said the release written by Associate EPA Administrator Liz Bowman.
National briefs: California governor declares emergency amid raging wildfire
California Gov. Jerry Brown Sunday declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County as firefighters continued to battle a 5,900-acre brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles that destroyed three homes and closed a stretch of the 210 Freeway.
The governor’s declaration will ensure that state and federal assistance will be provided as quickly as possible. It came at the urging of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said the fire is the largest in the city’s history in terms of acreage.
Palmer fire in Riverside County grows to 3,800 acres
The Palmer fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. Saturday west of Beaumont, near San Timoteo Canyon Road and Fisherman’s Retreat, and rapidly spread by nightfall. The blaze is believed to have been caused by fireworks, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
‘A Freight Train Coming at the House’: Son of Couple Who Lost Home in La Tuna Fire Describes Harrowing Moments
The son of a couple who lost their home in the destructive La Tuna Fire described the fire’s behavior as “a freight train,” and returned the rubble Monday to try and salvage family memories.
Ontario Airport – Emerging Global Gateway
China Airlines’ statement confirms the airport’s status as an emerging global gateway, one with the infrastructure, facilities and services to accommodate the increasing demand for international air travel to Southern California.
Offshore drilling crackdown stalls in California Legislature
Legislation that would clamp down on offshore drilling along California’s coast stalled on Friday.
The measure, SB 188, had been introduced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) after President Trump announced in April that his administration would consider allowing more drilling. “I’m really disappointed,” Jackson said. “I’m not going to give up,” adding that she may bring back her proposal next year. Trump’s executive order sparked outrage in California, where no new leases have been issued for state waters since 1969 and none for federal waters since 1984. Jackson’s proposal would have prevented new oil infrastructure, such as pipelines or piers, on state land along the coast. Existing leases would not be renewed if it meant an increase in oil production.
County planning commission to consider oil well plan near Oxnard
Renaissance Petroleum is asking to add four new wells at the existing Naumann drill site on Etting Road, about a third of a mile outside of Oxnard. The site in unincorporated Ventura County currently has one well in operation and is located about 4,000 feet from another drill site operated by Renaissance Petroleum. If approved, the new wells will not increase the footprint of the one-acre Naumann facility. The addition of four wells will increase the number of oil wells near Oxnard to 289. There are nearly 4,000 active and idle oil and gas wells in the county.
Assemblymember Chris Holden’s 2017 Bills Clear Senate Appropriations Committee
Five of Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bills cleared the California State Senate Appropriations Committee today. The passing legislation includes Assembly Bill 17, which establishes a pilot Transit Pass Program to provide free or reduced cost transit passes for low-income K-12 and college students; Assembly Bill 726, which requires power companies to provide an opt-out energy alert program; Assembly Bill 959, which empowers families with special needs children; Assembly Bill 1239, which updated building standards to include electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and Assembly Bill 1567 that streamlines foster youth enrollment into educational assistance programs in California Community Colleges and California State University Programs.
Closely Watched Bills Killed by Legislative Spending Committees
The Senate and Assembly appropriations committees voted Friday to advance hundreds of bills, but other measures — including efforts to halt a controversial groundwater project in the Mojave Desert and block new offshore oil pipelines — were killed.
Bill aimed at halting Mojave Desert water project stalls
Cadiz Inc. wants to build a pipeline along an existing federal railroad right of way to bring water from its wells below the desert into the Colorado River Aqueduct. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released guidelines during the Obama administration to block the company from using that right of way. The Trump administration.
lithium-ion battery storage
Doosan GridTech is building a 20MW lithium-ion battery storage system in the Mojave Desert for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
$3-billion electric vehicle rebate bill moves to California Legislature for full vote
The bill directs the state Air Resources Board to devise a formula for car rebates. A single rebate amount would be set that would account for the difference in price between a compact electric car and a traditionally powered compact car, according to the bill.
Sponsor Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has suggested a Chevy Bolt EV could be compared against the best-selling compact in California, which right now is the Honda Civic. That could mean a rebate of $8,000 to $10,000 or more.
Plan to boost electric-vehicle rebates scrapped for study
A $3 billion spending bill to boost rebates for electric vehicles was amended in the California Legislature. The $3 billion was taken out of the bill, AB 1184, late Friday. No dollar amount was inserted to take its place. Instead, the bill is now a directive to the state Air Resources Board to conduct studies on the best ways to write and implement EV rebate legislation, with the report due Sept. 1, 2019. http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2017/09/02/california-3-billion-electric-car-rebate-bill-moves-forward/627727001/
California Plans Tighter Trailer GHG Rules If EPA Softens Phase 2 Limits
California air board officials are detailing plans to tighten their greenhouse gas rules for model year 2018-2027 truck trailers operating in the state if EPA weakens or rescinds federal Phase 2 GHG standards for the vehicles that were adopted last year, or if pending litigation delays the rules, according to documents board staff released Aug. 30. https://insideepa.com/daily-news/california-plans-tighter-trailer-ghg-rules-if-epa-softens-phase-2-limits
Why thousands are expected to apply for Wilmington’s new, low-income housing project
Planning and construction are being carried out by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles together with Abode Communities and Mercy Housing California. The new section is dubbed Vista del Mar and Camino del Mar and will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with monthly rents tentatively to range from $648 to $1,171.
Do you want rapid bus, tram or light rail in the San Fernando Valley? Metro seeks your comments
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is seeking feedback on options for a new transit line in the Eastern San Fernando Valley. Metro released a draft environmental impact report for the line, which will roughly parallel Van Nuys Boulevard connecting the Orange Line rapid bus at Van Nuys to the Metrolink commuter rail service at Slymar/San Fernando.
Headaches and raspy voices as wildfire smoke chokes U.S. West
ir quality has been rated unhealthy across the region because of blazes that show no signs of abating. Officials said Friday that one of the worst U.S. wildfire seasons in terms of land burned is likely to keep scorching Western states and blanketing them with smoke until later this fall.
BLM to offer parcels in oil and gas lease sale in Nye
In keeping with the Trump administration’s goal of strengthening America’s energy independence, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said it will offer three parcels in Nye County totaling approximately 3,680 acres at its September quarterly oil and gas lease sale.
The BLM will hold the lease sale online via www.energynet.com. Bidding is set to begin at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12. Each parcel will have its own unique open bidding period, with start and stop times clearly identified on the auction website.
Oil Firms That Cheered Regulatory Cuts Are Quaking on Nafta
As Nafta negotiations resume Friday, oil industry leaders are desperate to preserve the 23-year-old trade deal that drove a North American oil and gas renaissance and paved the way for $34 billion worth of energy exports to Canada and Mexico last year.
Who’s Behind Fossil Fuel Extraction? It’s Not Just Republicans
Like the sections of pipe they are assembled from, pipelines with names like Algonquin, Dominion and Kinder Morgan/TCG CT Expansion are interconnected, and affect a long string of communities crisscrossing the country. The 2.5 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines frequently leak and rupture, a 2012 ProPublica investigation found.
A Refiner That Will Benefit From Harvey
Tesoro Corporation, now known as Andeavor (ANDV), is nicely positioned to benefit from the disruption Hurricane Harvey has caused in the Gulf Coast refining operations (see my earlier Seeking Alpha articles on Phillips 66 and Exxon Mobil). While I don’t understand the name-change, other than perhaps to confuse investors, it certainly has not affected the stock, which has been an excellent performer.
Industry associations advocate for RNG in feedback to EPA’s proposed RFS rule
While Pruitt claims the proposed 23% cut reflects “actual production and consumer demand,” that reflection will only be accurate if pending volumes are considered — and the cut could be detrimental to the waste industry. Landfills and anaerobic digestion facilities that produce RNG have the opportunity to make more money from RIN credits than from the gas alone, and associated RNG projects are projected to double by 2025. It is up to the RNG, waste and related industries to maintain pressure on the EPA as rules are finalized
RFP comment period closes, more than 44,000 comments submitted
The proposed rule calls for 19.24 billion gallons of total renewable fuel, including 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel and 4.24 billion gallons of advanced biofuel. The 2.1 billion gallon biomass-based diesel requirement for 2018 was finalized last year. For 2019, the new proposal calls for the biomass-based diesel RVO to be maintained at 2.1 billion gallons.
House Science Committee: Russia Secretly Backed Anti-Fracking Campaigns
A pair of House Republicans are smearing green groups by claiming they received funds from Russia. In a six-page letter dated June 29, the GOP lawmakers asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to investigate whether Russia secretly backed American environmental campaigns against fracking, a technology that helped the U.S. overtake Russia in gas production. http://www.alternet.org/environment/house-science-committee-russia-secretly-backed-anti-fracking-campaigns
Multiple Industry-Funded Nominations to EPA’s Clean Air Advisory Committee
Back in March, and then again in May, we flagged efforts by Pruitt and the GOP to bend the knee to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and grant pro-pollution voices even more of a say on science advisory panels. One such panel is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which according to its website, “provides independent advice to the EPAAdministrator on the technical bases for EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”
Wind energy is setting records in the U.S. and around the world
In the United States, wind power achieved its second strongest quarter ever, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), surpassing hydropower to become the largest source of renewable electricity capacity in the United States. Overall, wind capacity now ranks fourth in the United States, behind coal, natural gas, and nuclear.
Climate change, refugees worsen Jordan’s water woes: scientists
Hot, dry Jordan faces severe water shortages due to climate change and a refugee influx from neighboring Syria, Stanford University scientists said in a study published on Wednesday.
In a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, Jordan is expected to experience a one-third drop in annual winter rainfall, alongside a 4.5 degree Celsius rise in average annual temperatures by 2100, said the study.
Egypt’s oil and gas sector on a roll after years of turmoil: report
According to a report on the Egyptian economy, UAE-based Renaissance Capital said that over half of the foreign $4.1bn in direct investment in Egypt in the fourth quarter of 2016 went to the oil and gas sector. The biggest buyers were Britain (who has always been the biggest foreign contributor in Egypt), the United States, and Belgium, while the UAE is the largest investor from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Egypt signs oil and gas exploration deals with Shell, Apex
Egyptian Oil Minister Tarek El Molla has signed three oil and gas exploration deals for 16 new fields in the Western Desert worth at least $81.4 million in total with Royal Dutch Shell and the U.S.-based Apex International Energy.
Maersk bids oil and gas division goodbye as Denmark goes green
Per Bloomberg, the money from oil and gas sales is fueling the Denmark’s transition to a green economy. Thanks to a thriving offshore wind energy business, Denmark can afford to let go of receipts from North Sea oil which used to bring in $1.3 billion annually. Meanwhile, experts see no connection between the sale of A.P. Moller Maersk’s oil and gas division to the cyberattack it suffered in Q2 this year. In a report published by CNBC, the cost of NotPetya cyberattack will allegedly result to $300 million in lost revenue.
U.S. refiner Phillips 66 requests Jones Act waiver to use foreign ships after HarveyU..S. refiner Phillips 66 has requested a Jones Act waiver to allow it to use foreign vessels to move crude or products to and from its 260,000-barrel-per-day Alliance refinery in Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey, the company said on Sunday. The Jones Act requires all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. Waivers can only be granted based on the interest of national defense such as national emergencies.
Hundreds are dead in Burma as the Rohingya crisis explodes again
Hundreds of people have died in western Burma in clashes between insurgents and security forces, a dramatic escalation of the Rohingya crisis that has haunted the country’s transition to democracy and tainted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s legacy.
HURRICANE HARVEY UPDATES
Interactive Map Shows Volatile Facilities Threatened by Hurricane Harvey
For decades, Houston has been home to an immense concentration of chemical and plastics plants, oil and gas refineries, Superfund sites, fossil fuel plants, and wastewater discharge treatment plants among others, threatening the surrounding communities. The overwhelming majority of these facilities were constructed in communities of color, only adding to the burden felt from this disaster. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the threat posed by these facilities has been magnified.
Harvey stirs up a toxic, industrial soup
Texas is home to 28 oil refineries, more than any other state, along with half of U.S. chemical manufacturing. Most of these facilities are clustered along the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Harvey just dumped a year’s worth of rain in a few days.
As waters recede in Houston, attention turns to chemical facilities
Coastal Houston is the site of a large concentration of chemical plants, refineries, superfund sites and fossil fuel operations. Some have suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey, releasing toxic compounds into the environment, and environmentalists, in turn, are pointing the finger at politicians and industry leaders who have sought to ax regulations.
Texas Wind Turbines Went Right on Turning Under Harvey’s Impact, as Refineries Shut Down
Extreme weather is in our future. Caribbean hurricanes of the future will be more and more violent and destructive because of manmade global heating. Sea level rise will open the coast to bigger storm surges. The number of coastal floods has already doubled since the 1980s because of people driving their gasoline cars and running their air conditioners off burning lumps of coal. Hotter air over hotter water will have more moisture in it, setting the stage for regular flooding. Hotter water creates more powerful winds within hurricanes.
Analysis: Harvey Triggered Release of Nearly a Million Pounds of Toxic Air Pollutants
Texas refineries and petrochemical plants affected by Hurricane Harvey have released nearly a million pounds of seven especially dangerous air pollutants, according to a new analysis released Friday.
OP-ED: At oil refineries, cost of avoiding safety moves could be sky-high: Guest commentary
Residents of the greater South Bay are weary of living in fear of an accidental release of hydrofluoric acid at the last two California oil refineries using it. We don’t welcome Californians from other regions, like San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, telling us what we can and can’t do about it. Hagman insisted in a recent guest commentary in these pages that deadly modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF) must stay because replacing it would raise gas prices.
However, California drivers took in stride ExxonMobil’s complete, 11/2-year shutdown after the February 2015 explosion, plus simultaneous strikes at multiple refineries. MHF replacement will be much less disruptive, and the downtime for alkylation units at Torrance and Valero, Wilmington will be shorter.
OP-ED: May: ‘Harvey’ reminds us why we must decarbonize
The loss of life and property damage from Hurricane Harvey has been a very real human tragedy for those living along the U.S. Gulf Coast. For the rest of us, the impacts from Harvey have largely been felt at the gas pumps. With Harvey shutting down almost a quarter of U.S. oil refining capacity and several critical transport pipelines, filling up our cars has suddenly become more expensive. Here in Sudbury, more than 2,500 kilometres from Houston, the price of gasoline has spiked by about 10 cents a litre in just a week and a half.
OP-ED: From Carpet to Clean Air: It’s Time for California to Stand Up for Environmental Justice
Few are aware that billions of tons of carpets are dumped in landfills or burned in incinerators in American neighborhoods every year. Burning carpet and other plastic waste emits more carbon dioxide than a coal-fired power plant and releases some of the most deadly substances on earth into the air, soil and water. These toxic emissions exacerbate climate c
OP-ED: How Do We Talk About Climate Justice After Hurricane Harvey?
Bryan Parras the co-founder of t.e.j.a.s, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, says it’s never too late to talk about how climate change affects marginalized communities more than anyone else. Hundreds of years of black culture was erased from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and black and Latinos in New Jersey found it more difficult to get relief after Hurricane Sandy than their white neighbors.
OP-ED: Justice Deferred: A Break Down of California’s Cap & Trade Bill from the Environmental Justice Perspective
The recently passed cap-and-trade bill, AB 398, fails to address these concerns, which the environmental justice community has consistently articulated. It may actually hinder our ability to achieve our statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets, includes harmful regulatory rollbacks, and undermines our climate investments.
OP-ED: Hurricane Harvey Magnifies Climate and Petrochemical Toxic Risks for Environmental Justice Communities in Houston
The last few days have been difficult for people in Houston. Though they have been difficult for everybody, the environmental justice communities like Manchester and Galena Park in eastern Houston are now facing a double whammy of climate change and toxic contamination. Adding to the toll of human suffering, death, loss of livelihoods, and dislocation that Hurricane Harvey is leaving in its wake, environmental justice communities in Houston are now facing threats from the many petrochemical facilities that already expose them to acute and chronic air toxics emissions.
TOP STORIES – September 1, 2017:
Power conservation urged during statewide heatwave
Managers of California’s power grid are asking for voluntary electricity conservation as forecasters predict more extreme heat statewide. The California Independent System Operator predicts demand on the system will set a new all-time record Friday. Consumers are asked to cut back on use of electricity between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. when use of air conditioners is at its peak.
Record heat, lightning, fires, intense rain: California’s extreme weather gets wilder
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers used more electricity on Thursday battling the heat wave than has ever been used in the agency’s history, DWP officials announced. Customers hit a peak demand of 6,502 megawatts at 4:15 p.m., shattering the previous record of 6,396 megawatts on Sept. 16, 2014.
Regulators watching levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 in Compton, North Long Beach
Regulators watching levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 in Compton, North Long Beach. Excessive levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 were detected by the AQMD at two metal processing sites in Paramount in the past year. Now, facilities in Compton and North Long Beach are under scrutiny.
Wind and solar produce three times more energy than IEA admits
The IEA energy statistics underestimates the role of wind and solar in the world’s energy mix. The counting method must be changed to help policymakers and investors to understand how near the world is to a transition to an energy supply dominated by solar and wind power.
Latest Hurricane Harvey Articles
New Hazard in Storm Zone: Chemical Blasts and ‘Noxious’ Smoke
A series of explosions at a flood-damaged chemical plant outside Houston on Thursday drew sharp focus on hazards to public health and safety from the city’s vast petrochemical complex as the region begins a painstaking recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Texas Grapples with Unprecedented Catastrophe as Hurricane Death Toll Rises
-Monsoon Rains Trigger Building Collapse in Mumbai, Deaths in Karachi
-Yemen Floods Kill At Least 18 as Drainage Systems Fail
-FEMA Chief: Plume from Chemical Plant Explosion “Incredibly Dangerous”
In Houston, Texas, floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey have begun to recede, revealing human remains and mass devastation to the nation’s fourth-largest city. Texas officials say at least 44 people were killed by the storm and nearly 100,000 homes are damaged by flooding. More than 30,000 people remain in shelters. Health officials are taking steps to minimize the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, and nearly 150,000 homes have been told to boil their water. East of Houston, in hard-hit Beaumont, drinking water remains completely shut off, and emergency workers have begun evacuating Baptist Beaumont Hospital.
California: Bill to ease permits for cell phone towers could affect health
A bill co-authored by a Bay Area assemblyman that would block the ability of cities and counties to control the installation of microwave radiation antennas is doing more than alarming many local officials. It’s also frightening grass-roots activists and scientists, who argue that if Senate Bill 649 becomes law, a projected 50,000 new cellular antennas will be installed on public buildings and utility poles in California neighborhoods, creating a risk to public health because of the possible dangers of radiation and electromagnetic frequencies emitted by cell towers.
It’s a Sign of the Times: Challenges to Big Oil Transactions Will Likely Continue in California
Valero Energy Corporation will likely face an uphill battle ahead in California over its plans to purchase storage terminals in Martinez and Richmond, California from Plains All American Pipeline. The California Attorney General’s (AG) opposition to the transaction following the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approval of the sale is likely the beginning of a series of challenges.
California’s goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energy
California lawmakers are considering a future without the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, a step that would boost the renewable energy industry and expand the scope of the state’s battle against global warming.
Omnitrans route to stop at Ontario airport every 15 minutes
Omnitrans will soon make it easier for travelers to get to Ontario International Airport on public transit. Starting Sept. 5, the agency will add the airport as a stop on Route 61 providing 15-minute service to ONT on weekdays and weekends. By adding the stops at the airport, officials hope it helps change traveler’s mind-sets to be more transit-oriented.
Officials checking for small Aliso Canyon methane leak
Aliso Canyon has on two occasions since Aug. 1, released excessive methane into the atmosphere in Southern California, Kallanish Energy learns. The high levels of methane or natural gas were detected by methane-measuring aircraft flying over the underground storage facility in Los Angeles. Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) had started refilling Aliso Canyon on Aug. 1.
Californians Seek Even-Handed Approach to Clean Air Spending
The vast majority of Californians want local and state government to blend innovative energy and transportation technologies with sensible policies and fair distribution of clean air funds and carbon cap-and-trade auction proceeds, according to a recent poll of state voters.
Environmental Groups Challenge Board of Supervisors over Chiquita Canyon
Several local groups filed a lawsuit challenging a decision made by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on July 25 to accept a recent environmental report advancing a plan to expand the Chiquita Canyon Landfill on Hwy 126 adjacent to Val Verde. The Val Verde Community Association, Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance and the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, or SCOPE, are demanding closure of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Val Verde.
Gov. Jerry Brown lays out his plan for cap-and-trade spending
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled on Thursday his plan for spending cap-and-trade revenue, prioritizing cleaner vehicles and improving air quality. Roughly $1.5 billion, all generated by the sale of permits required to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, is available to be spent by the governor and lawmakers. Brown wants the biggest chunk of the money, $607.5 million, to be used on financial incentives for cleaner cars, trucks, buses and farm vehicles.
Trump admin violated law in delaying royalties rule — court
In a decision with major implications for other regulatory rollbacks, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that the Interior Department failed to go through proper procedure when it postponed an Obama-era rule aimed at reforming royalty calculations for oil, gas and coal produced on federal and tribal lands.
1,200 Dead, 41 Million Affected by Flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal
As much of the North American media focuses on the ongoing unprecedented flooding and relief efforts in Texas and now potentially Louisiana, another tragedy is unfolding, which is going largely unreported, in Asia. Whereas the death toll in Texas stands at 20, the death toll in South Asia is estimated at 1,200 after weeks of unusually strong monsoon rains affecting India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The Red Cross estimates that 14 million people have been affected by flooding in India; more than seven million in Bangladesh and 1.5 million in Nepal. The United Nations puts the total number of people affected by floods and landslides at a total nearly double that, at 41 million.
Andeavor opens first ARCO gas station in Mexico
San Antonio based refining company AndeavorCorp. (NYSE: ANDV) has opened its first ARCO gasoline station south of the border in Mexico. Andeavor opened an ARCO gas station off Calz del Tecnologico just south of Tijuana International Airport on Wednesday. The full-service station is the first of six ARCO gasoline stations and convenience stores that are planned to be opened in the border city over the next few weeks.
OPEC Looks For Long-term Boost From Harvey
For veteran OPEC officials, Hurricane Harvey’s impact on global oil markets is one of the strangest things they have seen. The storm has led to some of the biggest disruptions to U.S. energy infrastructure; yet it has failed to boost crude prices.
In contrast with previous major hurricanes such as Katrina in 2005, Harvey has actually seen oil prices edge down as traders have focused more on the hit to demand from damaged U.S. refineries than the blow to supply from knocked-out production. That is deeply frustrating for OPEC countries currently restricting oil supplies in an attempt to push prices higher. “It seems no event will move the oil price up much,” said one OPEC delegate, surprised by the lack of impact from Harvey.
Ontario creates new $377M green fund with money from cap-and-trade program
Eligible Ontario households will be able to get smart thermostats for free on a first-come, first-serve basis under a new government program—along with more benefits to follow for small businesses and cleantech companies. Environment Minister Chris Ballard announced Aug. 30 that $377 million in proceeds from Ontario’s cap-and-trade auctions this year will be used to establish a Green Ontario Fund. That not-for-profit provincial agency will oversee programs and rebates for homes and businesses to reduce energy costs.
Jerry Brown headed to Russia
On Sunday, California’s globetrotting governor will leave for a six-day trip to Vladivostok, Russia, home to the Eastern Economic Forum. There, he plans to push climate change to the forefront of the conversation with regional and world leaders. Brown said he views the forum as an occasion to promote investment and strengthen the state’s commitment to decarbonizing the economy.
Amazon doubles warehouse capacity to 13 m cu ft in India
Amazon India has nearly doubled its warehouse capacity at 13 million cubic feet with the company now running 41 fulfillment centers across the country.
CARB PRESS RELEASE August 31, 2017
Study: Commuters’ exposures to air pollution greatly depends on mode of travel heading
The mode of travel you take on your daily work commute can make a big difference in your exposure to air pollution, a new study finds. The study, “Commuter exposure to PM2.5, BC, and UFP in six common transport microenvironments in Sacramento, California,” conducted by researchers at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), was published recently in Atmospheric Environment, a prestigious scientific journal in the field of air pollution.
Op-ed: Climate Change Activists Not Deterred by California’s Industry-Friendly Law
In April, as California legislators deliberated on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program for addressing climate change, attorneys for the Western States Petroleum Association — the oil industry’s influential Sacramento-based lobbying group — drew up a 10-item wish list.
The list called for loosening numerous rules concerning oil industry pollution. It also took aim at a pending Bay Area Air Quality Management District measure, known as Refinery Rule 12-16, that would enact a first-in-the-nation “cap” on oil refinery greenhouse gas emissions. Big Oil’s “recommendation” was to give the state Air Resources Board “exclusive jurisdiction over GHG emissions in the [s]tate,” thus stripping regional air districts of the authority to limit emissions of the heat-t
Op-ed: Warehouses As an Environmental Justice Issue
When we think of locally undesirable land uses, we often think of large power plants, puffing single plumes of pollution. But many plumes of pollution from trucks traveling to and from warehouses can have equally large impacts on health. 40% of US imports enter through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Trucks travel frequently to deliver the goods to warehouses, and further move the goods from those facilities to more customers. In the era of e-commerce, high demand for express deliveries further contributes to the massive expansion of the warehousing industry.
AT LEAST 10 HOUSTON AREA CHEMICAL FACILITIES AND OIL AND GAS REFINERIES HAVE ALREADY REPORTED PROBLEMS WITH DOZENS MORE THREATENED
As Hurricane Harvey, having dumped more than 50 inches of rain, begins to leave the Texas coast, many throughout the region continue to live in fear of not only flooding, but also of increased effects of the dozens of chemical plants, oil and gas refineries, and Superfund sites that are littered throughout the communities. The concentration of refineries and industrial chemical facilities have burdened the communities with ongoing pollution and environmental injustice, which Harvey has only magnified. Since the storm struck, more than 10 of these facilities have reported serious issues, including leaks, spills, and potential explosions.
Op-Ed: Sempra reveals Texas-sized appetite for risk
Low rates boost the temptation for even conservative investors to buy riskier assets offering higher yields, a wager that eventually reminds most why they were conservative in the first place. Of course, ancient wisdom also teaches that those who tumble out of trees must first decide that letting go of the trunk is a good idea.
This brings us to Sempra Energy, which last week agreed to pay $9.45 billion for control (an indirect 80 percent stake) of Oncor, which had $7 billion in debt on its books. Sempra is the sprawling owner of San Diego Gas & Electric, other utilities and unregulated energy assets. Oncor is an electric utility that serves Dallas and other fast-growing cities in Texas.
Op-ed: Latinos are disproportionately affected by asthma, and Trump’s policies are making it worse
Many Americans live where it is unsafe to breathe. About 40% of the U.S. population — more than 126 million people — live in areas that do not comply with national ambient air quality standards. This public health problem poses a particular threat to Latinos, who are exposed disproportionately to high levels of the main pollutants that can aggravate asthma: ozone and fine particulate matter.
Op-Ed: Brown’s Legacy and Republican activist revenge
In what was an uncertain move, last month, Brown and his allies pushed for an extension of the AB 32-imposed cap and trade scheme to 2030. While the necessary majority to pass the bill was in no doubt, Governor Brown insisted that the extension receive a two-thirds majority to avoid lawsuits insisting the cap and trade funds are in fact taxes and thus challenging the legality of the program. With some Democrats unsure of the extension, Brown needed to bipartisan support. Ultimately (and surprisingly) eight Republicans – seven in the Assembly and one in the Senate – helped Brown overcome six Democratic defections to get to the two-thirds majority.
Blog: Despite Huge Losses and Its own Bungling, Southern Company Wants to Complete Vogtle Plant
With Southern Company’s board voting today to green light the completion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, the prospect that Georgia utility customers may be on the hook for many billions for a plant that may never be economically feasible becomes very real. Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning has blamed the bankruptcy of nuclear reactor builder Westinghouse for the plant being billions over budget and years behind schedule, calling the Westinghouse collapse an unforeseeable event that caught Southern by surprise.
Op-ed: DOE grid study helps set the table at FERC
Former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark analyzes how the Energy Department’s grid study impacts the agency