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  1. Oil and Gas: Environmental groups seek to defend federal methane rule

        CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental groups are seeking to defend a new federal rule that would restrict how oil companies burn off excess natural gas extracted from public lands. Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota are pressing a federal lawsuit in Wyoming seeking to block a rule that President Barack Obama's administration issued in November requiring certain companies to capture natural gas instead of burning it off. The states argue that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacks authority over air quality issues and claim the rule would reduce state revenues. "The BLM is once again overstepping its bounds and imposing unnecessary regulations," Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement last month. "Congress has delegated regulation of air pollution to the states and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, not BLM. Wyoming has successfully regulated air pollution emissions from oil and gas activities for over 20 years and has effective limitations on venting and flaring of natural gas." Fifteen groups including national environmental organizations are asking U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Wyoming to allow them to intervene to support the BLM rule. He hasn't ruled yet on the request. The following groups are petitioning to intervene in the case: Wyoming Outdoor Council; Center for Biological Diversity; Citizens for a Healthy Community; Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment; Environmental Defense Fund; Environmental Law & Policy Center; Montana Environmental Information Center; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; San Juan Citizens Alliance; Sierra Club; The Wilderness Society; Western Organization of Resource Councils; Wilderness Workshop; and WildEarth Guardians. Energy companies frequently "flare," or burn off, large volumes of natural gas at drilling sites because it makes less money than oil. The new rule requires energy companies that drill on nearly 250 million acres of federal lands to capture natural gas. Federal officials have said that between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than 5 million homes for a year. Capturing the gas instead of burning it also would generate tens of millions a year in additional federal revenues, they said. Laura King is staff attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center in Helena, Montana, which represents several of the groups. "Currently the oil and gas industry releases methane into the sky, burns it off unused, and loses it through leaky infrastructure," King said Tuesday. "These industry norms create a public health liability, waste a public resource reduce royalty income for taxpayers and exacerbate climate change." King said the rule would require the industry to tidy up their operations using existing affordable technology, creating jobs in the process. "The public benefits of the rule are clear," she said. Skavdahl has set a hearing for Jan. 6 on a request from Wyoming and Montana for a court order blocking the rule. North Dakota filed another, similar request for an injunction on Monday. Republican President-elect Donald Trump has said he will seek to sharply increase oil and gas drilling on federal lands. He said on the campaign trail that restrictions supported by Obama hurt energy-producing states. But although Trump could rescind the rule once he takes office next month, doing so would likely take months. King said it's unclear what's going to happen with the rule once Trump takes office. "We're moving one step at a time," she said. "I'd say that our intervention is an extension of the role that we've played for years, of advocating for these readily available methane waste prevention measures that will protect public health and the environment."  

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 8 Dec 2016

  2. Trump rollback of Obama energy plans may be difficult

    Environmental groups are gearing up to defend Obama's environmental legacy in court

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 29 Nov 2016

  3. Coal News: Trial to consider coal pollution from BNSF coal trains

    A trial set for next month will weigh whether coal dust that spills into waterways from passing BNSF coal trains violates environmental law .

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 26 Oct 2016

  4. Coal News: BNSF to study covering coal trains under tentative agreement

    BNSF Railway will study the use of physical covers for coal and petroleum coke trains as part of a tentative agreement reached Tuesday with environmental groups that sued alleging that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways in Washington state.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 17 Nov 2016

  1. EPA releases final control techniques guidelines for existing oil and natural gas sources

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 10 Nov 2016

  2. Dominion Virginia Power Seeks to Remove Small Portion of Coal Ash

    However, a Dominion spokesman said the utility plans to keep the majority of the more than three million tons of ash in place.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 31 Oct 2016

  3. VIDEO: 20 Duke Energy coal ash basins classified high to intermediate risk

    The state says the classifications are subject to a public comment period and aren't final

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 1 Jan 2016

  4. Coal News: Gubernatorial hopeful's coal mines settle with feds

    Federal officials have reached a settlement requiring $5 million in upgrades to prevent further pollution by Appalachian coal mines owned by West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 3 Oct 2016

  5. Duke Energy to recycle coal ash at Buck Steam Station in Salisbury

    Duke Energy announced plans to remove coal ash from three basins at the Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C., and safely recycle the valuable material for concrete.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 6 Oct 2016

  6. Coal News: Duke Energy to remove coal ash from North Carolina plant

    Duke Energy has agreed to remove millions of tons of coal ash containing toxic heavy metals from a power plant in North Carolina.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 6 Oct 2016

  7. Duke Energy to remove coal waste from North Carolina plant

    Duke's handling of coal ash and the company's sometimes cozy relationship with state regulators has been under scrutiny since a dump at a different Duke plant ruptured in 2014, coating miles of the Dan River in gray sludge 

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 7 Oct 2016

  8. Southern Environmental Law Center files notice to sue Progress Energy

    The Southern Environmental Law Center has filed a notice to sue Progress Energy, claiming its Asheville Steam Electric Plant, located in Asheville, N.C., is violating the Clean Water Act.

    Blogs

    Blogs

    Fri, 25 Jan 2013

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