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The Insiders: The president’s cynical Keystone XL strategy

The Washington Post -- On Friday, the State Department quietly released a notification that the Keystone XL pipeline decision is being delayed yet again. The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Terry O’Sullivan, called the delay “another gutless move” by the administration. We could also dismiss the announcement as just more of the usual dithering from this White House. I don’t think the delay is gutless or dithering, but a more sinister, cynical ploy by this administration to manipulate two groups into continuing to support vulnerable Democrats in an attempt to keep the Senate in 2014.

By appearing to have not made a decision, President Obama keeps the money pouring in from those on the fringe left — like billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer – who want the Democrats to swear allegian  (go to article)

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Den Tandt: Barack Obama gives Canada the brush-off, yet again

Montreal Gazette.com --
Barack Obama is Canada’s American president. Right? Of course right. In the lead-up to his 2012 battle with the airbrushed Republican Mitt Romney, with his binders full of women, polls showed Canadians overwhelmingly preferred Obama. Even in Alberta, according to a Harris/Decima survey taken in July 2012, Canadians would have opted for the urbane, likable Chicago Democrat over his bean-counter rival by a margin of more than 30 per cent, given a vote.

But our love is unrequited. It always has been. And the indefinite shelving of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline linking Alberta’s oilsands with the Texas Gulf Coast, once considered a sure thing and now on life support thanks to Obama, is the incontrovertible evidence. This U.S. president cares about his own narrow political interests and m  (go to article)

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GM may post first quarterly loss since 2009

USA TODAY -- General Motors could report Thursday its first unprofitable quarter in four years, largely due to the estimated $1.3 billion cost of its ignition switch recall, but it remains profitable in North America aside from one-time accounting provisions.

So far U.S. car buyers aren't fleeing GM dealerships despite the ignition switch defect affecting 2.6 million recalled small cars, mostly from the 2003 through 2007 model years. The defect has been linked to at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths.

But GM sells more vehicles in China, now the world's largest auto market, than in the U.S. Despite the recall the automaker's U.S. sales rose 4% in March from a year ago.

Setting aside one-time accounting charges GM expects "solid core operating performance" for the first three months of 2014. But the.....  (go to article)

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Keystone Fought by Nebraska Landowners Vowing to Block

Bloomberg -- Bob Allpress describes himself as a “redneck Republican.” Standing on the pasture behind his Nebraska home, the burly former Marine Corps sergeant with a Fu Manchu mustache explains what made him an environmental activist.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which TransCanada Corp. (TRP) wants to build to bring Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico, would cut across the 900 acres near Naper, Nebraska, that Allpress’s grandfather acquired by homestead in 1886. He is vowing to fight that prospect.  (go to article)

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Shunning Gas Hogs, Athletes Green Their Rides

New York Times -- While the best-paid among them can afford almost any car, some are shunning gas guzzlers and driving hybrids and electric vehicles with minimal or no tailpipe emissions.

Their reasons for choosing Teslas, Priuses and other zero- or low-emission vehicles are similar to those given in the population at large. A few are passionate about reducing their reliance on fossil fuels, while others are enamored of the performance of these cars. Not unlike movie stars a decade ago who wanted to be seen driving hybrids, some athletes want to drive the hot car of the moment.

 (go to article)

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Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

MSN News -- OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — A small town in southwest Wyoming has been evacuated after an explosion and fire at a natural gas pipeline hub.Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik says there are no reports of injuries and the residents of Opal have been evacuated to an area about 3 miles outside the town as a precaution. Opal has about 95 residents and is about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City.

Malik says no structures in the town have been affected, and the fire is confined to the area operated by an energy company.

Authorities received the first reports of the explosion and fire around 2 p.m. Wednesday at the facility operated by Williams Partners LP.

A company spokesman says all employees have been accounted for
 (go to article)

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Texas jury awards $3M to family for illnesses related to fracking

Aljazeera America -- A Texas jury has awarded nearly $3 million to a family for illnesses they suffered from exposure to contaminated groundwater, solid toxic waste and airborne chemicals generated by natural gas fracking operations surrounding their 40-acre ranch, attorneys on the case said.

The verdict delivered Tuesday is seen as a landmark decision for opponents of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing — a process in which high-pressure fluid is injected into the ground to fracture shale rock and release natural gas.  (go to article)

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Local leaders push for climate action as Congress 'drops the ball'

E&E Publishing -- Climate action in Seattle aims to make the city carbon-neutral in less than 40 years. In Bridgeport, Conn., a former landfill is sheathed in solar panels to produce clean power. And a Republican mayor in Carmel, Ind., is seeing emissions ebb by turning sewage into fertilizer.

That's happening despite a gun-shy Congress that's avoided taking federal action on rising temperatures, leaving local officials to lead the way on thorny political efforts to cut carbon from cars, buildings and electricity sources, according to municipal leaders.

"As we all know there are some for political or other purposes that try to make this a divisive issue," [says Mayor Brainard]"In our cities, however, and among mayors it is unifying because saving our taxpayers money when we become more energy efficient."  (go to article)

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US oil stockpiles hit record amid production boom

AFP -- New York (AFP) - US commercial oil stockpiles hit a new record last week on the strength of continued growth in oil and gas production in the world's biggest oil-consuming country.

Commercial stocks rose 3.5 million barrels to 397.7 million barrels for the week ended April 18, according to US Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Gas price jump 'doesn't make sense'

CBC News -- Drivers looking for a good reason for major gasoline price jumps across Canada overnight will be left lacking, as the usual seasonal influences don't add up to those types of increases.

 (go to article)

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Soy Transportation Proposes Sustainable Road Revenue

WHO-TV -- Land transportation is funded by taxpayers through fuel taxes, however these taxes are not indexed to inflation. So while material and labor costs go up, Iowa keeps the same 21 cents per gallon tax on fuel.

The Soy Transportation Coalition wants to change that policy, they propose an initial one-cent reduction on the tax before indexing it to inflation.

 (go to article)

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Keystone Uncensored

The Wall Street Journal -- A labor leader calls the Administration 'gutless,' 'dirty' and more.
Republicans are denouncing President Obama's latest delay on the Keystone XL pipeline, six long years after it was proposed.  (go to article)

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U.S. crude supplies send oil prices lower

Marketwatch -- A U.S. government report showed that weekly crude inventories climbed to their highest level on record, pulling oil futures down by the close to their lowest settlement in more than two weeks.

Tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine continued to feed worries about oil supplies from Russia, analysts said, limiting price losses for oil, however.

Crude oil for June delivery fell 31 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $101.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest settlement since April 7, based on the most-active contracts. Oil futures were trading at $101.90 shortly before the supply report and prices managed to trade briefly above $102 after it.
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ELECTRIC FLOATING CAR

Yahoo! News -- A Japanese firm created a floating electric car to withstand flooding and tsunamis. (video 1:20 in length)  (go to article)

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Could Ohio geologists put the brakes on energy boom?

GasBuddy Blog -- The domestic energy boom in the U.S. could slow down considerably if officials listen to some geologists from Ohio.

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said the state is now imposing new, stronger permit conditions for drilling near faults or areas of past seismic activity. The new policies are in response to the finding of geologists researching recent seismic events in northeastern Ohio that show a probable connection to hydraulic fracturing near a previously unknown ‘microfault’.

New permits issued by ODNR for horizontal drilling within 3 miles of a known area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude will now require companies to install seismic monitors. If those monitors detect a seismic event...  (go to article)

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EPA uses unrealistic Ethanol production targets to set standards

Detroit News -- The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday set the 2013 requirements for cellulosic ethanol for use by the nation’s cars and trucks at 810,000 gallons — the amount the industry produced and a fraction of the 1 billion gallons that Congress sought to require in a 2007 energy law.

The alternative fuel could eventually lower the costs of driving for Americans and help wean the country off imported oil, but critics contend that in the short term it adds to the cost of refiners complying with advanced fuel rules.

Under President Butsh, Congress passed a sweeping requirement that the nation’s cars and trucks use a growing amount of cellulosic ethanol made from algae, wood chips and other biomaterials.

 (go to article)

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GM: Ignition-switch recall parts shipped to dealers

DETROIT FREE PRESS -- General Motors has shipped thousands of replacement parts to fix vehicles affected by its ignition switch recall, the automaker said today.

GM said owners of the first batch of 1.4 million small cars from the 2003 through 2007 model year have received letters notifying them that they can schedule appointments at dealers.

The company did not immediately specify how many parts are available. It has previously said that it will take until late fall for all parts to be available.

GM said the replacement parts include a new ignition switch, a new ignition lock cylinder and new keys for owners of vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion. All vehicles affected by the issue are no longer made..........  (go to article)

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Canada to phase out old rail tank cars in 3 years

ap -- Canada will require a three-year phase out or retrofit of the type of rail tankers involved in last summer's massive explosion of an oil train that destroyed much of a Quebec town and incinerated 47 people, a government official told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Last July, a runaway oil train derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, near the Maine border. Forty-seven people were incinerated and 30 buildings destroyed.
 (go to article)

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Enterprise to build ethane export facility near Texas coast

fuel fix -- Enterprise Products Partners is planning to build an ethane export facility along the Gulf Coast in Texas, capable of loading 240,000 barrels per day of liquefied gas onto tankers headed for international buyers.

The new export complex could help relieve a massive glut in U.S. ethane supplies, which Enterprise estimates could shoot past demand by 700,000 barrels per day by 2020. Ethane, a ubiquitous byproduct of the surge in North American energy production, is used as a feedstock for chemical plants like Dow Chemical’s planned ethylene complex in Freeport, Texas
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Possible Portland-Montreal pipeline reversal concerns N.H. lawmakers

The Hill -- New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is urging the State Department to thoroughly review any proposal by the operator of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line to use it carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to the United States.

The pipeline is currently permitted to carry oil from Portland, Maine, on the Atlantic coast, to Montreal, via New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

But its operator, the Portland Pipe Line Corp., has studied in recent years whether it could be used, along with other pipelines in Canada, to bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Portland. Canadian officials have already approved carrying oil sands products in the Canadian portion of the pipeline, the Union Leader said.

In their letter last week, New Hampshire’s delegation said PPLC’s operating permit  (go to article)

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Gas prices leap in Montreal, Laval

Presse Canadienne -- Gas prices in Montreal and Laval reached a high of $1.53 a litre Wednesday morning

That amount is $0.13 higher than the minimum price set by Quebec’s energy regulatory board

Fuel prices in Quebec’s other regions were much lower Wednesday morning. Gas was $1.35/L in the Laurentians, $1.36 in the Montérégie, less than $1.38 in the Eastern Townships and $1.41 in the Quebec City region

Crude oil was trading at $101.56 a barrel on the New York Stock Exhange Wed morning

In 2008, when gas prices peaked at $1.50, the price of a barrel of crude was higher than it currently is
 (go to article)

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‘Saudi America’: Mirage?

New York Times -- At a time when Russia is saber-rattling and the Middle East is in turmoil, a welcome geopolitical trifecta could be in the making. The United States is poised to surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer. Canada’s oil sands have vaulted the country to energy superpower status. Mexico is embarking on a historic constitutional energy overhaul that its president promises will propel the country’s economy.

And there is no shortage of cheerleaders. “The North American production outlook is incredibly bright,” said Jason Bordoff, a former senior energy adviser in President Obama’s White House. “Everything we see on the ground suggests reasons to be optimistic.”

Continue reading the main story
RELATED COVERAGE

BIG RIG A Petróleos Mexicanos complex in the Gulf of M  (go to article)

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Refineries coming out of maintenance: EIA

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 3.5 million barrels to a total of 397.7 million barrels. At 397.7 million barrels, inventories are 9.1 million barrels above last year (2.3%) and are well above the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels to 210.0 million barrels. At 210.0 million barrels, inventories are down 7.8 million barrels, or 3.6% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0...  (go to article)

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Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics And Our Changing Culture

Investing.com -- The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-January, were published yesterday. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I've added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.4% below the all-time high set in August 2005, a new interim low.

The next chart includes an overlay of real monthly retail gas  (go to article)

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Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles globally in Q1, outpacing GM, VW

The Associated Press | The Canadian Press -- TOKYO - Toyota kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

 (go to article)

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GM said it has shipped thousands of replacement ignition switches

Reuters -- DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Wednesday said it has shipped "thousands" of kits needed to repair the defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.  (go to article)

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Good Question: What Makes A Good Driver?

CBS 4 - Minnesota -- According to a 2011 survey from Allstate Insurance, 64 percent of people think they are “excellent” or “very good” drivers.

But when asked to rate their friends, that percentage falls to 29 percent. It’s even lower, 22 percent, when it comes to rating peer groups.

Ann Flood, co-owner of A+ Driving School, says her company teaches more than 2,000 people, mostly teenagers, how to drive every year.

“I don’t necessarily disagree with that attitude because I think that a huge aspect of driving is being defensive and assuming the other person isn’t going to do the right thing,” Flood said.

She says being a good driver isn’t just following the laws, but is about the decisions you make before you get in the car.  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Rising, But Refineries Could Take a Hit

Wall Street Journal -- Rising U.S. gasoline prices may not translate into higher profits for refineries.

Since the shale-oil boom took off in North Dakota, Texas and other states, it’s been a good time to own a refinery. That was particularly true in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, as cheap domestically produced crude pooled in storage tanks.

But the good times may come to an end – at least temporarily – this summer, Howard Weil analysts say.

Crude oil must be refined into gasoline, diesel fuel or other products before it can be sold and used in vehicles or machines. Due to a longstanding U.S. ban on crude-oil exports, the vast majority of oil produced in the U.S. has to be refined there too.

Until recently, some producers couldn’t secure pipeline capacity to deliver their oil to the highest bidder. They  (go to article)

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Ford Mustang reveals car's new, smoke-spewing feature: A brake-lock system that allows drivers to do

Daily Mail -- Line Lock allows drivers to keep their front tires locked while the rear tires spin
Drag racers often modify their vehicles to have a similar feature
It allows racers to warm up their tires to achieve perfect traction before letting loose in a drag race
Ford has unveiled the secret feature on its new Mustang and it's perfect for the race track - or the set of a Fast and Furious movie.

The 2015 Mustang comes equipped with what the manufacturer calls 'Line Lock,' which is essentially an electronic brake-control system that allows the car to lock the brakes on the front tires while releasing the breaks on the back tires.

In English: Line Lock allows drivers to do smoke-spewing burnouts with ease.  (go to article)

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Lisa Raitt to enhance rail safety measures in wake of Lac-Mégantic

CBC News -- The federal government will require a 3-year phase-out or retrofit of older tank cars that are used to transport crude oil by rail that were prone to punctures and gas buildup

That's one of the changes that will be announced Wed by Transport Minister in response to recommendations by the TSB in the aftermath of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, QC, in which 47 people were killed

Mandatory emergency response plans will be required for all crude-oil shipments

In Jan, the TSB made 3 recommendations
¦Enhanced safety standards for Class 111 tank cars used to transport flammable liquids
¦Railway companies that transport dangerous goods be required to conduct route planning and analysis
¦Emergency response assistance plans be in place when large volumes of liquid hydrocarbons are shipped by rail  (go to article)

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Gasoline greener than biofuels?

Fox News Politiics -- Biofuels produced from waste products left from harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline in terms of carbon emissions, according to a $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The study said biofuels made with corn residue release seven percent more greenhouse gases than traditional gasoline.  (go to article)

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Hard to believe after this winter, but report says Michigan is in top five fastest warming states

MLive.com -- It may be real hard to believe after the winter Michigan just had, but new research shows that Michigan is one of the fastest warming states in the U.S.

Climate Central, which bills itself as an independent organization of scientists researching facts about our changing climate, has issued a new report. Climate Central looked at the average annual temperature for various locations in the U.S. since the start of Earth Day back in 1970...

Michigan is ... the fourth fastest warming state in the U.S. The Great Lakes, the Northeast, and New Mexico have warmed the most. The Southeast and Pacific Northwest have warmed the least.  (go to article)

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Why Gasoline Prices are Surging Again

Oil & Energy Investor -- More Oil Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Lower Prices
Now it is quite true that the main element in the cost of refined products remains the price of crude oil. However, the reason America became so dependent upon foreign imports in the first place is that they were cheaper.
It was simply less expensive to produce abroad and transport than it was to extract from the declining conventional oil base inside the U.S.
By 2025, the U.S. is now projected to have cut its daily import needs by more than half from the highpoint only a few years ago. Only about 30% of that requirement will need to be imported. Additionally, just about all of the volume sourced will be coming in from Canada.
So that should allow us to parlay the new found subsurface wealth into lower overall refiner product prices, right?

 (go to article)

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Economic Struggles are Biggest Hurdle to Millennials 'Going Green'

AccuWeather.Com --
By Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.Com Staff Writer
April 23, 2014; 5:02 AM

An estimated 80 million Americans, ranging in age between their late teens and mid-30s, will change the way Americans live within the next decade, according to a report written by John McIlwain of the Urban Land Institute.

With a growing demand among young adults to live in more connected, urban communities, it remains unclear if they will make the push toward a more environmentally sustainable future.

"The age of suburbanization and growing homeownership is over," McIlwain said in his 2010 report. "The demographics of the next decade indicate that the market for urban living will continue to grow."

Of those individuals comprising Generation Y, or Gen-Y, 76 percent place a high value on walkability in communities,  (go to article)

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Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling General Motors

ECONOMICTIMES -- TOKYO: Toyota kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it sold 2.583 million vehicles in the January-March period, ahead of Detroit-based GM at 2.42 million and Volkswagen of Germany at 2.4 million.

The Japanese automaker's first quarter sales rose by more than 6% from the same period the previous year. GM's sales grew 2%, while Volkswagen's ....................  (go to article)

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Russia Taps Arctic Oil, Leaving Rivals in Its Wake

Newsmax-LIGNET -- As Western nations struggle to appease environmentalists, Russia is moving fast to tap huge oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, making its first oil shipment from an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean on April 18. Moscow is likely now to attempt to fortify its dominant position in the icy region in a bid to protect its interests.

Canada, Norway and the United States struggle with adamant opposition at home to any exploration of the Arctic, which holds almost a third of the world’s undiscovered natural gas deposits and nearly a seventh of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves. The allure of immense Arctic reserves may, however, prove irresistible to an energy-hungry world.  (go to article)

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Ukraine’s Unpaid Gas Bills Dwarf U.S. Aid Offer

Bloombreg -- Ukraine’s best hope for keeping furnaces and factories running through next winter is to store as much natural gas as it can after a U.S. aid pledge fell far short of the nation’s needs.

Energy supplies have given Russian leader Vladimir Putin powerful economic leverage in his battle with Ukraine. Ukraine gets half its gas from Russia, and it’s the transit route for 50 to 60 percent of the gas Russia sells to other European nations.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukrainian leaders this week that the U.S. would provide help so that, “Russia can no longer use energy as a weapon.” Biden announced medium- to long-term initiatives to support Ukraine’s energy sector and announced $50 million in aid, an unspecified part of which would go to develop the country’s gas reserves, explore...  (go to article)

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Apple aims to disable texting while driving

CNET -- Several mobile apps on the market already try to prevent you from texting while driving, but a freshly-published Apple patent filing suggests a more automated solution.

Despite the dangers of texting while driving, many behind the wheel just can't seem to stop. One idea from Apple could put up more of a roadblock.

Published on Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent called "Driver handheld computing device lock-out" proposes a couple of different ways to cut off texting and other cell phone features while you're driving.  (go to article)

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Don't Replace Fuel Tax With Tolls, A New Transportation Alliance Urges

Forbes -- With a federal gas-tax increase off the table for now, a new group of trucking and business interests is trying to put a stop to the most obvious alternative for funding maintenance and construction of the nation’s interstate highway system: tolling.

Officially launched in February of this year, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates is pushing the position that “a long-term sustainable funding source for transportation infrastructure in this country must not include the tolling of current federal interstate capacity,” said spokesperson Hayes Framme. Members include McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, FedEx, UPS and the American Trucking Associations.

The group came together in response to growing pressure in states to impose tolls on portions of the interstate system that fall within their bord  (go to article)

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Navy develops fuel from seawater (video)

Biofuels -- Navy researchers say they have turned seawater into fuel that could power military vehicles for less than $6 per gallon.

The researchers announced this month that the seawater-based fuel successfully powered a remote-controlled model jet with a standard two-stroke internal combustion engine. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas extracted from Gulf of Mexico water were converted into liquid hydrocarbon fuel using gas-to-liquid technology. The renewable fuel mirrors its petroleum-based counterpart and could be used in standard military engines.

“The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea, reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden and increasing the Navy’s energy security and independence,” said Naval Research Laboratory chemist Heathe  (go to article)

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5 honored for helping save Clovis man's life after accident

ABC30.com -- FRESNO, Calif. - Five men received honors for their heroic acts in saving the life of a Clovis man after a nearly fatal accident last year.

Mary Ann Carousso is incredibly thankful her husband Jack is OK. "Mr. Carousso is the love of my life, I am thrilled that he is still here with me and I am so grateful for the five men who had just cared enough," said Carousso.

On September 9th, Jack, who works as a seventh grade teacher, was driving near Shields and Temperance when he had a heart attack and ran a stop sign. Investigators say he hit another car.

Doug Bolton, who was on his way to work that morning, stopped to make sure everyone was OK but realized Jack was not. "Undid his seat belt, started to pull him out, got on my radio, called for assistance and went into action," said Bolton.  (go to article)

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Kemp: Obama Stalls Drilling On Federal Lands

Rig Zone -- The White House likes to claim a share of the credit for the drilling revolution that has transformed North America's energy production and security. Except the revolution has largely taken place on private rather than public land, and energy producers feel frustrated about the numerous obstacles and long delays in obtaining permission to drill in areas directly controlled by the administration. "Crude oil production has grown each year President Barack Obama has been in office to its highest level in 17 years," the Council of Economic Advisors wrote back in the summer of 2013. "Over the past four years, domestic oil supply growth has accounted for over one-third of global oil production growth." "Government-funded research supplemented private industry's work to develop the technology tha  (go to article)

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New plays may put pressure on pipelines

The Advertiser -- Louisiana is poised to be the world's pipeline epicenter where lines carrying oil and gas from Midwestern and Northeastern shale plays and reserves are carried to coastal refineries and ports. That is the prediction in a new study from research firm ICF International. The study also notes that Louisiana does not have enough pipeline for this new demand. Some of the thousands of pipelines currently in Louisiana need of repair or replacement. Some of the existing Louisiana pipeline will need to reverse the direction of their flows.

ICF vice president Greg Hopper, who authored the study, learned about Louisiana as a founding partner of Lukens Energy Group, a consulting partnership which became part of Black & Veatch. He started his career in the industry at Williams Gas Pipelines, where he  (go to article)

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ND Oil Companies Fight Plan to Slow Production

ABC -- Dr. Lyle Best traveled nearly 200 miles from the heart of North Dakota's oil patch Tuesday to tell state regulators one thing: "Slow down."

The North Dakota Industrial Commission is considering a proposal that would cut back on the state's booming oil production as a means of controlling the amount of natural gas that's being burned off at well sites and wasted as a byproduct of the more valuable substance, oil.

But oil companies are fighting the idea of slowing production, and want regulators to consider self-imposed steps to curb natural gas flaring, such as submitting plans for natural gas gathering before applying for a drilling permit.

North Dakota drillers currently burn off, or flare, a record 36 percent of the gas because development of pipelines and processing facilities to cap  (go to article)

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Fearing lost profits,...investor-owned utilities are moving to blot out the solar revolution

Sierra Club -- For Cynthia Cantero, putting solar panels atop her Oahu, Hawaii, home seemed like a no-brainer...
Their loan payments would be less than the family's current $500-plus monthly electric bill, and once they paid off thenote, their home would be powered practically for free.

Math like that has made Hawaii one of the nation's solar leaders, with a higher proportion of solar-powered households than any other state--including 1 in 10 homes on its most populous island, Oahu.

But that same math is denting the revenues of the state's dominant utility, Hawaiian Electric Company. After Cantero's loan closed and her family had fully committed to going solar, Hawaiian Electric refused to approve their system. ...

"Here I am stuck in a nightmare, where a powerful utility can just change the rules..."  (go to article)

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EPA Lowers Ethanol Requirements

The Detroit News -- Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday set the 2013 requirements for cellulosic ethanol for use by the nation’s cars and trucks at 810,000 gallons — the amount the industry produced and a fraction of the 1 billion gallons that Congress sought to require in a 2007 energy law.

The alternative fuel could eventually lower the costs of driving for Americans and help wean the country off imported oil, but critics contend that in the short term it adds to the cost of refiners complying with advanced fuel rules.

In 2007, Congress passed a sweeping requirement that the nation’s cars and trucks use a growing amount of cellulosic ethanol made from algae, wood chips and other biomaterials.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140422/AUTO01/304220104#ixz  (go to article)

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World's 10 most polluted places

Yahoo -- (None of them are in North America!)
Remote industrial towns, e-waste processing centres and the site of an infamous nuclear disaster top 2013's worst polluted places, according to a new list from the New York-based nonprofit Blacksmith Institute.  (go to article)

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This New Oil Patch Might Have Just Become One of the Best in America

The Motley Fool -- The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale isn't exactly a name that has been associated with America's shale boom like the Bakken or the Eagle Ford, but Goodrich Petroleum's (NYSE: GDP ) recent discovery there proved it to be very economical. Goodrich's recent well results were so good that it's even had a major effect on the stock price of Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK ) and the only thing they have in common is that they have abutting acreage in this shale formation.

While the geology of the region has been challenging for drillers so far, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has one distinct advantage over the almost all other shale formations in the U.S.: its location. In the video below, find out why the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale's location in Louisiana and Mississippi could make it one of the belles of Amer  (go to article)

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U.S. railroads show untapped value from delay in building oil pipeline

Reuters -- U.S. railroads are obvious winners from the latest delay in the Keystone XL Pipeline approval, and some of the freight operators with the biggest growth in petroleum shipments look undervalued, according to an analysis of Thomson Reuters data.

While shares in some railroad companies have recently hit record highs, there may be still more upside potential. CSX and Norfolk Southern are both trading 15 percent or more below their warranted share price, according to a measure of "intrinsic valuation" tracked by Thomson Reuters StarMine.

The Obama administration's decision to extend indefinitely the review process for the controversial oil pipeline connecting Canada with the U.S. Gulf Coast effectively cements the view that U.S. freight rail haulers are here to stay as big players in the oil-  (go to article)

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U.S. Crude Exports Estimated at Least Five Years Away by BofA

Bloomberg -- The U.S. probably won’t lift its ban on crude exports within the next five years, undermining long-dated prices of New York-traded West Texas Intermediate relative to Brent, according to Bank of America Corp.

Rules against the overseas shipping on U.S. crude will remain in place despite surging domestic production, unless oil prices collapse, the bank said in an e-mailed report. The discount on the December 2019 WTI contract of $11.50 to European marker Brent “seems justified.”

“A full repeal of the crude oil export ban is at least five years away under most scenarios, unless of course domestic U.S. crude oil prices collapse,” Francisco Blanch, New York-based head of commodities research, said in the report dated April 17.

Some steps could be taken to relieve the U.S. supply glut that  (go to article)

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Barclays Plans to Exit Most Commodities Activities

Bloomberg -- Barclays Plc (BARC) said it will withdraw from most of its global commodities activities, joining banks from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Morgan Stanley that are pulling back as revenue drops.

The “refocused” business will emphasize electronic trading, Barclays said today in an e-mailed statement. It will continue to trade precious metals and derivatives tied to the price of oil and U.S. gas, as well as commodity indexes, the statement showed. The London-based bank already cut raw-materials jobs in January as part of a reduction in fixed income, currencies and commodities, and shut power-trading desks in the U.S. and Europe in February.

Commodities revenue at the 10 largest banks fell 18 percent last year amid reduced volatility, Coalition, a London-based analytics company, said in February.  (go to article)

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