energy

Hurricanes Stir Up Toxic Legacy of Coal-Fired Power Plants
Trump administration has worked to roll back federal coal ash regulations

A coal ash pond at Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C. (Courtesy Les Stone/Greenpeace)

After Hurricane Florence deposited its last drop of rain on the Carolinas, the worst of the flooding was still to come as water made its way down mountainsides, through gullies and into creeks and accumulated in the Cape Fear River.

Spilling over the river’s banks, the water reached and breached a cooling lake used by Charlotte-based Duke Energy’s L.V. Sutton power plant in Wilmington, North Carolina. From there it flowed over one of the three surrounding coal ash disposal sites, prompting fears that the cancer-causing byproduct of bygone coal operations could be flowing through a major groundwater system.

Water Resources Bill Would Speed Hydropower Licensing
Cantwell: Utilities could better plan ahead

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the 2018 water projects authorization bill would give utilities the flexibility to “better plan ahead.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hydropower facilities would get permits faster if the 2018 water projects authorization bill passes the Senate Wednesday — a rare inclusion of an energy title on the bill known for its transportation and drinking water projects.

After senators voted 96-3 to invoke cloture Tuesday night on the water resources development bill, the Senate will likely clear the bill as early as Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs
Barrasso: ‘Wealthiest Americans’ benefit at the expense of taxpayers

Tesla vehicles stand outside of a Brooklyn showroom and service center in August. Legislation unveiled Tuesday would end a tax incentive for electric vehicles. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to end the $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles.

The yet-unnumbered bill comes as a United Nations report on climate change, released over the weekend, outlined dire consequences for the planet in the absence of global action to drastically reduce carbon output over the next decade.

EPA Proposal Would End Summer Ban on Ethanol Motor Fuel — With the Midterms Just a Month Away
Some corn state Republicans facing tough re-election bids

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose an end to the summer ban on motor fuel made with ethanol according to a senior White House official. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA will propose to end the summer ban on the sale of motor fuel made with 15 percent ethanol, according to a senior White House official.

The move is sure to please corn state lawmakers such as Iowa Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst, who have spent the better part of the last year and a half pushing the Trump administration to do more to enforce requirements under the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard — a federal mandate to boost renewable fuels like ethanol in the nation’s gasoline mix.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

Carbon Dioxide Isn’t Just a Problem. It’s a Lucrative Product
America needs to invest in the next big thing — direct air capture and storage

America should invest in technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Dorgan writes. Above, haze surrounds Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley, California, in 2017. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — While some experts butt heads over how to slash global carbon emissions, others are experimenting with ways to suck already-emitted gas out of the atmosphere and either store it or roll it back into useful products.

This technology, called direct air capture and storage, is among several strategies that could revolutionize the energy industry and make cleaning up the environment an increasingly profitable enterprise.

Capitol Ink | EPA Toaster Oven

Need a Cave to Stash Your Oil? Feds Might Soon Have a Deal for You
House panel advances bill to rent out excess space of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

An underground cavern at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s Weeks Island storage site in Louisiana. (Courtesy Department of Energy)

A bill that would allow the federal government to rent out space in the caves holding the nation’s emergency oil stockpile moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee last week with bipartisan support.

The legislation was advanced Thursday by the Energy Subcommittee in a voice vote and without any amendments. The bill would authorize the Energy Department to enter into lease agreements with private companies or foreign governments to store petroleum products in the excess space of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that will result from congressionally mandated drawdowns set to occur over the next decade.

Rand Paul Skeptical of Letting Macedonia Into NATO, Questions Montenegro’s Accession Last Year
Continues blasting bipartisan Graham-Menendez Russia sanctions proposal

Sen. Rand Paul raised further questions Wednesday about the size of NATO. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of last year’s accession of Montenegro to NATO.

The Kentucky Republican spoke at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused on the value of the alliance, and in particular the U.S. role.