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Texas House approves gutting municipal fracking bans

Reuters -- The Texas House overwhelmingly approved a bill on Friday that would give the state the exclusive right to regulate the oil and gas industry, and gut the power of municipalities to pass anti-fracking rules.

In Texas, the top U.S. crude producer and the birthplace of fracking, the bill also needs to be passed by the state's Senate and signed by the governor before it becomes law.
 (go to article)

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Power plant fight rattles community of Clinton

The State Journal Register -- CLINTON — Community leaders in Clinton are rallying around their nuclear power station.

There are the usual petition drives and phone calls to legislators. Organizers also have turned to Facebook and other social media, as well as traveling to hearings in Springfield, after plant owner Exelon Corp. included Clinton among three Illinois nuclear plants that likely would close if the company fails to win new financial incentives for clean energy.

The Clinton plant, which began operations in 1987, is by far the largest private employer in Dewitt County, with a workforce of nearly 700. Clinton, about 45 miles northeast of Springfield and with a population of about 7,200, is the county seat.  (go to article)

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Les Pétroles Global Inc fined $1 million for fixing gas prices

The Financial Post -- MONTREAL – Quebec’s Superior Court in Sherbrooke has fined Les Pétroles Global Inc. $1 million for its role in a gasoline price-fixing conspiracy.  (go to article)

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Why the Volt is the most important car for Obama and why that hurts GM

The Globe & Mail -- When the history books are written about Barack Obama’s tenure as commander in chief, the Chevrolet Volt will doubtless be remembered as the most important car of his presidency. Like selfies, secular stagnation and the Tea Party, General Motors’s plug-in hybrid is inextricably linked with the America of the last seven years.  (go to article)

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Gas-line blast at California shooting range injures 11

MSN -- A natural gas pipeline explosion at a California sheriff's gun range shot flames well over 100 feet into the air, left 11 people injured and brought traffic on a busy highway to a halt, authorities and witnesses said.  (go to article)

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My three car-free decades in Montreal

Montreal Gazette -- Montrealer Wayne Larsen near his country home in Val-David, where he bikes to the village to do his groceries. He has a simple rule: If it doesn't fit in his backpack, he doesn't buy it.

The last car I owned was a sky-blue 1974 Ford Pinto, which I bought for next to nothing from a friend in Calgary.

Once the paperwork was safely signed over, he congratulated me on being the proud owner of an object of the most infamous recall in automotive history.

“Be careful,” he said. “The gas tank could explode if someone hits you from behind.”

Still, I drove the hell out of that little car for two years.

It was a cranky old heap with a badly cracked windshield and two rust-rimmed bullet holes in the passenger door (don’t ask), but it got me from Point A to Point B — although Point C was often out  (go to article)

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NHTSA cautions owners of 2007 model vehicles (or older) on brake pipe corrosion

GasBuddy Blog -- Model year 2007 and earlier vehicles may be susceptible to brake pipe corrosion that can occur after seven to eight years of exposure to winter road salts. If brake pipe corrosion is not properly addressed, there is the potential of brake pipe failure which could result in a crash. NHTSA says it recently conducted an investigation of brake pipe failures due to corrosion in a large population of 1999 through 2003 model year full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles and found that the failures result from end-of-life wear-out. Data show that this corrosion problem is linked to brake line coating materials that several manufacturers used during this time period. Vehicles driven in the following salt states are more prone to corrosion-related issues: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and  (go to article)

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Canada far from meeting committments on greenhouse gas: Environment Canada

Vancouver Sun -- Environment Canada quietly released greenhouse gas figures late Friday that show the country is far from meeting its international commitments and getting further every year.

The country pumped out 726 megatons of CO2 equivalent in 2013, according to Canada’s National Inventory Report 1990-2013. It’s a 10 Mt bump over 2012 and the latest of 4 straight year-over-year increases.

Alberta is the heaviest emitter of greenhouse gases by far, followed by Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, then B.C.

The numbers came out on the same day B.C. Premier Christy Clark said her government is not considering hiking the carbon tax in 2018, when an election-year promise to freeze the tax for 5 years is set to expire.

The premier, invited to Washington to brief G20 finance ministers on the carbon tax, sai  (go to article)

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Is Big Brother a backseat driver?

TRIBLIVE -- Question: I've seen information on TV about how insurance companies can supposedly track how a car is driven. How much information is available about my car and personal choices to someone who is capable of snooping?
Answer: This is a large concern for many people. I'm familiar with what is possible to obtain from a vehicle's data link connector but don't have the resources to be sure of the extent to which it may be collected and used, beyond the examples below.
The onboard diagnostics data link connector beneath the instrument panel of vehicles made in 1996 and on, an OBD-II, can provide two types of information: federally mandated generic diagnostic information and manufacturer-specific, all-vehicle information. Easily acquired data include a couple of dozen powertrain parameters...  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Fall on Doubts About Output

Wall Street Journal -- Oil prices faded, undoing a small rally Friday as traders showed skepticism that a surge of U.S. production is leveling off.

Oil has made gains for five weeks in a row, but analysts are warning that the rally came on a false premise of sputtering production. U.S. producers aren’t shutting down rigs as quickly as they once were, and several countries around the world are trying to put more of their crude onto the market.

“There’s not necessarily a lot of belief in the front of the market,” said Ric Navy, senior vice president for energy futures at brokerage R.J. O’Brien & Associates LLC. “We’re still over supplied.”
 (go to article)

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Les Pétroles Global Inc fined $1 million for fixing gas prices

FINANCIAL POST -- Quebec’s Superior Court in Sherbrooke has fined Les Pétroles Global Inc. $1 million for its role in a gasoline price-fixing conspiracy.

In 2013, the Ontario-based company was found guilty of taking part in a “cartel” of retailers that fixed prices in Victoriaville, Sherbrooke and Magog in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

Les Pétroles Global was charged in June 2008, following an investigation by Canada’s Competition Bureau.

“Businesses that conspire to fix prices drive up costs for consumers,” Commissioner of Competition John Pecman said in a news release Friday. “This fine demonstrates that the risks and penalties of not complying with the law can be very damaging.”

This case was part of a larger investigation that resulted in charges against 39 individuals and 15 companies in 2008, 2010  (go to article)

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New Artificial Photosynthesis Can Convert CO2 Into Useful Substances

Market Journals -- A new method of artificial photosynthesis can easily convert the byproduct in to useful products like biodegradable plastics, liquid fuels and pharmaceuticals. The system can convert carbon dioxide and water into acetate using a hybrid system of semiconducting nano-wires and bacteria, which mimics the photosynthetic process. Acetate acts as a versatile building block in both chemical and biological systems that can then be synthesized into more complex molecules.

In order to remove the CO2 greenhouse gas from power stations and provide an alternate to store it underground. It can rather be used to produce useful substances.
 (go to article)

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Obama's EPA Rule Is Redrawing the U.S. Coal Map

bloomberg,com -- America’s oldest coal plants are retiring like they’re Baby Boomers, and some of them are the same age. About 17 percent of U.S. coal-fired power generation will vanish in the next few years — some 7.5 percent this year alone, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Obstacles facing coal plants include their age, the abundance of cheap natural gas and a new EPA rule that begins taking effect April 16.

The new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards requires that coal plant owners limit poisons such as mercury, arsenic, and metals, which have previously freely spilled into the atmosphere and waterways.

The Supreme Court will weigh in on the rules at the end of this term. But with plants this old and gas this cheap, most of these plants are set for closure or conversion to gas, regardless.

 (go to article)

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It's official: GM's new 200-mile electric car will be called the Chevrolet Bolt EV Read more: http:

Business Insider -- Well, they did it.

General Motors confirmed yesterday that its upcoming 200-mile battery-electric car will be named the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

That's Bolt-with-a-B, not Volt-with-a-V.

An all-new second-generation Volt will go into production later this year as a 2016 model, while the Bolt-with-a-B will enter production roughly a year later and go on sale as a 2017 model.

The name Bolt had been widely criticized as too similar to Volt, especially since many Spanish speakers pronounce the letter V as a B to start with.

In a statement e-mailed to The Detroit News, Chevy director of communications Mike Albano confirmed the name.

The statement said, in part:

"Since unveiling the Bolt EV three months ago, the name has quickly become associated with Chevrolet. Therefore, we will use the name w  (go to article)

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Crude Oil Futures Fall First Time in Seven Days in New York

Bloomberg -- Oil dropped for the first time in seven days, ending the longest stretch of gains since 2013.
Futures slid as much as 2.5 percent in New York, paring the biggest weekly advance in more than four years.
West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell $1.18, or 2.1 percent, to $55.53 a barrel at 2:21 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for June settlement slipped 61 cents to $63.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.  (go to article)

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Phillips 66 estimates 25,000 gallons of diesel leaked near Wood River Refinery

St,. Louis Post-Dispatch -- Phillips 66 estimates about 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked on Friday into the Cahokia Canal, a waterway that drains into the Mississippi River.

The spill prompted the Coast Guard to close a 35-mile section of the river.

Phillips 66 discovered a leak in a pipeline that runs from its storage terminal to a barge loading dock. The facilities are near the Wood River Refinery, which Phillips 66 co-owns with Cenovus Energy.  (go to article)

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Gas-line blast closes major highway, injures at least 15

AP/msn -- FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A large gas pipeline exploded into a tower of fire Friday in Central California, closing both directions of a major highway in the region and injuring at least 15 people, four of them critically, authorities said.

It was not clear what caused the explosion at the Fresno County Sheriff's gun range that brought traffic in the area to a halt. But authorities say it occurred while a county equipment operator was working with a jail inmate crew to expand a road on the range alongside heavily travelled Highway 99.

The flames shot well over 100 feet into the air, several witnesses said.

Four patients were being treated at Community Regional Medical Center's burn and trauma unit, spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell said. Three of them are in critical condition and one is in seri  (go to article)

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Oil rig count resumes slide

FuelFix.com -- HOUSTON — Producers idled 26 oil rigs this week, as U.S. drillers continued to pull back amid lower priced crude.

The number of rigs chasing oil fell by 3.4 percent to a total of 734, according to weekly data from oil service company Baker Hughes. The count is now down 55.4 percent since its peak in late October .

Natural gas rigs fell by eight this week, down to 217. The U.S. combined count — natural gas and oil rigs – fell by 34 and stands at 954. That figure also includes three miscellaneous rigs that were unchanged from last week.

The rig count has buoyed the oil market in the past, as traders hope that drilling slowdown will translate to less production and an easing of the current crude oil glut. The price of oil has fallen sharply since last year because of the extra oil.

The m  (go to article)

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Insurance tax, higher fees may pave NC highways

WRAL -- Saying North Carolina's tax on gasoline is an unreliable source of revenue for the state's highway construction and maintenance program, lawmakers on Thursday rolled out a plan that would use higher vehicle fees and a tax on automobile insurance coverage to augment gas tax funds.

The growing number of electric vehicles and hybrids and overall increases in fuel efficiency have cut into the amount of revenue from the state gas tax in recent years, and lawmakers last month put a floor under the tax to prevent a projected loss of $400 million from an expected drop in the tax this summer because of lower gas prices. The formula to calculate the tax includes the wholesale price of gas.

 (go to article)

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Crude Price Back Above Break-even for Canada Oil Sands Producers

Reuters -- Bolstered by a weak Canadian currency and robust demand from U.S. refiners, Canadian heavy oil prices have rebounded off first-quarter lows and surpassed the break-even point for most producers, easing pressure on a sector that has slashed budgets and staff.

The price of Western Canada Select, the country's benchmark crude grade, is trading for around C$55 ($45) per barrel, up nearly C$20 per barrel from its mid-March lows thanks to improved market access and U.S. refinery demand ramping up after seasonal maintenance.

The price rise is balm for an oil sands sector that not long ago was preoccupied with cutting spending and lowering costs.

Though no one is yet forecasting a return to fat profits that producers enjoyed when oil rose above $100, current prices are robust enough to cover co  (go to article)

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Oil CEO wages immune to price slump as shareholders vote on pay

Bloomberg -- Oil’s plunge has forced the world’s biggest energy producers to lay off workers and stall projects. Their chief executive officers have so far proved immune.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, paid CEO Ben Van Beurden a total of $32.2 million last year, almost three times the amount his predecessor Peter Voser earned in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence
 (go to article)

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CN Rail spending $500-million to upgrade network in Western Canada after string of derailments

Reuters -- TORONTO — Canadian National Railway Co , which has seen a string of derailments recently, will spend $500 million to upgrade its feeder network in Western Canada to improve safety, the railway said on Thursday.
A Reuters investigation last month found that CN Rail’s safety record had deteriorated sharply in 2014, reversing years of improvements, as accidents blamed on poor track conditions spiked.
 (go to article)

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Households with more vehicles travel more

EIA -- Based on data from the National Household Travel Survey, households with more vehicles not only travel more, but often put more miles on their most-used vehicle compared to households with fewer vehicles. Households with just one vehicle drove an average of 10,600 miles per year, while households with six or more vehicles traveled a total of 57,700 miles. Sixty-eight percent of households have either one or two cars.
Households with more vehicles also tend to drive their primary (most-used) vehicle more than households with fewer vehicles. While a two-vehicle household travels almost 16,000 miles annually with the most-used vehicle, a six- (or more) vehicle household travels more than 22,000 miles annually with the most-used vehicle. The average use per vehicle within a household is greate  (go to article)

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Obama moves forward on new oil and gas rules for public lands

Fuel Fix -- The Obama administration on Friday took the first formal steps to boosting the royalties that energy companies must pay for oil and gas they pull from public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management’s announcement that it would be proposing changes — and inviting public comment on the scope of them — marks the first major effort in decades to update onshore royalty rates that are among the lowest in the world.

“It’s time to have a candid conversation about whether the American taxpayer is getting the right return for the development of oil and gas resources on public lands,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Royalty rates are currently locked in at 12.5 percent of the value of oil and gas extracted from public land — in contrast to the 18.75 percent charged for production from federal o  (go to article)

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The arrival of man-made earthquakes.

New Yorker -- In the fall of 2011, students in Katie Keranen’s seismology course at the University of Oklahoma buried portable seismograph stations around the campus, in anticipation of a football game between the Sooners and the Texas A. & M. Aggies. The plan was to see if the students could, by reading the instruments, detect the rumble of eighty-two thousand fans cheering for a touchdown. “To see if they can figure out if a signal is a passing train or a cheering crowd—that’s much more interesting for them than discussing data in theory,” Keranen, an assistant professor of geophysics, told me.

But at 2:12 A.M. on November 5th, the day of the game, people in seventeen states felt an earthquake of 4.8 magnitude, centered near Prague, Oklahoma, a town of roughly twenty-five hundred, which is about an h  (go to article)

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Younger Drivers More Likely to See Car Insurance Rates Rise after a Ticket

GasBuddy Blog -- A recent report out claims that younger drivers are more likely to see their car insurance jump after getting a ticket, but only 19% of Americans who received a traffic ticket in the past five years are paying more for car insurance as a result, according to online insurance broker insuranceQuotes.com. This is a decrease from 2013 when 31% of Americans who received a recent traffic ticket saw an increase in their car insurance premium."Insurers typically don't know as much about you as you might think," said Laura Adams, senior industry analyst for insuranceQuotes.com. "Oftentimes, unless you're a young driver, they are unaware of minor tickets and violations you receive on the road."...  (go to article)

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Distracted driving crackdown in Minnesota reveals bad habits

MPR News -- It turns out that texting while driving isn't the only thing that distracts Minnesota drivers.

Law enforcement officers across the state this week ramped up enforcement against all sorts of distracted driving. They reported pulling over drivers who were working on advanced math problems, painting their fingernails or even playing video games.
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GM Car Owners to Fight On for Billions After Bankruptcy Ruling

Bloomberg -- General Motors Co. car owners will still seek $7.5 billion for the diminished value of recalled vehicles, despite a ruling that largely freed the automaker from liability for wrongdoing before its 2009 bankruptcy.

That number was supplied by a lawyer for car owners the day after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber upheld GM’s shield against claims tied to actions taken before its bailout.

The attorney, Steve Berman, said 10 million is a conservative estimate of the number of drivers still eligible to sue for about $750 each after Wednesday’s decision. The litigation stems from last year’s recall of cars for faulty ignition switches, which grew to cover GM vehicles for a number of flaws.

The owners can pursue “claims for economic loss caused by New GM’s misconduct in covering up  (go to article)

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Offshore wells buried during Hurricane Ivan have been leaking oil into the Gulf since 2004

AP via Fuel Fix -- Down to just one full-time employee, Taylor Energy Company exists for only one reason: to fight an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that has gone largely unnoticed, despite creating miles-long slicks for more than a decade.

The New Orleans-based company has downplayed the leak’s environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps that the Gulf routinely absorbs.

But an Associated Press investigation has revealed evidence that the spill is far worse than what Taylor — or the government — has publicly reported. Presented with AP’s findings, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company.

Outside experts say the spill could be even worse — possibly one of the largest ever in the Gulf, albeit still  (go to article)

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Oil refinery in Longview? That was ‘old info,’ project dropped

Seattle Times -- Abundant supplies of Bakken shale crude spurred a proposal to build a Port of Longview refinery that would have processed oil from 10 tanker trains per month.

Riverside Refining last year submitted the plan to build a refinery to produce diesel and other fuel for regional markets, according to documents released by the Port of Longview to Columbia Riverkeeper under a public-records request.

Ashley Helenberg, a spokeswoman for the port, said the memorandum was never executed. She said the documents are “old info” and “at this point there is no project.”

In a statement Wednesday, Louis Sumas, the company’s chief executive, said the company has decided not to pursue the Longview refinery project.  (go to article)

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Prepare for a 'messy' year-end for oil: Citi's Kleinman

CNBC -- The price of oil could come under serious pressure towards the end of the year if a recent bounce back in prices holds for the next few months, a closely-watched oil analyst has warned.
Both Brent and WTI prices hit year-to-date highs this week, after falling well below $50 a barrel at the start of the year.
 (go to article)

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Gasoline, shelter costs lift US consumer prices

Reuters -- U.S. consumer prices rose for a second straight month in March as the cost of gasoline and shelter increased, signs of some inflation that should keep the Federal Reserve on course to start raising interest rates this year  (go to article)

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Longview proposing oil refinery

Associated Press/The Spokesman Review. -- PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Port of Longview says it’s working with an energy company on a proposal for a new crude oil refinery, the first such facility on the Columbia River.

Port documents released Wednesday show Riverside Energy LLC last summer sought to build the refinery and a unit train rail loop to receive oil-by-rail shipments from the Bakken region in North Dakota.

The documents were obtained as part of a records request by the environmental advocacy group Columbia Riverkeeper.

Port of Longview spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg said that particular proposal is now “dormant,” but port officials are still working with the company and expect a new plan.

Riverside Energy officials did not return repeated calls for comment.

 (go to article)

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Sixth Chevron drillship arrives in the Gulf of Mexico

Fuelfix -- Chevron is pressing forward with its deepwater exploration program, deploying a sixth drillship in a region deep in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Thursday.

The drillship, called the Deepwater Asgard, will work in the Mississippi Canyon under a two-year contract with Transocean, the Swiss rig contractor. Drillships are merchant vessels used for exploratory drilling in deep water.

The Asgard can accommodate 200 workers, operate in water as deep as 10,000 feet and drill down at least 40,000 feet, according to Transocean’s fleet data.  (go to article)

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Looking to the future

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, ND -- Depressed crude oil prices continue to create uncertainty for producers around the globe. Lack of price support, noticeably absent due to lower than anticipated global demand and current oversupply, make it unlikely crude markets will see a sustained recovery over the short-term.

Soft crude oil prices, reaching their lowest level in 6 years in March, are in part attributable to rising shale oil production in plays like the Bakken. The U.S. shale oil revolution has resulted in dramatic domestic production increases, over a relatively brief period of time  (go to article)

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Sacramento County approves $3 million for downtown streetcar project

Sacramento Bee -- The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved $3 million for a downtown streetcar project on Tuesday, completing the round of local government support needed for the $150 million project.

Supporters envision the streetcar, which would run just over 3 miles across the Tower Bridge and past riverfront landmarks, as another opportunity to drive economic development, along with the downtown arena under construction. Members of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento City Council, as well as a representative of Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, were among those voicing support to the board.  (go to article)

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Oil production down second straight month

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, ND -- North Dakota oil production fell for the second consecutive month in February with a decline of more than 14,000 barrels per day reported by the state’s top energy industry regulator Tuesday.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said Tuesday he believes the decline in production will continue for the next three months then rebound during summer.

Preliminary February numbers from the Department of Mineral Resources released Tuesday put oil and gas production for the month at 1,177,094 million barrels per day. This was down from the final January total of 1,191,198 million barrels per day.  (go to article)

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Smartphone app hopes to ID and expedite needed car repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- A new service aims to tell drivers about breakdowns before they happen, and automatically get bids on the repairs from local service shops.The service, Openbay Connect, uses a smart phone app to read alerts from vehicles' onboard computers. The goal is to present the driver with a diagnosis and a guaranteed price, service time and ratings on repair shops.  The driver won't "have to lift a finger," Openbay CEO Rob Infantino said. "Openbay Connect will remotely determine cause, cost and availability to perform the repair by local mechanics, answering virtually every driver's need for efficient, affordable auto repair service." ...  (go to article)

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Koch lobbyist to senators: Don’t reform biofuel mandates. Repeal them.

Fuelfix -- WASHINGTON — A plan to overhaul the nation’s biofuel mandates — instead of repealing them altogether — would do more harm than good, a Koch executive warned Congress on Thursday.

Philip Ellender, the president of Koch’s government affairs arm, took aim at legislation by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that would strip away government mandates for refiners to blend in traditional corn-based ethanol, while preserving quotas for more advanced biofuels that have been slower to enter commercial production.  (go to article)

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A rescue in the rubble of Oklahoma City

BBC News -- Twenty years ago a truck carrying a homemade bomb ripped apart the Alfred P Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, in what remains the worst act of home-grown terror on American soil. A paediatric surgeon tells the story of a rushed operation among the ruins, to save a woman's life.

Wednesday 19 April 1995 was, like every Wednesday, David Tuggle's main operating day and he was helping a junior registrar through a hernia operation on a small child.  (go to article)

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Getting Your Lawn Equipment Ready for the Season

Time -- I learned the hard way that lawnmower gas goes stale over the winter, so now I use gasoline additive in my mower, string trimmer, snow blower, and generator. But my neighbor says it’s better to burn the tank dry. Is that true?

The reason that gas gets “stale” and can gum up power equipment engines is that it contains ethanol, which absorbs water. That water can damage the engines of non-road equipment, says Kris Kiser, of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade association.

Most gas-station gas contains 10% ethanol, thanks to a 2007 federal mandate designed to reduce carbon emissions. And 15% ethanol is now being sold at some stations, but only for cars built in 2001 or later.

It actually turns out that ethanol doesn’t provide nearly the environmental benefit that was expected—an  (go to article)

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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars Return for Another Run

NY Times -- FOR decades, hydrogen has been the Dracula of automotive fuels: Just when you think a stake has been driven through its zero-emissions heart, the technology rises from the grave.

In 2015, even with gasoline cheaper than it has been in years, hydrogen is back to haunt those who insist that battery electric vehicles are the long-term solution for reducing fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

This time — with hydrogen fuel cell costs falling significantly, and a tiny yet budding network of public fueling stations — automakers are placing their latest long-odds bet on hydrogen cars.

Hyundai has been first in the latest wave of fuel cell models, which are actually electric cars with one important difference: Instead of a plug-in battery that draws power from the electrical  (go to article)

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U.S. Crude Output Rose to 42-Year High in March, Increasing Glut

Bloomberg -- The U.S. pumped crude last month at the fastest pace since February 1973, sending March inventories to the highest level in 85 years.

Crude output climbed 13 percent from a year earlier to 9.32 million barrels a day in March, the American Petroleum Institute said in a monthly report Thursday. Production of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed 9.1 percent to 3.05 million, a record for March. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S.

“Production of both crude oil and natural gas liquids last month remained at the highest levels in decades even as rig counts reached a five-year low,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement.

Dr  (go to article)

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Oil slips below $64 as ample supplies weigh

Reuters -- Oil eased below $64 a barrel on Friday as evidence this week of rising crude supplies from OPEC members outweighed signs of a slowdown in U.S. output and Middle East tensions.

Brent crude was still within sight of its 2015 high reached on Thursday and has rallied 16 percent in April, supported by conflict in Yemen and the prospect that lower prices are starting to curb U.S. shale output.

At 0900 GMT, Brent crude for June was down 75 cents at $63.23 a barrel. Brent reached a 2015 high of $64.95 on Thursday. U.S. crude for May was down 82 cents at $55.89 a barrel.

Pressuring prices on Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its monthly report that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, led by Saudi Arabia.

A  (go to article)

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Brent crude oil prices fall as OPEC production soars

Yahoo Finance -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude oil prices fell on Friday, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, which is equivalent to a third of global supply.

"It seems Saudi Arabia has not had enough of low oil prices," Singapore-based Phillip Futures said.

Front-month Brent crude futures (LCOc1) were down 37 cents at $63.61 a barrel at 0659 GMT (0759 BST), recovering from a fall of more than $1 in earlier trading. U.S. crude (CLc1) was down 43 cents at $56.28 a barrel.

Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said that Brent could fall further to slightly above $61.20 a ba  (go to article)

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World’s longest well drilled in Russia’s Far East

RT -- Russia’s Rosneft is reporting it has finished drilling the world’s longest oil well at the Chayvo field, part of the Sakhalin-1 project. The use of unique ExxonMobil technology is one of the key factors behind the record.

The new well has a record breaking depth of 13,500 meters and a horizontal reach of 12,033 meters. It was drilled using the Orlan platform according to a company statement released on Tuesday. The Sakhalin-1 Consortium now has 9 of the 10 longest wells in the world.

“This well continues successful implementation of our outstanding project” Igor Sechin the Head of Rosneft said. “I would like to express my thanks to our partners – ExxonMobil. Usage of their drilling technologies made this achievement possible.”

Sakhalin-1 set two world records for measured depth wells...  (go to article)

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CORRECTED-U.S. judges raise doubts about early challenge for EPA carbon rules

REUTERS -- In the first legal test of the Obama administration's plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants two of three federal judges hearing a challenge to the regulations on Thursday expressed skepticism about weighing in before they are formally adopted.

More than a dozen states and Murray Energy Corp filed lawsuits last year challenging the administration's proposal which would require the U.S. power sector to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

Judges Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit questioned whether it was too early to address whether the Environmental Protection Agency had the legal authority to regulate power plants as proposed under the administration's Clean Power Plan.  (go to article)

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Oil prices fall as OPEC production soars

Yahoo -- Oil prices fell in early trading on Friday, ending a run of rallies earlier in the week, after OPEC said that its output surged in March, adding to a global glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that its March production jumped 810,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 30.79 bpd which is equivalent to a third of global supply.

Front-month Brent crude futures (LCOc1) were down 15 cents since their last settlement to $63.83 per barrel at 0047 GMT on Friday. U.S. crude (CLc1) was down 20 cents at $56.50 a barrel.

Thanks to dipping output from the United States and other rival producers due to oil prices halving since June last year, OPEC said demand for its oil this year would be higher than previously thought.

"The strategy of OPEC to put pressure on the high-c  (go to article)

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OPEC: Rivals' oil supply growth will slow

CNBC -- The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced its forecasts for non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2015 on Thursday, indicating that its apparent strategy of putting pressure on its American rivals could be working.

In its monthly report, published Thursday, the group of 12 oil-producing nations also said demand for the oil it produced would be higher than previously thought, at 29.3 million barrels per day (mb/d).

OPEC – which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela and others as members -- has become well known over the last year for its refusal to reduce production, despite tumbling global oil prices amid a glut in supply.

The price of benchmark Brent crude oil has fallen from a high of $114 a barrel in June last year to trade around $62.30, but OPEC  (go to article)

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Banks tighten funding pipeline to energy companies

CNBC -- Bank lenders are curbing the amount of money they supply to energy companies amid an ongoing swoon in the price of crude oil.

In recent months, lenders Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have added to oil-and-gas loss reserves, according to executives, and Citi and JPMorgan say they have reduced their overall energy exposure as well. Moves like that are prompting some U.S. drillers to seek costlier capital through the public markets as a way to stave off a potential cash crunch.

Energy XXI, an oil and natural-gas driller that focuses on the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico, raised $1.45 billion in an early March debt offering based on concerns that their bank credit facility—a $1.5 billion revolver led by RBS and Wells Fargo—would be pared.

"We had to know it was c  (go to article)

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Democrats make uphill push for gas tax increase

USA Today -- Democrats, contractors and unions are pressing Congress to raise the gas tax to fund the Highway Trust Fund despite opposition from key Republicans that makes any increase unlikely.

On Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urged members of the Transportation Construction Coalition — a group of trade associations and construction unions — to lobby members of Congress for a long-term funding plan for the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to expire May 31.

The Highway Trust Fund is the primary source for federal highway and transit programs funding for local, state and national projects. It is funded by the federal gas tax — currently set at 18.4 cents per gallon — which hasn't been raised since 1993. In the past six years,  (go to article)

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