Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

Posts in "Uncategorized"

October 24, 2014

ICYMI: Wastebooks, Oil Bans & Energy Politics

 

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Attendees of a rally for American coal jobs held by the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security, bow their heads in prayer in Upper Senate Park.  (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call via Getty Images)

  • Earlier this week, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., released his final Wastebook, an annual report that targets government funded projects he views as indulgent and wasteful. The senator’s scorn was aimed at several projects related to energy and environment, including money for beer farms, international coal shipments and “poop paks.”
  • Energy and environment issues are playing increasingly larger roles in many 2014 senate campaigns. As control of the Senate hangs in the balance, both parties are ramping up spending for energy ads in Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Alaska, West Virginia and Michigan. Ad content ranges from pro-coal and pro-oil to green energy and climate change. Electric automobile manufacturer, Tesla Motors, suffered a setback as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that forbids automakers from making direct car sales outside the franchise dealership network.
  • The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has a new study out that surveys the potential damage wind farms inflict on marine life. Calls for lifting the ban on American crude oil exports are growing louder as proponents have found a new argument: lifting the ban could be detrimental to Russia’s economy, thus giving the United States a foreign policy “win.” 

October 23, 2014

Offshore Wind Farms Pose Threat To Marine Wildlife

Offshore wind turbines might pose a hazard to the birds that fly into them, but marine mammals bear most of the risk during their construction, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The recently released paper doesn’t offer solutions for mitigating the environmental damage caused by turbine installation, but it does make recommendations for “future monitoring and assessment” of potential consequences.

Scientists have been watching the turbines’ possible danger for birds, but according to the study, mammals like harbor seals and porpoises may also face risks. ”The loud sounds emitted during pile driving could potentially cause hearing damage, mask communication or disorient animals and fish as they move out of the area to avoid the noise,” the study says.

The researchers found that there are very few studies examining how marine wildlife responds to wind farm construction and operation, and none that measure the long-term effects of the farms — largely because U.S. wind power operations are in their nascent stages.

Among their recommendations, the Maryland researchers call for targeted data collection and better scientific modeling. This fall, the Maryland Energy Administration’s Offshore Wind Development Fund and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will fund a study that measures noise pollution. Over the course of two years researchers will place underwater microphones off the coast of Maryland and record marine mammals. Their goal is to better understand their habits and inform any future planning of wind farms with the new data.

By Clyde McGrady Posted at 5:25 p.m.
Uncategorized

October 17, 2014

ICYMI: Oil Slides, CO2 Talk & Yucca Echoes

Down, down, down was the way oil looked this week, with the global benchmark Brent crude dropping 27 percent from July before rebounding slightly Thursday. Full story

September 19, 2014

UC Board of Regents Votes to Approve New Sustainable Investment Framework

The sustainable investment movement gained more momentum after the University of California’s Board of Regents voted Wednesday to approve a new framework – Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) – for its investments. Full story

Coal Politics & Shifting Loyalties in the Mountain State

National Review has a story up that looks (with glee) at the shifting party allegiance in West Virginia. Once a reliably blue state, West Virginia has been supporting Republicans in recent elections. Of course, this all comes down to one issue: coal. Full story

September 10, 2014

Oil and Gas Disputes Central to Scotland’s Independence Move

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Protesters on both sides of the Scotish referendum in Glasgow Wednesday.
(Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Next week Scottish voters will determine if they will cut ties from England, a move motivated in part by a desire to claim a larger share of energy revenue but which could have ramifications for oil and gas companies operating there as well as global markets. Full story

July 14, 2014

Welcome to Energy Xtra

leonard016 070214 240x165 Welcome to Energy XtraWelcome to Energy Xtra, the fifth Policy Pulse blog from CQ Roll Call, where we’ll be covering the all-of-the-above energy debates on renewable generation, efficiency, electric reliability, infrastructure, nuclear developments, coal technology and implications of the ongoing oil and gas boom.

We’ll bring you keen insight from Capitol Hill by our CQ Roll Call energy team and delve into some of the less-covered debates that retain broad implications for those of you in hometowns far from the D.C. beltway.

A word about me: I’ve been covering energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill for the better part of a year and have written energy stories for The New York Times, National Geographic, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.

I have a degree in geology and a background as an environmental consultant conducting investigations at fuel sites owned by big oil. Raised on a mountaintop in California, I visited every state in the Union by the age of 18 and have lived in New York City and Chicago.

(CQ Roll Call’s other Policy Pulse blogs are: Technocrat, for the tech and telecom community; Five by Five, which covers the defense industry and national security; The Container, on all things transportation; and Healthopolis, a forum for health policy news.)

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