By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com: The US coal industry, plagued by rising costs and increasingly stringent environmental regulations, was to have a comeback year in 2014. Instead, it has had an epic year so far in environmental damage and horrible publicity.
Entries in Environment (49)
By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com: Why are most of the damages of an oil spill, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon, picked up by taxpayers? A federal liability cap of a ludicrous $75 million, that’s why. Big oil loves that subsidy and thwarts efforts to raise it to realistic levels.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: Exelon might retire some of its nuclear power plants because they're unprofitable. It blames low electricity prices and “bad energy policy,” by which it means subsidies for renewables, though nuclear has benefited from subsidies for decades.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: Fracking poses a growing risk to water supplies. Groundwater contamination has been making headlines, but in parched states like Texas and California, fracking’s massive consumption of water threatens fracking itself.
By James Burgess, Oilprice.com: A new analysis of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration sums up the costs of of servicing the US oil boom by rail.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: California is sitting on the largest tight oil formation in the US, the Monterey Shale. Interest is heating up. The legislature passed a controversial law to regulate fracking and allow the industry to drill. But fracking requires lots of water.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: Oil companies have been fracking offshore California and dumping chemicals into coastal waters for as long as two decades. It wasn’t until recently that FOIA requests brought it to light. Now the EPA is feebly trying to step in.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: A UBS report finds that the declining costs of renewable energy and energy storage are presenting a “perfect storm” for big utilities: They upend centralized electricity generation and put the utility business model in jeopardy.
By John Daly, OilPrice.com: Texas oil production is surging. Estimated output in 2014 of more than 2.7 million barrels per day will exceed that of OPEC members Nigeria (2.5 bpd), Venezuela (2.5 bpd), and Algeria (1.89 bpd). But the costs are steep, and dissent is rising.
By John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com: As the world moves away from coal due to its high emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases, in China the use of coal, the country’s main energy source, is predicted to soar 37% by 2020.
By John Daly, Oilprice.com. A product of the Keystone XL pipeline delay is that crude from the Alberta oil sands is refined in the Midwest, generating slag heaps of petroleum coke, or “petcoke,” whose airborne particles has local residents up in arms.
By Charles Kennedy, OilPrice.com: Canadian plans for a large nuclear-waste facility on the Canadian side of Lake Huron, directly opposite the thumb of the State of Michigan, are triggering a cross-border public outcry and a looming diplomatic backlash.
TEPCO, the bailed-out owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant, famous for its lackadaisical handling of the fiasco and its parsimonious delivery of information, reported earnings today. It was a doozie! And a glimpse into what's in store for Japanese taxpayers.
By Rory Johnston, of OilPrice.com: Early Saturday morning, a 134-car freight train carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded outside of Gainford, Alberta. The third such CN derailment in the past month. And three months ago, the tragic Lac-Mégantic disaster claimed 47 lives and incinerated the center of the town.
The costs of nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, for generations. But there are also the routine costs after reactors are shut down, when decommissioning expenses pile up, for timeframes beyond human comprehension. True costs are unknown. Now, the scandal-plagued San Onofre plant in Southern California has become a test case – indefinitely.
After Snatching Olympics, Japan Suddenly Admits Fukushima Not “Under Control,” Begs For International Help
As the Fukushima fiasco hobbled from cover-ups to partial revelations, mega-utility TEPCO – famous for its parsimoniousness with the truth and lackadaisical handling of the fiasco – always pretended the situation was under control. But days after Tokyo scored the 2020 Olympics, that pretense fell apart. Now Prime Minister Abe begged for international help.
“I’m calling for zero nuclear power,” said Junichiro Koizumi at a lecture in Nagoya. Hugely popular prime minister from 2001 to 2006, he'd groomed Shinzo Abe to become his successor. Abe, now again PM, is trying to restore the scandal-plagued nuclear industry to its former glory. But Koizumi’s words ripped into his policies – and are having an impact.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com. The bad news from the Fukushima nuclear power plant has been the massive leaks of radioactive water into the Pacific, likely to get worse as Tepco, the operator, is unsure how to stop the leaks. But now there's a much bigger issue that could prove dangerous to much of the world, and again Tepco could be responsible.
TEPCO, owner of the Fukushima nuke, whose lackadaisical handling of the fiasco is a fiasco itself, was bailed out by taxpayers after the disaster. It got another bailout as the government decided to deal itself with the radioactive groundwater leaking into the ocean. TEPCO should be bankrupt. But to add insult to injury, the government said, let’s not hurt investors!