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Biden ending new leases in America's top coal region

Giant truck hauls coal

In a pair of controversial environmental decisions, the Biden administration is moving to end all new coal leasing in the country's largest producing coal region, the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.

The announcement Thursday by the federal Bureau of Land Management is in response to a lawsuit by environmental groups and is expected to face protests from the industry and coal producing states including Wyoming. In the agency's final environmental study, the BLM's Buffalo, Wyoming field office ruled that new coal leasing would have significant impacts on human health and the climate, due to the coal being burned at power plants.

Environmentalists called the decision a victory, estimating that it would keep six billion tons of "highly polluting coal in the ground."

"The BLM released a common sense plan that reflects the reality of today's coal markets," said Mark Fix of the Montana-based Northern Plains Resource council, in a statement.

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US energy industry gas leaks are triple the official figures, study finds

US indsustry gas leaks US oil and natural gas wells, pipelines and compressors are spewing three times the amount of the potent heat-trapping gas methane as the government has determined, causing $9.3bn in yearly climate damage, a new comprehensive study calculates.

But because more than half of these methane emissions are coming from a tiny number of oil and gas sites, 1% or less, this means the problem is both worse than the government has determined but also fairly fixable, said the lead author of a study in the journal Nature.

The same issue is happening globally. Large methane emissions events around the world detected by satellites grew 50% in 2023 compared with 2022 with more than 5m metric tons spotted in major fossil fuel leaks, the International Energy Agency reported on Wednesday in its Global Methane Tracker 2024 report. World methane emissions rose slightly in 2023 to 120m metric tons, the report said.

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Schumer calls for new government, 'course corrections' by Israel

Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for new elections in Israel, describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government as an "obstacle to peace" amid his country's ongoing war in Gaza.

Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in U.S. history, urged Israel to "do better," citing the estimated tens of thousands of Palestinian civilian casualties caused by the Netanyahu government's military offensive aimed at neutralizing the terrorist group Hamas.

The New York Democrat said Israel "must make some significant course corrections" as the conflict nears the half-year mark.

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‘Smoking gun proof’: fossil fuel industry knew of climate danger as early as 1954, documents show

Fossil fuel industry knew of dangersThe fossil fuel industry funded some of the world’s most foundational climate science as early as 1954, newly unearthed documents have shown, including the early research of Charles Keeling, famous for the so-called “Keeling curve” that has charted the upward march of the Earth’s carbon dioxide levels.

A coalition of oil and car manufacturing interests provided $13,814 (about $158,000 in today’s money) in December 1954 to fund Keeling’s earliest work in measuring CO2 levels across the western US, the documents reveal.

Keeling would go on to establish the continuous measurement of global CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This “Keeling curve” has tracked the steady increase of the atmospheric carbon that drives the climate crisis and has been hailed as one of the most important scientific works of modern times.

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Drone strikes knock out half of Saudi oil capacity, 5 million barrels a day

Saudis shut down half of oil output after attackDrone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, people with knowledge of Saudi's oil operations told CNN Business.
Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency.
Five million barrels per day of crude production have been impacted after fires raged at the sites, one of them the world's largest oil production facility, people with knowledge of the kingdom's operations said. The latest OPEC figures from August 2019 put the total Saudi production at 9.8 million barrels per day.

Wholesale energy prices dip below zero because of California’s solar power

Solar power in CaliforniaSolar power shines bright in California, and wholesale energy prices prove it. Last winter and early spring’s dependence on solar drove wholesale energy prices to negative prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Solar power in the California Independent System Operator accounted for nearly 40% of net grid power for three hours on March 11, 2017, the administration reports —a major first.

These figures don’t translate for the consumer into retail prices, which are based on averages. But the move will likely cause energy companies to pay more attention to green energy options.

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Nuclear reactor at Indian Point plant in N.Y. shut down again after leak found

Indian Point reactor leakOne of two reactor units at a nuclear power plant near New York City has been taken offline for the second time in four months after leakage was found in a pipe that pumps water into the facility, officials said Friday.

Reactor Unit 2 at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., was shut down Thursday after discovery of the malfunction. Officials said the leak was found in a non-radioactive part of the plant.

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