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Energy and Environment

The latest updates on energy and environment news, analysis and opinion covering energy policy and its impact on resources and climate.

Just months after Republicans helped grant President Obama fast-track negotiation powers to finish the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, GOP leaders said they were disappointed with the final deal the president won in the 12-nation talks. Democrats, meanwhile, have been overwhelmingly opposed from the start. (Associated Press)

Keystone pipeline lawsuit threatens Obama's Asian trade deal

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

This week's Keystone pipeline lawsuit may deliver the death blow to a seemingly unrelated Asian trade deal, with environmentalists and labor unions saying a Canadian company shouldn't be allowed to use international trade agreements to force changes in U.S. energy and environmental policy. Published January 7, 2016

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A woman plays in the light snowfall on a tea plantation in the Pinglin mountain area of  New Taipei City, Taiwan, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. An unusually cold weather front that caused sudden drops in temperatures has been blamed for killing as many as 57 people in Taiwan's greater Taipei area. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Cold snap hits east Asia, blamed for more than 65 deaths

- Associated Press

Unusually cold weather in eastern Asia has been blamed for more than 65 deaths, disrupted transportation and brought the first snow to a subtropical city in southern China in almost 50 years. Here is a look at the worst cold weather to hit the region in years:

People dig out their cars Sunday in Alexandria, Va. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (Associated Press)

D.C. area begins digging out after East Coast blizzard

- The Washington Times

The District of Columbia, like other cities on the East Coast, got to work Sunday digging itself out from under a 2-foot blanket of snow after a colossal winter storm brought activity to a standstill from the mid-Atlantic region to New England over the weekend.

Flint City Council President Kerry Nelson listens during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 at City Hall in Flint, Mich., about adding supplemental phosphates to the city's water. The city says phosphates are being added to drinking water in an effort to help deal with problems with lead caused by the city's earlier use of Flint River water. (Jake May/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

Regional EPA official resigns over Flint water crisis

- Associated Press

A regional director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency resigned in connection with the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the same day the agency's chief issued an emergency order directing state and city officials to take actions to protect public health.

New Mexico sues Volkswagen over emissions scandal

- Associated Press

New Mexico is suing Volkswagen and other German automakers over an emissions cheating scandal that involves millions of cars worldwide, the first state to do so but almost certainly not the last.

Swiss Police walk outside the congress center on the eve of the opening of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Anxiety in the air as Davos World Economic Forum kicks off

- Associated Press

A prevailing sense of anxiety was in the air in the Swiss ski resort of Davos as the World Economic Forum kicked off Wednesday with delegates fretting about the turbulence in financial markets, slowdown in China and plunging oil prices.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during a news conference in Flint, Mich., in this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo. The fallout from a water crisis in another impoverished city have marred the Republican's image as a practical problem-solver. (Jake May/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP, File)

Rick Snyder, Michigan governor, on Flint water: 'I let you down'

- Associated Press

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said he had failed Flint residents but pledged to take new steps to fix the city's drinking water crisis, starting with committing millions in state funding and deploying more National Guard members.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is making overtures to Middle Eastern powers regarding expanded trade. (Associated Press)

China moves to supplant U.S. as key foreign power in Middle East

- The Washington Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia Tuesday for the first stop on a closely watched tour that will include visits to Egypt and Iran, as Beijing pushes to widen its access to Middle East oil and potentially supplant Washington as the most influential foreign power operating in the tumultuous region.

Cory Chanze, shieldman for the Ohio County Coal Company, surveys the longwall operation inside the Ohio County mine in Dallas, West Virginia. Miners are sticking to their preference for such underground work despite the Obama White House attempting to transition them into other lines of work. (Jared Wickerham/Special to the Washington Times)

Obama halts coal production on public land

- The Washington Times

The Obama administration announced a moratorium on new coal development on public land Friday while it studies the impact of the U.S. leasing program on climate change, prompting fresh criticism that President Obama is ramping up his "war on coal."

TransCanada argues that President Obama "intruded on Congress's power to regulate interstate and international commerce" and blatantly disregarded the will of the legislative branch. Congress last year passed a bill approving Keystone, but the president vetoed it. (Associated Press)

TransCanada sues Obama administration over Keystone pipeline rejection

- The Washington Times

TransCanada on Wednesday accused President Obama in a federal lawsuit of exceeding his constitutional authority when rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and, in a separate challenge, said the White House violated a historic trade agreement, igniting an election-year battle over a project that most considered dead -- at least until the next president takes office in one year.

Herbert Diess, chairman of the board of Volkswagen Brand, speaks during a keynote address at CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

VW exec sees U.S. fixes soon in emissions test cheating

- Associated Press

The top executive of the Volkswagen brand worldwide says he's optimistic that U.S. environmental regulators will approve fixes within the coming weeks or months for diesel engines that cheat on emissions tests.

Ras Lanuf is home to oil refineries and storage facilities in Libya. Islamic State militants on Monday set a storage tank ablaze as they pushed eastward into the "oil crescent." (Associated Press)

Islamic State's thirst for oil highlighted by attacks in Libya

- The Washington Times

The Islamic State's main branch in Libya launched attacks Monday near a key oil export terminal on the Mediterranean, the latest in a growing offensive that national security sources say underscores the terrorist group's desire to seize lucrative territory in the war-torn North African nation to fund its global ambitions.

Charles and Daisy Johnson, of Benton County, Miss., left, survey the damage to their home, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. The couple were temporarily trapped in their shelter Wednesday as a severe winter storm rolled over their home. At least seven people were killed in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas as spring-like storms mixed with unseasonably warm weather rolled through the South. (AP Photo/Phillip Lucas)

Christmas storm woes continue as tornado hits Alabama

- Associated Press

A tornado touched down in north-central Alabama, including part of Birmingham, in the latest wave of severe weather that's hammered the South during Christmas week.

A Christmas Tree stands among damage done to a home on Falcon Road in Selmer, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, after a tornado passed through the area Wednesday evening. No deaths or injuries were reported.  (Kenneth Cummings/The Jackson Sun via AP)

Christmastime tornadoes ravage South; at least 14 killed

- Associated Press

Instead of doing some last-minute shopping or wrapping gifts, families across the South spent Christmas Eve taking stock of their losses after an unusual outbreak of December tornadoes and other violent weather killed at least 14 people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes.

An activist hold a poster during a demonstration near the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015 during the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. As organizers of the Paris climate talks presented what they hope is a final draft of the accord, protesters from environmental and human rights groups gather to call attention to populations threatened by rising seas and increasing droughts and floods. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Key points of the landmark Paris climate agreement

- Associated Press

U.N. climate talks reached a milestone Saturday when more than 190 countries adopted the first accord asking all countries to join the fight against global warming. Here are some of the key elements of the deal.

French President Francois Hollande, right, and French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius react after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Governments have adopted a global agreement that for the first time asks all countries to reduce or rein in their greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Landmark deal: Nearly 200 nations adopt 1st global climate change pact

- Associated Press

Nearly 200 nations adopted the first global pact to fight climate change on Saturday, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution but imposing no sanctions on countries that don't.

Amid disputes, critical Paris climate talks run over

- Associated Press

High-stakes climate talks outside Paris will not end Friday as planned but will continue at least one more day as diplomats try to overcome disagreements over how -- or even whether -- to share the costs of fighting climate change and shift to clean energy on a global scale.

Hillary Clinton's campaign didn't respond to requests for comment about George Kaiser and the fundraiser, but her website lists it as a two-hour affair. Guests are requested to give the $2,700 maximum donation in exchange for a "photo with Hillary." (Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton's billionaire fundraiser host got sweet deal in Solyndra collapse

- The Washington Times

Hillary Clinton's claim that she is not beholden to her wealthy donors will come under renewed scrutiny Friday when the Democratic front-runner raises fresh cash for her presidential bid at the home of George Kaiser, a billionaire whose firm was the biggest investor in the troubled Solyndra stimulus project -- and who managed to walk away with a lucrative profit at the expense of taxpayers.

Rio's dangerous Olympic waters rife with pathogens, sewage

- Associated Press

Olympic sailor Erik Heil floated a novel idea to protect himself from the sewage-infested waters he and other athletes will compete in during next year's games: He'd wear plastic overalls and peel them off when he was safely past the contaminated waters nearest shore.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he arrives at a campaign stop at the White Mountain Athletic Club Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, in Waterville Valley, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Donald Trump: Climate change is not going to kill us

- The Washington Times

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that climate change isn't going to "kill us," that he would not have attended the summit on the topic in Paris, and that he didn't want to say aloud what people outside the United States really think of President Obama.

Superintendent Jackie Ratliff, a coal miner of 25 years, holds coal running through a processing plant Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, in Welch, W.Va. (AP Photo/David Goldman) ** FILE **

Appalachia grasps for hope as coal loses its grip

- Associated Press

The seams of coal in some of Eddie Asbury's mines in McDowell County are so thin workers can barely squeeze down them. They enter on carts nearly flat on their backs, the roof of the mine coursing by just a few inches in front of their faces. They don't stand up all day.

Pope Francis speaks at the United Nations regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Pope Francis warned Thursday that it would be "catastrophic" for world leaders to let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions as he brought his environmental message to the heart of Africa on the eve of make-or-break climate change talks in Paris. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

Pope Francis says 'catastrophic' if interests derail climate talks

- The Washington Times

Pope Francis warned Thursday that it would be "catastrophic" for world leaders to let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions as he brought his environmental message to the heart of Africa on the eve of make-or-break climate change talks in Paris.

Recent Opinion Columns

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks in Washington in this Nov. 19, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Obama goes after the farmers

Farmers are now the bad guys. President Obama's administration last week claimed dominion over all of America's streams, creeks, rills, ditches, brooks, rivulets, burns, tributaries, criks, wetlands -- perhaps even puddles -- in a sweeping move to assert unilateral federal authority.

Illustration on impending EPA regulatory takeover of U.S. "waterways" by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A vast land grab to ‘protect’ water

In November, comments closed on a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine "waters of the United States," as set forth in the Clean Water Act of 1977. While Sen. Edmund Muskie, Maine Democrat, author of the 1977 law, required 88 pages for his entire statute, this spring's Federal Register notice ran 370 pages, not counting appendixes, one of which hit 300 pages alone. Little wonder the new "wetland" rules have generated controversy and a likely Supreme Court case.

Jumping the Tax Code Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Special interest pleading via the tax code is government at its worst

The latest disgrace out of Capitol Hill in this lame-duck session is the "tax extenders" bill. This has become an annual Washington ritual with Congress waiting until the very last minute to approve dozens of expiring tax credits, deductions and loopholes. It is a microcosm of everything wrong with the way Congress operates.

EPA Imposing Expensive Green Energy Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

EPA's goofy green-energy rules

If you think President Obama's unilateral exercise of executive powers granting near-blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants was an abuse of power, get a load of what this administration is doing over at the Environmental Protection Agency.

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