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

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday, Nov. 7, 2014,  to hear a new challenge to President Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

High court to review EPA mercury limits

By Mark Sherman - Associated Press

32 minutes ago

The Supreme Court is stepping into a new case about Obama administration environmental rules, agreeing to review a ruling that upholds emission standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Published November 25, 2014

Recent Stories

In this Oct. 14, 2014 file photo, an oil pump works at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. The price of oil took another sharp tumble Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, as it appeared increasingly unlikely that OPEC members will cut production to staunch a plunge in prices that is entering its fifth month. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

As OPEC faces tough test, lower oil prices loom

- Associated Press

These are the moments OPEC exists for: A sharp drop in global oil prices has reduced the amount of money OPEC countries take in by nearly $1 billion a day.

In this Dec. 13, 2009, file photo, oil personnel work at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the city of Basra, Iraq. OPEC's purpose is to coordinate oil output to keep prices high and stable, to maximize member countries’ revenue but make sure global demand for oil stays strong. A steep, coordinated cut in output could stop and possibly reverse what has been a 30 percent decline in price over five months. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani, File)FILE

Guessing game: What are OPEC nations thinking?

- Associated Press

Does Saudi Arabia have it out for frackers in the U.S.? Or Iran? Or Russia? Will low oil prices make it easier to fight the Islamic State? Or harder?

FILE - In this April 4, 2013 file photo, a mechanized shovel loads coal onto a haul truck at the Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine near Decker, Mont. Montana tax authorities argue Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, before the state Supreme Court that a Wyoming mining company owes $3.4 million for selling coal to an affiliate at less than market value. At issue is whether coal should be valued for tax purposes at the time the fuel is mined and shipped or when a sale is negotiated. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

Montana authorities take on coal-industry sales

- Associated Press

Montana authorities charged Tuesday that coal sales between mining companies and their own affiliates are subject to manipulation and need to be treated differently from other sales.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., right,  and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., shake hands at the conclusion of their Senate race debate with  Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

GOP works on voter interest in La. Senate race

- Associated Press

Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, as a potential second-tier candidate, needs to ingratiate himself with local political leaders who can arrange meet-and-greets. (Associated Press Photographs)

O'Malley administration to propose Md. gas drilling regs

- Associated Press

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesday his administration will propose some of the nations' toughest regulations next month governing the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale rock formation underlying parts of far western Maryland through the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Conservationists sue over federal coal program

- Associated Press

Conservation groups sued the government Tuesday to force officials to undertake their first broad review of the federal coal-leasing program in decades and consider how burning the fuel contributes to climate change.

This July 29, 2013, file photo shows a Luminant Mining Co. coal mine working in Tatum, Texas. Texas has to cut its carbon emission by 39 percent by 2030 under new federal requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday the state has at least three years to develop a plan to reach the reductions. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

EPA: Coal plants should spend $2B to cut emissions

- Associated Press

Federal regulators are proposing that the largest coal-powered plants in Texas invest $2 billion in new technology to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, a measure energy companies are likely to resist.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry address the media after the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. Facing still significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on last-minute efforts to get a nuclear deal by the Monday deadline and extended their talks for another seven months. The move gives both sides breathing space to work out an agreement but may be badly received by domestic sceptics, since it extends more than a decade of diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear prowess. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Iran nuclear talks to be extended until July

- Associated Press

Facing still significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on last-minute efforts to get a nuclear deal by the Monday deadline and extended their talks for another seven months.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, prior to a bilateral meeting of the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. The U.S. and five other nations trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran are turning away from attempting to reach an agreement by deadline and have started internal discussions on extending the talks, diplomats said Sunday. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, pool)

The US-Iran differences that blocked a nuke deal

- Associated Press

Renewed failure by Iran and the U.S. to reach a nuclear agreement by a Monday deadline reflects the difficulties each side has with crossing red lines they brought with them to the negotiating table.

FILE - In this May 7, 1953, file photo, Navajo miners work at the Kerr McGee uranium mine at Cove, Ariz., on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Kerr-McGee left abandoned uranium mine sites, including contaminated waste rock piles, in the Lukachukai mountains of Arizona and in the Ambrosia Lake area of New Mexico. The Lukachukai mountains are located immediately west of Cove, Ariz., and are a culturally significant part of the Navajo Nation. This site is among thousands that are part of the $5.15 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. with approximate amount of funding for cleanup efforts and details about the sites, in information provided by the Justice Department.  (AP Photo)

Legislative panel endorses uranium regulation bill

- Associated Press

A legislative committee has endorsed the idea of the state taking over sole regulation of uranium mining in Wyoming, the largest producer of uranium in the country.

U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that while Iran is currently keeping up its end of the nuclear deal amid U.S. sanctions, more work is ahead. (Associated Press)

Obama extension for Iran talks gives GOP opening to seek new sanctions

- The Washington Times

President Obama's willingness to extend by seven months the talks on ending Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions thrusts any final decision on the matter into a new year when Republicans will have control of both chambers of Congress and be able to press their own efforts at increasing sanctions or other pressures on Tehran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State John F. Kerry held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna on Sunday. (Associated Press)

U.S., Iran may extend nuclear talks

- The Washington Times

U.S. and Iranian officials appeared close on Sunday to extending the high-stakes talks over Iran's disputed nuclear program after failing to meet a self-imposed deadline for a deal that would open the program to close international scrutiny in exchange for a withdrawal of crippling Western sanctions on Tehran.

In this March 29, 2013, file photo, workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. gas well outside Rifle, Colo. Discoveries of vast reserves of oil and the slow progress of alternatives in recent years has given rise to a very different outlook on oil prices. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)-FILE

Judge denies bid to halt Illinois fracking rules

- Associated Press

A judge in southwestern Illinois has denied a bid by a landowners group to suspend the state's new rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show they would suffer immediate harm if the practice commonly known as "fracking" was to go forward.

In this May 25, 2013, photo, recently planted corn grows is seen on a central Illinois farm field near Chandlerville, Ill. Falling corn prices and questions about ethanol demand could lead Illinois farmers to plant fewer acres of corn this year and instead are taking a closer look at soybeans this year. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

EPA delays decision on ethanol in gas

- Associated Press

The Obama administration said Friday it is delaying a decision on whether to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.

In this July 16, 2014 photo, a wood chipper sprays debris from an ash tree into the back of a truck in Plainfield, Ill., after it was removed from the front of a house. Residents in Will County are seeing massive changes in their municipal treescapes as villages and cities compete for the best ways to remove and replace ash trees infested with the emerald ash borer beetle. The beetle has spread to most communities in the county. (AP Photo/The Herald-News, Rob Winner)  MANDATORY CREDIT

Turning woodchips into electricity

- Associated Press

In the not so distant past, it was not uncommon for sawmills to burn their waste products such as woodchips and sawdust in teepee burners.

Recent Opinion Columns

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) **FILE**

Obama's empty promises, go-it-alone policies won't fight climate change

When President Obama addressed the United Nations last month, he admitted that "[t]he science tells us we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every other nation, by every major power." It is true that unilateral climate change policies are futile, but that only makes this administration's current action on climate change even more difficult to justify.

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