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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.

A new EPA proposal would lower the current national ozone standard for automobiles from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 or 70 ppb. Environmentalist are calling for even more stringent pollution caps. (Associated Press)

EPA tightens ozone standard, sets off fight with business groups

By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday tightened the federal ozone standard, dismissing the concerns of powerful business groups and setting off a regulatory and legal fight that will last for the remainder of President Obama's time in office. Published October 1, 2015

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Floodwaters close in on homes on a small piece of land on Lake Katherine in Columbia, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. After a week of steady rain, the showers tapered off Monday and an inundated South Carolina turned to surveying a road system shredded by historic flooding. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

South Carolina towns downstream brace for flooding

- Associated Press

Along South Carolina's coast, residents were preparing for a second round of flooding as rivers swollen from days of devastating rains make their way toward the Atlantic.

In this undated photo provided by TOTE Maritime shows the cargo ship, El Faro. The El Faro departed Jacksonville, Fla., on Sept. 29, 2015 when Joaquin was still a tropical storm. The ship had 33 crew members, and it was headed to Puerto Rico when it encountered heavy seas when Joaquin became a hurricane. The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 that the El Faro has been lost. They are still searching for survivors. (TOTE Maritime via AP)

El Faro, sunken U.S. ship, had sufficient lifeboats, but terrible storm

- Associated Press

Crew members trained regularly in calm waters to handle the lifeboats would instead likely have struggled against buffeting by huge 50-foot waves, a vessel taking on water and listing to one side and winds the Coast Guard estimated reached 140 mph. Life rafts can get torn apart. Lifeboats become impossible to drop into the sea.

Jeanni Adame rides in her boat as she checks on neighbors seeing if they want to evacuate  in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., after many of their neighbors left, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. South Carolina is still struggling with flood waters due to a slow moving storm system. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Despite sunny forecast, South Carolina ordeal far from over

- Associated Press

South Carolina was expecting sunshine Tuesday after days of inundation, but it will still take weeks for the state to return to normal after being pummeled by a historic rainstorm.

A woman walks down a flooded sidewalk toward an open convenience store in Charleston, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and ordered federal aid to bolster state and local efforts as flood warnings remained in effect for many parts of the East Coast through Sunday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

South Carolina flood: Door-to-door searches, swamped roads

- Associated Press

Another day of heavy rain drenched an already inundated South Carolina on Monday as rescue teams went door-to-door to check on people in swamped neighborhoods and authorities surveyed a statewide road system torn apart by historic flooding.

Jordan Bennett, of Rock Hill, S.C., paddles up to a flooded store in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The rainstorm drenching the U.S. East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing many roads because of floodwaters.  (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

South Carolina faces historic flooding as hundreds rescued from water

- Associated Press

Hundreds were rescued from fast-moving floodwaters Sunday in South Carolina as days of driving rain hit a dangerous crescendo that buckled buildings and roads, closed a major East Coast interstate route and threatened the drinking water supply for the capital city.

Perry Williams, 47, left, and Alaric Nixon, 28, place sandbags on the storefront of Diamond's International store, in preparation for the arrival of hurricane Joaquin in Nassau, Bahamas, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Joaquin unleashed heavy flooding as it roared through sparsely populated islands in the eastern Bahamas as a Category 4 storm. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)

Hurricane Joaquin lashes Bahamas; storm could threaten U.S.

- Associated Press

Hurricane Joaquin hammered islands in the central Bahamas with torrential rains that flooded homes and forecasters warned that the "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm could grow even stronger as it roared on a path that could take it near the U.S. East Coast.

A new EPA proposal would lower the current national ozone standard for automobiles from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 or 70 ppb. Environmentalist are calling for even more stringent pollution caps. (Associated Press)

EPA to release new regulations to restrict ground-level ozone

- The Washington Times

President Obama on Thursday is expected to take what many expect to be the most costly and contentious step in his ambitious environmental agenda -- the release of a gargantuan set of federal regulations to restrict ground-level ozone in the name of protecting Americans' health.

In this July 30, 2015 file photo, the Royal Dutch Shell PLC icebreaker Fennica heads up the Willamette River under protesters hanging from the St. Johns Bridge on its way to Alaska in Portland, Ore.  Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Shell says it will cease Alaska offshore Arctic drilling

- Associated Press

Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast following disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work.

Pope Francis beseeches world leaders at U.N. to protect the environment

- Associated Press

Pope Francis declared Friday that there is a "right of the environment" and that mankind has no authority to abuse it, telling more than 100 world leaders and diplomats at the United Nations that urgent action is needed to halt the destruction of God's creation.

The red carpet treatment for Chines President Xi Jinping, who arrived Thursday night in Washington for a private dinner with President Obama at Blair House, comes as the administration acknowledged this week that hackers who stole security dossiers from the Office of Personnel Management also got the fingerprints of 5.6 million federal employees. (Associated Press)

China plans to launch national cap-and-trade system

- Associated Press

China is preparing to announce plans to launch a national system to limit greenhouse gases and force industries to purchase pollution credits, Obama administration officials said Thursday.

EPA to change diesel tests to thwart Volkswagen-like cheating

- Associated Press

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans sweeping changes to the way it tests for diesel emissions after getting duped by clandestine software in Volkswagen cars for seven years.

In this Sept. 19, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundations 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Obama calls out 'folks like John McCain' on climate change

- The Washington Times

President Obama believes "folks like John McCain" are responsible for the 2009 death of cap-and-trade legislation, a political failure by the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats that has ultimately led to a host a new climate-change regulations from the president's Environmental Protection Agency.

Pope Francis prays inside the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, in El Cobre, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Francis arrived in the sanctuary shortly after landing in the nearby eastern city of Santiago, his final stop in Cuba before heading to the U.S. on Tuesday. The pontiff brought a bouquet of flowers that he placed before the foot-tall wooden statue of the Virgin prayed for a few minutes. (Tony Gentile/Pool via AP)

Trump: I'd discuss religion, global warming with pope

- The Washington Times

Billionaire businessman and 2016 Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said if he got some time with Pope Francis, who is in the United States this week, he'd like to talk to him about a lot things, including religion and global warming.

Illustration on the climate change debate by Nancy Ohanian/Tribune Content Agency

Republican candidates turn climate change into debate on economy

- The Washington Times

Last week's Republican presidential debate may have provided a window into how GOP candidates will handle the thorny issue of climate change, with a number of White House hopefuls skirting a debate on the science of global warming and instead taking aim at the costs and consequences of President Obama's prescription to save the planet -- a strategy that some analysts say cedes the issue to Democrats.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, welcomes U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano for their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. Rouhani told Amano on Sunday that his agency should be fair in its implementation of a nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers, according to a report on Rouhani's website. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranians provided own samples for nuclear site inspection

- The Washington Times

The chief of the U.N. nuclear agency acknowledged Monday that samples used to determine whether Iran tried to develop a nuclear weapon were collected by the Iranians instead of agency investigators, touching off a fresh dispute between congressional Republicans and the White House over weaknesses in the administration's deal with Tehran.

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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