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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.

Spain's King Juan Carlos (fourth from left) walks with Abengoa Chairman Felipe Benjumea in front of solar panels during the inauguration of a solar tower in southern Spain. The firm, which is also constructing large-scale solar power projects in the U.S. and has received at least $2.7 billion in federal loan guarantees since 2010, said Wednesday it will begin insolvency proceedings. (Associated Press)

Obama green energy project Abengoa on verge of bankruptcy; demise recalls Solyndra

By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times

If you were wondering what the Spanish word for "Solyndra" is, this week provided the answer: "Abengoa." Published November 25, 2015

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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.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies on Capitol  Hill in Washington, in this Sept. 16, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Feds plan new guidelines on toxic algae in lakes, rivers

- Associated Press

New national guidelines are being developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect swimmers and kayakers from the growing threats posed by toxic algae in lakes and rivers.

An globelike tent hosting an exhibition on climate is set up in the courtyard of the French Environment Ministry. President Obama will head to a historic climate change summit in Paris next week. (Associated Press)

Obama power limited at Paris climate change summit COP 21

- The Washington Times

President Obama will head to a historic climate change summit in Paris next week with a fragile U.S. commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and analysts say the president is limited in terms of concrete promises and instead will act as little more than a "cheerleader" in the fight against global warming.

An Indian man rests in front of an air cooler to cool himself on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Telangana, in this May 31, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A., File)

U.N. weather agency: It's record hot out there this year

- Associated Press

Because of man-made global warming and a strong El Nino, Earth's wild weather this year is bursting the annual heat record, the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday.

Sarah Myers, right, a manager at the Bayer North American Bee Care Center, shows a tray of bees to St. Thomas More Academy student Maria Pompi, left, during a tour of the center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson) ** FILE **

Pesticide-makers point to other culprits in bee die-offs

- Associated Press

In a Nordic-inspired building tucked in a corner of the Bayer CropScience North American headquarters, high school students wander through 6,000 square feet dedicated entirely to the specialness of bees. Children taste different types of honey and examine the differences between honeybee and carpenter bee specimens.

For Murray Energy Corp. CEO Robert Murray, who fancies himself as one of President Obama's greatest enemies, the looming court case represents the best chance to stop what he and his employees routinely refer to as the "war on coal," a series of policies this administration has issued to crack down on energy that scientists say produces greenhouse gases. (Associated Press)

Lawsuit to stop 'war on coal' could derail Obama environmental agenda

- The Washington Times

Late in the afternoon of Nov. 12, Robert Murray got the news he had been waiting for -- a judge said his company's lawsuit to stop the Obama administration's central climate change policy would move forward, and ordered Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to sit for a deposition in the case.

David Wolff, a research scientist with NASA, poses for a photo Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, next to one of the large radar instruments installed on a hilltop near Moclips, Wash. Led by NASA and hosted by the University of Washington, a team of meteorologists and scientists is fanning out across one of the wettest places in the country in November to measure raindrops and snowdrops and attempt to validate, on the ground, how well global satellites measure precipitation from space. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

NASA, University of Washington team up to track rain, snow

- Associated Press

Using everything from a customized DC-8 jetliner to ground radars to four-inch rain gauges, scientists are fanning out across one of the soggiest places in the United States this month to measure raindrops and snowflakes like never before.

France to reinstate border controls for U.N. climate meeting

- Associated Press

France will reinstate controls on its borders - normally open to other countries in Europe's free-travel zone -- for the period around a major U.N. climate conference in Paris, the interior minister said Friday.

Rep. Lamar Smith and other Republicans claim that the EPA's objectivity in assessing Alaska's Pebble Mine was suspect at best. (Associated Press)

EPA email trail reveals Alaska Pebble Mine plot

- The Washington Times

It didn't take long for Thursday's House committee hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency's role in blocking the Pebble Mine to start sounding less like a congressional probe and more like the plot of a Michael Crichton thriller.

President Barack Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., on March 22, 2012. (Associated Press)

Obama rejects request to suspend Keystone pipeline review

- The Washington Times

President Obama on Wednesday retained his authority to make the final call on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting pleas to delay the State Department's review of the project and sparking a backlash among critics who say the administration's decision-making process has been corrupted by politics.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent and Democratic presidential candidate, speaks in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 30, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Bernie Sanders, environmental activists look to end drilling on federal lands

- The Washington Times

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders on Wednesday proposed halting all fossil-fuel development on federal lands as part of a broader plan to fight global warming -- but the Vermont independent remains stunningly silent on whether he'll go "carbon neutral" and take steps to curb his own campaign's greenhouse-gas emissions.

American Lung Association officials admit their broader strategy has morphed during President Obama's time in the White House, saying they recognize significant "policy opportunities" that come with a president who has vowed to make climate change a centerpiece of his final years in office. (Association Press)

American Lung Association pushes Obama climate change agenda

- The Washington Times

The American Lung Association -- formerly best known for its highly successful antismoking initiatives -- in recent years has undergone a dramatic transformation and now lends its respected voice and identifiable brand to President Obama's climate change agenda, often acting in lockstep with environmental activists and liberals on Capitol Hill.

Chris Koster speaks in Kansas City, Mo., in this Aug. 5, 2008, file photo. (AP Photo/Denny Medley, File)

EPA: Remedy to St. Louis-area landfill fire to come in 2015

- Associated Press

A plan to make sure an underground St. Louis-area landfill fire doesn't reach a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste buried nearby will come before the end of 2015, an Environmental Protection Agency administrator said Monday.

President Obama is promoting a platform of executive actions and private sector commitments to accelerate America's transition to cleaner sources of energy. Republicans, however, say his plan will ultimately bring Americans higher power costs. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Business groups join fight to combat Clean Power Plan

- The Washington Times

The battle over the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan heated up Monday as pro-business groups staked out their case against the newly published rule that mandates a massive reduction in carbon emissions in the next 15 years, arguing that it will jack up energy costs and slash jobs without making a dent in greenhouse gases.

In this photo provided by Caltrans, vehicles are stopped in mud on California's Interstate 5 after flooding Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015. (Caltrans via AP)

Key Southern California interstate blocked in flash flooding

- Associated Press

Emergency crews shoveled mud from a section of Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles after flash flood debris blocked the important roadway, stranded hundreds of vehicles, and forced some motorists to take refuge on top of their cars.

This photo taken April 23, 2015, shows the Colowyo Coal Mine near Craig, Colo. Federal regulators have recommended that the mine, which has been threatened with closure partly over its impacts on climate change, remain open for now. (Patrick Kelly/Craig Daily Press via AP)

Obama doles out money to struggling coal towns

- The Washington Times

As his environmental regulations wipe out jobs in the coal industry and potentially drive up the price of electricity, President Obama on Thursday doled out more than $14 million to communities in Kentucky, West Virginia and other areas in the hopes of moving displaced coal workers into other lines of work.

President Obama made clear in his veto threat that the administration will not go along with any legislation that furthers U.S. reliance on fossil fuels, and that stand comes despite the fact that the federal government's own data have shown ending the oil export ban could lower domestic gas prices. (Associated Press)

Obama stands firm against lifting oil export ban despite potential economic benefits

- The Washington Times

By threatening to veto a bill greenlighting oil exports, President Obama last week sent a powerful message to Congress and to the American public: The administration is unlikely to sign off on any measures expanding fossil fuel production and sales, even if those measures carry economic benefits for the U.S. and national security benefits for key allies around the world.

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.

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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