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Energy & Environment

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

In this Oct. 19, 2016, file photo, a man fishes for salmon in the Snake River above the Lower Granite Dam in Washington state. (Jesse Tinsley /The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)

Trump administration urged to avoid salmon protection rules

By Keith Ridler - Associated Press

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. Published August 10, 2017

Recent Stories

Brazil may place tariff on U.S. ethanol

- The Washington Times

U.S. ethanol champions are bracing for the possibility that Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, could soon land a devastating blow in what increasingly looks like an all-out global trade war over alternative fuels.

An international team of rowers aims to break several world records paddling across the Arctic Ocean. (Polar Row photograph)

'Polar Row' exploration team smashes world records in icy north

- The Washington Times

Besides achieving the fastest average rowing pace in the Arctic Ocean, the Polar Row crew was the largest to row across the Arctic and the first to row from south to north across it. They also reached the northernmost latitude by a rowboat in a proper ocean crossing and broke the world record speed for rowing across the whole Arctic Ocean.

In this July 25, 2005, file photo, a sage grouse is seen near Fallon, Nev. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says a new federal plan to protect the threatened sage grouse will better align with conservation efforts in 11 Western states where the bird lives. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

Zinke to relax Obama-era rules on sage grouse

- The Washington Times

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday announced the federal government will relax Obama-era rules designed to protect the imperiled sage grouse, saying the administration will offer states flexibility in how they choose to protect the bird and also will loosen restrictions on energy development in sage grouse habitat.

In this Jan. 13, 2010, file photo, two young wild horses play while grazing in Reno, Nev. Wild horse advocates say President Trump's new budget proposal would undermine protection of an icon of the American West in place for nearly a half century and could send up sending thousands of free-roaming mustangs to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico. (Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP) ** FILE **

Federal court orders restoration of 23,000 acres for wild horses

- The Washington Times

A federal appeals court has delivered a victory to wild horse enthusiasts, ordering the U.S. Forest Service to restore 23,000 acres of critical land as protected horse country in California — and showed judges taking an increasingly dim view of agencies' decision-making.

President Donald Trump meets with emergency officials to discuss the hurricane season, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington. At right is interim Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Trump bolsters FEMA: 'Amazing team'

- The Washington Times

President Trump visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters Friday and pledged a strong commitment to emergency preparation and response as the U.S. anticipates a busy hurricane season.

In this July 29, 2017, photo, corn farmer Jim Carlson of Silver Creek, Nebraska, waits to be interviewed by a television reporter while standing in front of solar panels he is building on his land in the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite new uncertainty over whether TransCanada, the builder of the Keystone XL pipeline will continue the project, longtime opponents in Nebraska aren't letting their guard down and neither are law enforcement officials who may have to react to protests if it wins approval. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Keystone XL survived politics but economics could kill it

- Associated Press

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline survived nine years of protests, lawsuits and political wrangling that saw the Obama administration reject it and President Donald Trump revive it, but now the project faces the possibility of death by economics.

Former Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, who started work this week as President Trump's chief of staff, signed waivers for three dozen laws, saying Congress has given his department exemptions when a critical border security mission is at stake. (Associated Press/File)

Trump takes on bald eagle to build border wall

- The Washington Times

The administration said Tuesday that it will have to waive federal law protecting bald and golden eagles as well as dozens of other iconic environmental and American Indian protection statutes in order to begin building President Trump's border wall in San Diego this year.

Electric cars and gas pains

Moral preening isn't pretty, and "greener than thou" is all the rage in Europe. Volvo says that starting in 2019 it will no longer manufacture gasoline-only cars, only electrics or gas-electric hybrids.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt hasn't said one way or the other whether he plans to pursue the endangerment finding, which provided the legal underpinning for much of the Obama administration's agenda inside the agency. (Associated Press/File)

EPA may lack oxygen to challenge Obama's greenhouse-gas endangerment finding

- The Washington Times

After dismantling a host of Obama-era regulations in its first six months, President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency has yet to begin what would be its toughest fight: reversing the agency's 2009 endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, a game-changing document that laid the foundation for many of the environmental and climate change regulations that followed.

Chart to accompany Moore article of July 31, 2017

Why coal is Number One

Quick: what was the number one source of electricity production in the U.S. during the first half of 2017? If you answered renewable energy, you are wrong by a mile. If you answered natural gas, you were wrong by a tiny amount.

Illustration on the economic benefits of bringing greater broadband access to rural America by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Taking broadband to the country

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced recently a broad, sustained, cooperative initiative among private industry and federal, state and local governments to extend broadband access ultimately to all Americans, focused in particular on rural America, where broadband has been most lagging. He discussed the issue at a Media Institute luncheon in Washington, D.C., on July 11.

The Capitol Dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2017. The Senate has been forced to put the republican's health care bill on hold for as much as two weeks until Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., can return from surgery. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Nominee for deputy Interior secretary violated disclosure laws, say green groups

- The Washington Times

Ahead of a contentious vote on his confirmation this week, David Bernhardt has become the latest target of environmentalists' ire, with green groups and other critics charging that the deputy Interior secretary nominee failed to disclose lobbying work he did on behalf of California's Westlands Water District while spearheading the Trump administration's transition team at the Interior Department.

Ethanol bill defeated in Senate

- The Washington Times

In a major defeat for the ethanol industry, senators of both parties joined forces late last week to sink a controversial bill that would've allowed gasoline with 15 percent ethanol to be sold year-round.

Illustration on Iraq/ Kudistan relations by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Negotiating an amicable split

Iraqi security forces with the support of coalition forces are finally getting close to defeating ISIS in Iraq, which begs an important question: What comes next? More to the point, what governmental structure would best protect the many ethnic groups that live there?

This is a Feb. 2017 image of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica made available by the Antarctic Survey on Wednesday July 12, 2017. A vast iceberg with twice the volume of Lake Erie has broken off from a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists said Wednesday. The iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, scientists at the University of Swansea in Britain said. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion U.S. tons). (British Antarctic Survey via AP)

Confronting the temperature taboo

The New York Times has discovered peril in the Arctic. "Explorers and fishermen find climate moderating about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic," the newspaper reports, and seal hunters and explorers who sail those icy seas "point to a radical change in climactic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth."

Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

America's 'best idea'

One hundred and 14 years ago, our great-great-grandfathers camped together for three nights in Yosemite National Park. Those nights in 1903 have been called "the camping trip that changed America."

Illustration on energy week by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Paving the path to U.S. energy dominance

This week, the Trump administration is hosting "Energy Week" to discuss with state, tribal, business and labor leaders how we can pave the path forward toward U.S. energy dominance.

Coal on the rise in China, U.S. and India after major 2016 drop

- Associated Press

The world's biggest coal users -- China, the United States and India -- have boosted coal mining in 2017, in an abrupt departure from last year's record global decline for the heavily polluting fuel and a setback to efforts to rein in climate change emissions.

Energy goals: Jobs, production, modern infrastructure -- and good environmental stewardship

American consumers deserve safe, secure and efficient energy that's affordable and meets the needs of the 21st century economy. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has already begun work on a pro-domestic energy policy that will improve our nation's energy infrastructure, create jobs and reduce energy bills, but much more needs to be done.

UA workers: Ready for 'epic' energy, infrastructure resurgence

The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters, Welders and HVAC Technicians (UA) is a multi-craft union that represents over 340,000 members in the United States and Canada. Our members are engaged in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems and many of them work at refineries, power-generating facilities and petrochemical plants.

Recent Opinion Columns

This Nov. 11, 2012, photo shows surfers on a broad, sandy beach near the NRG El Segundo power plant in El Segundo, Calif. A new study predicts that with limited human intervention, 31 percent to 67 percent of Southern California beaches could completely erode back to coastal infrastructure or sea cliffs by the year 2100, with sea-level rises of 3.3 feet (1 meter) to 6.5 feet (2 meters). The study released Monday, March 27, 2017, used a new computer model to predict shoreline effects caused by sea level rise and changes in storm patterns due to climate change. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

Bad news for climate change boondogglers

Predicting tomorrow's weather is often a crapshoot. Predicting the weather on a day a century from now is obviously throwing money away. Shoveling cash into schemes for regulating climate patterns generations far in the future is an investment in a fool's gold mine. President Trump vows that Americans won't be fooled again.

In this Feb. 1, 2012, file photo, miles of pipe ready to become part of the Keystone Pipeline are stacked in a field near Ripley, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Keystone moves on, slowly

The Keystone pipeline is inching slowly forward. After more than a decade of back-and-forth bickering between Republicans and Democrats, between business interests and radical environmentalists, the State Department of the Trump administration has finally given its permission, as required by law, to let the oil flow. TransCanada, the company that is building Keystone, praises the new president for clearing the stones, stumps and twigs remaining in the way.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on domestic and international human trafficking, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017,in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The comeback of coal

President Trump's boisterous press conferences sometimes cast a shadow over one of his most important achievements so far: his executive order suspending runaway Environmental Protection Agency rules that all but bankrupted the American coal industry. Three of America's largest coal companies declared Chapter 11 in recent years largely as a result of rules like the Clean Power Plant Act, a gift of Barack Obama.

Raytheon's re-engineered Patriot radar prototype uses two key technologies - active electronically scanned array, which changes the way the radar searches the sky; and gallium nitride circuitry, which uses energy efficiently to amplify the radar's high-power radio frequencies (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

Taxpayers on hook for 'clean' energy projects

When taxpayers lost more than a half-billion dollars on the failed solar manufacturer Solyndra, they were understandably upset. But Solyndra isn't the only corporate body in the graveyard of green bankruptcies. And more are surely on the way.

The Animas River flows with toxic waste from the Gold King Mine on Aug. 8, 2015, as seen from the 32nd Street Bridge in Durango, Colo., as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train goes by. (Associated Press) **FILE**

EPA's toxic adventure

Imagine an agency charged with protecting the environment, aptly named the Environmental Protection Agency. Because, you see, we need to protect the environment, and we need a government cudgel with which to do it.

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.

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.

From The Vault

Former US President waves before he is awarded the German Media Prize 2016 in Baden-Baden, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Obama lashes at Trump as climate legacy slips away

- The Washington Times

A frustrated former President Obama chided President Trump Thursday for canceling U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement, and insisted the rest of the world is still headed toward lower greenhouse gas emissions even without American leadership.

In this May 4, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump talks to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington after the House pushed through a health care bill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The promise to keep

President Trump usually prefers to blaze his own path through the thicket of global diplomacy — "globaloney" a wit once called it -- much to the dismay of the scented-handkerchief crowd. He softened his skepticism of NATO, and that's a good thing, and postponed a final decision on whether to keep his promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris treaty on global warming. He wanted to keep the good feelings intact at the G-7 summit.

Trump's Coal Comeback Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

King Coal's big comeback

Buried in an otherwise humdrum jobs report for March was the jaw-dropping pronouncement by the Labor Department that mining jobs in America were up by 11,000 in March. Since the low point in October 2016 and following years of painful layoffs in the mining industry, the mining sector has added 35,000 jobs.

Unleashing American energy

President Trump has nullified many of Barack Obama's climate change fantasies and the sky is still up there. But judging by the uproar from voices in the climate change industry, only an unexpected miracle is keeping the firmament in place. As cooler heads keep an eye on the thermometer in the months and years to come, America can balance legitimate concerns about pollution against the necessity of exploiting affordable energy.