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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.

FILE - This June 1, 2014, file photo show the coal-fired Plant Scherer in operation in Juliette, Ga. Despite what President Donald Trump says, scientists have long known that what's warming the planet isn't natural. It's us. Climate scientists say Trump was wrong. There are several ways they know that more than 90 percent of climate change is caused by emissions of heat-trapping gases from activities like burning coal and natural gas for electricity, or burning gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for transportation. In other words, humans. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

EPA cheers decline in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions under Trump administration

By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that reported U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions declined by 2.7 percent in 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency, in what was described as a win-win for the environment and the economy. Published October 17, 2018

Recent Stories

In this Oct. 30, 2017, file photo, Cristian Rodriguez fuels his vehicle in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Emails show California agency's cozy ties to gas tax backers

- Associated Press

As the political battle to overturn California's gas tax increase intensified, the state transportation agency coordinated frequently with the public affairs firm working to block the repeal on behalf of unions, construction companies and local government groups, emails obtained by The Associated Press show.

Illustration on the U.N. report on climate change by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Why U.N. climate report cannot be trusted

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released "Global Warming of 1.5 C," dubbed SR15, an IPCC special report last week, claiming that, unless governments virtually eliminate human production of carbon dioxide (CO2), we are headed toward a climate catastrophe.

Turkish police officers enter the Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are conducting a joint "inspection" on Monday of the consulate, where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing nearly two weeks ago, Turkish authorities said.v(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Jamal Khashoggi crisis threatens U.S. access to Saudi oil at critical time

- The Washington Times

While investigators in Turkey searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul seeking clues to the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was heading to Riyadh seeking answers of his own, the bigger question for the Trump administration was how to manage an incident that could irrevocably tarnish a critical ally at a critical time.

In this April 4, 2013, file photo, a mining dumper truck hauls coal at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek strip mine near Decker, Mont. The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

U.S. eyes military bases for coal, gas exports

- Associated Press

The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia as officials seek to bolster the domestic energy industry and circumvent environmental opposition to fossil fuel exports, according to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and two Republican lawmakers.

This photo provided by Stephane Jourdain, after a torrent of water ripped out the bridge in Villegailhenc, southern France, Monday Oct. 15, 2018. Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday. (AP Photo/Stephane Jourdain)

France: 12 die in floods unseen in more than a century

- Associated Press

Flash floods that tore through several towns in southwest France following an overnight storm killed at least 12 people, authorities said Monday. Some residents had to be helicoptered from rooftops as the equivalent of several months of rain poured down in a few hours and turned waterways into raging torrents.

In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)

Death toll rises to 6 in wake of Hurricane Michael's rampage

- Associated Press

Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs. Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 155 mph winds.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Erie Insurance Arena, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Erie, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump signs law to curb foreign ocean dumping

- The Washington Times

In a rare display of bipartisanship, President Trump signed legislation Thursday to reduce ocean waste dumped by other countries, and to authorize more money for coastal cleanup in the U.S.

A man inspects the wreckage of vehicles inside a building at the tsunami-ravaged area in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Central Sulawesi province on Sept. 28, triggering a tsunami and mudslides that killed a large number of people and displaced tens of thousands of others. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Indonesia's grim search for disaster dead nears its end

- Associated Press

Indonesia's search for victims buried in neighborhoods annihilated by an earthquake and tsunami is nearing its end almost two weeks after the double disasters hit the remote city of Palu in central Sulawesi.

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Michael charges into Southeast after slamming north Florida

- Associated Press

The most powerful hurricane on record to hit Florida's Panhandle left wide destruction and at least two people dead and wasn't nearly finished Thursday as it crossed Georgia, now as a tropical storm, toward the Carolinas, that are still reeling from epic flooding by Hurricane Florence.

This Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico. (NOAA via AP)

Hurricane Michael slams into Florida Panhandle

- Associated Press

Michael roared down on the Florida Panhandle strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday before it crashes against the region's white-sand beaches, fishing villages and coastal communities later in the day.

This Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, released by an official website of the Office of the Iranian Presidency, shows a part of the Pardis petrochemical complex facilities in Assalouyeh on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, Iran. Bijan Zanganeh, Iran's oil minister, said the United States will not succeed in its plans to halt Iranian crude exports even as he acknowledged that South Korea has stopped buying oil from Tehran, Iranian media reported on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP, File)

India to buy Iran oil, defy U.S. sanctions

- The Washington Times

Defying the Trump administration's warning for countries to completely stop buying Iranian oil, two Indian firms have placed orders to import crude from the Islamic Republic, India's minister of petroleum and natural gas announced.

Bobby Smith boards up the windows at Jani's Ceramics in Panama City, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Michael. (Patti Blake/News Herald via AP)

Hurricane Michael gains strength, closes in on Florida Panhandle

- Associated Press

An estimated 120,000 people along the Florida Panhandle were ordered to clear out on Tuesday as Hurricane Michael rapidly picked up steam in the Gulf of Mexico and closed in with winds of 110 mph and a potential storm surge of 12 feet.

Illustration on the benefits of agicultural progress by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

American farmers, the unsung environmentalists

One of the biggest conversations about modern farming has to do with its impact on the environment. Ever since our ancestors began domesticating plants some 10,000 years ago, the entire course of history was forever changed — for humans, animals and, of course, the environment.

A woman sits on a pile of rubble in an area devastated by an earthquake in the Balaroa neighborhood of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Aid has begun pouring into central Indonesia's Sulawesi island and humanitarian workers are fanning out across its countryside, more than a week after parts of the island were devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Confirmed deaths near 2,000, still more likely in Indonesia

- Associated Press

The death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami on Indonesia's Sulawesi island neared 2,000 on Monday, but thousands more are believed unaccounted for and officials said search teams plan to stop looking for victims later this week.

In this Jan. 29, 2010, file photo, then Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Senior Fellow Paul Romer attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Two researchers at American universities have been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Economics. Yale University's William Nordhaus was named for integrating climate change into long term macroeconomic analysis and New York University's Paul Romer was awarded for factoring technological innovation into macroeconomics. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

2 American researchers win Nobel economics prize

- Associated Press

Two American researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize for economics for studying the interplay of climate change and technological innovation with economics.

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, lower right, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, at 6:52 p.m. Eastern Time. (NOAA via AP)

Michael strengthens into a hurricane, menaces Florida

- Associated Press

A tropical weather system rapidly strengthened into Hurricane Michael off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and forecasters said it was moving Monday into the Gulf of Mexico where warm waters would continue to fuel its development.

A worker sits on his wheelbarrow while waiting for customers in downtown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) ** FILE **

Magnitude 5.9 quake shakes northern Haiti

Associated Press

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook northwestern Haiti late Saturday, damaging homes, a church and at least one hospital. Officials reported that people had been injured, but had not confirmed local media reports of deaths.

Government Land Grab Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

When resettling the dusky gopher frog harms landowners

It's a question that most Americans will never wrestle with: What if the federal government declared your privately held property off limits to you? This is exactly what has happened to landowners in Southeast Louisiana after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated more than 1,500 acres of private land as so-called "critical habitat" for the dusky gopher frog.

A man carry items he saved from the rubble following a major earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. A mass burial of earthquake and tsunami victims was being prepared in a hard-hit city Monday as the need for heavy equipment to dig for survivors of the disaster that struck a central Indonesian island three days ago grows desperate.(AP Photo/Rifki)

Desperation explodes to anger as Indonesia quake toll rises beyond 1,200

- Associated Press

Desperation exploded into anger four days after an earthquake and tsunami decimated parts of the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, leaving hungry residents grabbing food from damaged stores on Tuesday and begging the president for help. The confirmed toll exceeded 1,200 dead with hundreds severely injured and still more trapped in debris.

Rescuers evacuate an earthquake survivor by a damaged house following earthquakes and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Rescuers were scrambling Sunday to try to find trapped victims in collapsed buildings where voices could be heard screaming for help after a massive earthquake in Indonesia spawned a deadly tsunami two days ago. (AP Photo/Arimacs Wilander)

Hard-hit Indonesian city buries its dead as toll tops 840

- Associated Press

Brightly colored body bags were placed side-by-side in a freshly dug mass grave Monday, as a hard-hit Indonesian city began burying its dead from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 840 people and left thousands homeless.

Indonesian men walk past the wreckage of a car following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. A tsunami swept away buildings and killed large number of people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dumping victims caught in its relentless path across a devastated landscape that rescuers were struggling to reach Saturday, hindered by damaged roads and broken communications. (AP Photo/Rifki)

Indonesia tsunami toll tops 400 amid search for survivors

- Associated Press

Rescuers were scrambling Sunday to try to find trapped victims in collapsed buildings where voices could be heard screaming for help after a massive earthquake in Indonesia spawned a deadly tsunami two days ago that has left at least 400 dead.

Two men try to secure boats due to bad weather at the port of Rafina, east of Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Severe weather warnings remain in effect around Greece, halting ferry services and prompting school closures. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Cyclone warning as gale-force winds batter Greece

- Associated Press

Greece's civil protection services went on alert Thursday as the country braced for the threat of a cyclone, forest fires prompted evacuations on an island and an earthquake rattled the south of the country.

Shawn Lowrimore, son of Pastor Willie Lowrimore of The Fellowship With Jesus Ministries, wades into water near the church in Yauhannah, S.C., on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. The church is on the bank of the Waccamaw River, which has already risen above its record crest and is expected to keep rising for several days, forcing thousands of evacuations in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. (AP Photo/Jeffrey S. Collins)

After the hurricane comes the deluge on South Carolina coast

- Associated Press

Eleven days ago, Lee Gantt was at a Hurricane Florence party in her neighborhood in Georgetown, where the story goes that some houses haven't flooded from the Sampit River since they were built before the American Revolution.

Maura Walbourne sits in the front of a canoe looking in at her flooded Long Avenue home as David Covington wades through the wreckage in Conway, S.C. Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 The Sherwood Drive area of Conway began to look like a lake on Sunday as homes were submerged deeper than ever in flood waters that have already set historic records.  (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

Florence: Evacuations continue as North Carolina rivers rise

- Associated Press

Hurricane Florence is by no means done with the Carolinas, where some rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.

Double, double, toil and trouble

A piece of land in Louisiana has been designated by the federal government as a critical habitat for a rare frog, although the dusky gopher frog does not live there, and never has. Nevertheless, frog trouble might be ahead for human people who do.

In this May 13, 2015, file photo, Google's self-driving Lexus car drives along street during a demonstration at Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Google's new pollution police, coming to patrol near you

- The Washington Times

Google's Street View fleet of cars is being outfitted with updated pollution-recording devices to patrol streets in Europe and in the United States, and monitor fluctuating levels of air quality. Make way for the patrolling pollution police -- bringing regulations and new compliance costs to a neighborhood near you.

A miner waits for news as the search continues for victims believed to be buried in a landslide caused by Typhoon Mangkhut in Itogon, Benguet province, northern Philippines on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said that at the height of the typhoon's onslaught Saturday afternoon, dozens of people, mostly miners and their families, rushed into an old three-story building in the village of Ucab. The building, a former mining bunkhouse that had been transformed into a chapel, was obliterated when part of a mountain slope collapsed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Hope fades in Philippines for dozens trapped in landslides

- Associated Press

A Philippine mayor said Monday that it's unlikely any of the dozens of people thought buried in a huge landslide set off by Typhoon Mangkhut will be found alive, though rescuers were still digging through the massive mound of mud and debris covering a chapel where they had sheltered.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate the town of Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Swollen rivers near record levels as Florence looms

- Associated Press

With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to the city of nearly 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.

Recent Opinion Columns

Illustration on the unknowns of environmental funding by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Dark green money

In his review of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," environmental writer Bill McKibben condemns moguls such as the Koch brothers for hiding "their contributions through outfits like DonorsTrust." In other words, according to Mr. McKibben, DonorsTrust, which is "committed to the principles of limited government, personal responsibility and free enterprise," is a conservative dark money conduit.

Chart to accompany Moore article of June 18, 2018.

Fake support for a free market in energy

All of a sudden everyone on the left wants "free markets in energy policy." As someone who's advocated for that for, oh, about three decades (let's start by shutting down the Energy Department), this riff should be music to my ears. But is laissez faire energy policy really what liberals are seeking?

Russian Money Funneled to the Democrats Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Taking aim at the real polluters

Two of the world's biggest polluters are China and Russia. You would think that U.S. environmental groups would be major critics of these countries; yet, the reality is some take money from entities controlled by these governments and disseminate their propaganda.

Illustration on ethanol legislation by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

An outdated mandate that drives up gasoline prices

Only in Washington do we call expanding a program "reform" and more special-interest handouts "fixes." That's precisely what's happening with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — an outdated ethanol mandate that drives up gasoline prices and puts refiners out of business.

Energy infrastructure: Ensuring reliability, resiliency

President Trump recently announced the framework for his infrastructure plan and I applaud him for not only recognizing the need to improve all facets of our nation's infrastructure but for also demonstrating the leadership needed to push forward this major initiative.

Making a historic investment in public lands infrastructure

World-class infrastructure is the pride of a prosperous nation. America is the greatest country this world has ever known — she deserves the greatest infrastructure. Unfortunately, our roads, bridges and tunnels have been neglected due to years of inaction. Our public lands have suffered a similar fate. As secretary of the Interior and chief steward of our public lands, I inherited a maintenance backlog of more than $11 billion in our national parks alone.

The International Energy Agency forecast that the U.S. would become the world's largest energy producer this year and that U.S. production could increase 25 percent by 2025, reaching 30 million barrels of oil and gas a day. (Associated Press/File)

Energy-dominant U.S. will transform global landscape

I had an argument recently with a woman in Moscow over American energy production. She simply did not believe that the United States has become the largest energy producer in the world -- which marks a real shock to the ordinary Russian's self-image.

In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the water intake crib for the city of Toledo, Ohio, is surrounded by an algae bloom on Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Advocacy groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over toxic algae in Lake Erie, threatening drinking water in Ohio and Michigan, say the agency's response in court documents filed in October 2017 bolsters their argument that not enough is being done to protect the lake. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

Burying 'sue and settle'

Whether you consider yourself pro-regulation, anti-regulation or something in between, chances are you're in favor of clear, open rules. Whatever the policy a particular government agency is following, it should be transparent to all, right?

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.

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.

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.

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.

From The Vault

Protecting the Power Grid Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A secure energy grid starts with copper

It's not hard to imagine the role that energy plays in our daily lives — in fact it becomes immediately apparent when we experience even a brief power outage in our home or workplace. Quite simply, it stops us in our tracks.

Gas-Guzzling SUVs Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

America's squandered oil wealth

Bismarck is reported to have said, "there is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America."

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.

'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.

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.