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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 photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP) ** FILE **

Trump administration pressure on Tehran forces Iran to start selling discounted oil

By Dan Boylan - The Washington Times

The battle of wills between Tehran and the Trump administration intensified Monday, as Iranian officials privately admitted they will soon sell discounted oil and gas to Asian customers as they brace for the return of U.S. sanctions. Published August 13, 2018

Recent Stories

In this Oct. 19, 2017, file photo, homes stand covered with FEMA tarps in the Cantera area, as the banking zone stands in the background in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)

FEMA says it didn't treat Puerto Ricans differently

- Associated Press

FEMA says it didn't handle housing vouchers for displaced residents of Puerto Rico any differently from those of displaced Texas and Florida residents after last year's hurricanes.

In this Aug. 1, 2018, photo, Lauren Woehr hands her 16-month-old daughter Caroline, held by her husband Dan McDowell, a cup filled with bottled water at their home in Horsham, Pa. In Horsham and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Toxics from manufacturing turn up in public water systems

- Associated Press

Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.

Emergency workers recover a body from the Jamiul Jamaah Mosque after it collapsed during an earthquake in Bangsal, North Lombok, Indonesia, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. The north of Lombok was devastated by the powerful quake that struck Sunday night, damaging thousands of buildings and killing a large number of people. Rescuers were still struggling to reach all of the affected areas and authorities expect the death toll to rise. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Indonesia quake deaths top 130, aid effort intensifies

- Associated Press

Aid began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after an earthquake killed at least 131 people as rescuers intensified efforts Wednesday to find those buried in the rubble.

Evacuees from Lucerne, from left, Ken Bennett with Ember Reynolds, 8, and Lisa Reynolds watch the sunset as smoke from the Ranch Fire rises into the sky at Austin Park Beach in California's Clearlake with Mount Konocti in the background. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)

Battling 18 blazes, California may face worst fire season

Associated Press

The largest wildfire ever recorded in California needed just 11 days to blacken an area nearly the size of Los Angeles -- and it's only one of many enormous blazes that could make this the worst fire season in state history.

In this Tuesday, July 31, 2018, file photo, a firefighter runs while trying to save a home as a wildfire tears through Lakeport, Calif. The residence eventually burned. Authorities say a rapidly expanding Northern California wildfire burning over an area the size of Los Angeles has become the state's largest blaze in recorded history. It's the second year in a row that California has recorded the state's largest wildfire. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Largest wildfire in California history still growing

Associated Press

Wildfires tearing through trees and brush, rampaging up hillsides and incinerating neighborhoods: The place-names change but the devastation is showing signs of becoming the new normal in California.

A resident inspects a mosque damaged by an earthquake in North Lombok, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. Thousands left homeless by the powerful quake that ruptured roads and flattened buildings on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok sheltered Monday night in makeshift tents as authorities said rescuers hadn't yet reached all devastated areas. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Man saved from quake-flattened mosque on Indonesia island

- Associated Press

Soldiers have pulled a man alive from the rubble of a large mosque flattened by an earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok, while thousands of homeless locals waited for aid Tuesday and stranded tourists camped at beaches and in the lobbies of damaged hotels.

Illustration on eating endangered species by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

'Eat endangered species'

Why are bison no longer endangered? There are an estimated 5,000 bison in Yellowstone National Park owned by the government. An estimated almost 100 times as many, from 300,000 to 500,000, are in herds that are privately owned.

Indonesian men inspect buildings damaged by an earthquake in Sembalun, on Lombok Island, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb. (AP Photo/Adrial Pranandi)

At least 98 dead after quake slams Indonesian island

- Associated Press

A powerful earthquake flattened houses and toppled bridges on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 98 people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities said Monday that rescuers still hadn't reached some devastated areas and the death toll would climb.

Illustration on flood insurance by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The impacts and costs of flooding

In an era of increasingly intense and frequent severe weather, tens of millions of Americans are all too familiar with the impacts and costs of flooding.

Iranian navy speed boats attend a drill in the sea of Oman, on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011.  Iran's navy chief has reiterated for a second time in less than a week that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world's oil flows.  (AP Photo/IIPA, Ali Mohammadi)

Iran displays navy's ability to choke off Gulf oil flow

- The Washington Times

Iran's navy sent dozens of small boats into the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, dramatizing its ability to choke off the strategic Persian Gulf waterway -- a move that could send global oil and U.S. gasoline prices soaring -- and escalating the confrontation with the Trump administration for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Flames consume a home as the River Fire tears though Lakeport, Calif., on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Wildfires scorching homes, land -- and California's budget

- Associated Press

Just a month into the budget year, the state has already spent more than one-quarter of its annual fire budget, at least $125 million, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler said Wednesday.

Debris washed into Maryland waters from record rainfall accumulates around a sailboat in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he will raise the issue of upstream states failing to take responsibility for pollution pouring into the Chesapeake Bay at a meeting next week of representatives from six states in the bay's watershed. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Maryland officials criticize upstream states for bay debris

- Associated Press

After a week of heavy rain, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a message for states upstream of the Chesapeake Bay: Step up and take responsibility for the sediment and debris pouring into the nation's largest estuary.

An air tanker passes behind a smoke plume while battling the River Fire in Lakeport, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. A pair of wildfires that prompted evacuation orders for thousands of people are barreling toward small lake towns in Northern California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Twin wildfires threatening 10,000 California homes

- Associated Press

Twin wildfires tearing through vineyards and brushy hills threatened some 10,000 homes in Northern California Tuesday -- yet another front in the seemingly endless summer of wildfires that have ravaged some of the most scenic areas of the state.

Fatal wildfire rips through California towns; residents flee

- Associated Press

An explosive wildfire tore through two small Northern California communities Thursday before reaching the city of Redding, killing a bulldozer operator on the fire lines, burning three firefighters, destroying dozens of homes and forcing thousands of terrified residents to flee.

Smoke from the Cranston Fire clouds the skies over Highway 243, south of Idyllwild, Calif., Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Authorities ordered residents to leave Idyllwild, home to about 12,000 people, and surrounding forest communities in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles. (Richard Lui/The Desert Sun via AP )

Arson wildfire forces entire California town to evacuate

- Associated Press

A fast-moving wildfire -- believed to have been sparked by arson -- tore through trees, burned five homes and forced evacuation orders for an entire forest town as California sweltered under a heat wave and battled ferocious fires at both ends of the state.

People stand amid the charred remains of burned-out cars in Mati east of Athens, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Twin wildfires raging through popular seaside areas near the Greek capital have torched homes, cars and forests and killed at least 49 people, authorities said Tuesday, raising the death toll after rescue crews reported finding the bodies of more than 20 people huddled together near a beach. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greek wildfires kill 74 -- the deadliest season in decades

- Associated Press

Wildfires raging through seaside resorts near the Greek capital torched homes, cars and forests, killing at least 74 people, authorities said Tuesday. Twenty-six of the dead were groups of families or friends found huddled together, some of them clasp in hugs. Others swam out to sea to escape the inferno and some never came back.

A man wipes the sweat from his face in the scorching heat at a business district in Tokyo, Monday, July 23, 2018. Searing hot temperatures are forecast for wide swaths of Japan and South Korea in a long-running heat wave. The mercury is expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday in the city of Nagoya in central Japan and reach 37 in Tokyo. Deaths have been reported almost every day. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Record high in Japan as heat wave grips the region

- Associated Press

Japan recorded its highest temperature ever Monday as a deadly heat wave continued to grip a wide swath of the country and nearby South and North Korea.

Bloom Energy's bumpy future

Bloom Energy plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange in late July. For a green energy start-up backed by the big Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Bloom has had a bumpy 16 years reaching this milestone. The financial and energy media have covered Bloom's self-inflicted controversies, which are hardly over.

This photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows damage to the roof of a tour boat after an explosion sent lava flying through the roof off the Big Island of Hawaii Monday, July 16, 2018, injuring at least 23 people. The lava came from the Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting from a rural residential area since early May. (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP)

Hawaii volcano boat tours continue after lava injuries

- Associated Press

Hawaii tour boat operators plan to continue taking visitors to see lava, but will follow the Coast Guard's revised policy and stay farther away after an explosion caused molten rock to barrel through the roof of a vessel, injuring 23 people.

Rescuers remove the debris to clear an area hit by a mudslide caused by heavy rains in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga)

Many out of power, water in flood-hit Japan; over 150 dead

- Associated Press

Akira Tanimoto says his apartment narrowly survived the floods and mudslide at his residential complex over the weekend, and even if he wants to go back there with his wife and two pet birds, he can't because there is no water, power or food available.

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.