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.
Energy & Environment
The latest updates on energy and environment news, analysis and opinion covering energy policy and its impact on resources and climate.
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
In Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: Finding out how many people were killed in Hurricane Michael.
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.
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.
Top Trump administration officials now say they're prepared to enlist the U.S. military in a new mission to help move American coal and natural gas to key markets in Asia, an end-run around political and environmental roadblocks in the West that critics denounced as "harebrained" and a "Putin-like move."
President Trump's tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.
What will it take to keep the planet habitable? According to some eco-warriors, all that's necessary is to end capitalism — the one economic system that has lifted billions from poverty and suffering.
President Trump arrived Monday in Florida to survey recovery effort in communities devastated by Hurricane Michael, commending Florida Gov. Rick Scott for the state's response.
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.
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.
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.
With unprecedented U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil industry set to kick in next month, the Treasury Department is warning the rest of the world to beware of dodgy money fleeing the Islamic Republic.
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.
Aiming to break Russia's "energy stranglehold on Europe" and the Kremlin propaganda efforts it fuels, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a proposal to fund $1 billion worth of energy projects across the continent.
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.
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.
Limited access to healthy food continues to affect urban communities across the U.S., including the City of Henderson, Nevada, where I am privileged to serve as mayor.
Supercharged by abnormally warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday with potentially catastrophic winds of 155 mph, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S. mainland.
Torrential rainstorms that caused flash flooding of water and mud on the Spanish island of Mallorca killed at least nine people, authorities said on Wednesday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Trump on Monday said he would end the summer ban on high ethanol blends of gasoline, keeping his promise to farmers to boost biofuels.
It is by the forced goodwill of electricity customers in Georgia that federal taxpayers aren't yet paying for another Solyndra -- of nuclear proportions.
Former Vice President Al Gore warned that "time is running out" after the release of a U.N. special report that gives the world 12 years to head off climate calamity by radically transforming "all aspects of society."
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is going to be in southwestern Montana, where he's expected to sign off on a plan to block new mining claims on public lands near Yellowstone National Park.
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.
Two American researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize for economics for studying the interplay of climate change and technological innovation with economics.
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 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.
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.
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.
As Tehran braces for the Trump administration to reimpose harsh sanctions on its energy sector, Iran's leading oil official on Monday said the Islamic Republic has no plans to cut production and could soon start selling oil on its stock market.
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.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leaders doubled down on an Obama-era program that made hiring of minorities and women a top priority, and managers are raising red flags about the resulting staffing problems at the more than 500 wildlife refuges across the country.
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.
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.
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation that would provide $1.7 billion to help residents of the Carolinas and elsewhere recover from recent natural disasters.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued Tuesday that residents are leaving the state in search of warmer weather, not for better economic opportunities.
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.
President Trump said Monday that statehood for Puerto Rico is an "absolute no" as long as critics, such as the mayor of San Juan, are in office.
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.
A Michigan utility has unveiled a new battery to store renewable energy at Western Michigan University.
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.
President Trump demanded Thursday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries immediately work to lower oil prices.
The White House is knuckling down on efforts to convince the world to stop all purchases of Iranian oil by early November, according to the Trump administration's top Iran strategist, who says the hope is that a new era of U.S.-led economic isolation will force Tehran back to the negotiating table with Washington.
The Trump administration toppled another pillar of President Obama's climate change legacy, reining in the "flawed" rule designed to tighten restrictions on methane leaks from drilling operations on federal lands.
In anticipation of new U.S. sanctions against Tehran, Sri Lankan energy officials said Tuesday the South Asian nation has stopped importing Iranian crude oil.
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.
More than 30 people have died and thousands have been rescued from floodwaters in the Carolinas that have isolated towns and disrupted medical services.
Even before Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in North Carolina, Mr. Trump was being decried on the left for exacerbating storm activity, a superpower attributed to his enthusiastic support for fossil fuels and dismantling of Obama-era climate regulations.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott was confronted by dozens of protesters during a southwest Florida campaign stop. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that protesters upset with the state's ongoing red tide outbreak jammed the sidewalk outside a restaurant that Scott visited.
A leading Iranian energy official recently accused Russia and Saudi Arabia of taking the world's crude oil market "hostage" in reaction to the Trump administration's effort to kill Tehran's oil exports.
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.
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.
Beatles singer-songwriter Paul McCartney has revealed that the "mad captain" in a song about climate change from his newly released solo album refers to President Trump.
Hundreds of evacuees from Hurricane Florence, many of them with children and pets, made their way through the Smoky Mountains this weekend to a Christian summer camp, relieved to find shelter from the deadly storm.
Another climate-change claim by former Vice President Al Gore is coming under fire, this one involving Hurricane Florence.
Liberals love to talk about helping the poor and the middle class and they are obsessed with reducing income inequality. So why is it that across the country they are pushing one of the most regressive taxes in modern times?
Recent Opinion Columns
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Our nation's aging infrastructure is in significant need of investment and care if we want to ensure a secure future for coming generations.
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.
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.
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
Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, ending a rocky 15-month tenure after fulfilling a number of top conservative goals while battling myriad scandals over his personal behavior in office.
"Please sir, I want some more," is no longer a sentiment just for Oliver Twist in the orphanage. A new law in California limits how much water can be used by each household. Now their showers, how many flushes, and how often they can do their laundry will be under the watchful eye of the state government.
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.
Bismarck is reported to have said, "there is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America."
Coastal municipalities like New York City and San Francisco suing oil companies over rising sea levels gained an unexpected ally Tuesday with Boulder County, which is about 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean.
The small island-nation of Bahrain says its largest ever discovery of oil amounts to an estimated 80 billion barrels.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday formally scrapped a key piece of the Obama administration's fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks, throwing the future of the program into doubt.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday that he plans to take big oil companies to court for "knowingly killing people all over the world."
China Energy, the world's leading power company, announced Thursday it plans to spend more than $83 billion on shale gas and chemical projects in West Virginia, a deal that represents a massive foreign investment in American energy.
The Trump administration is putting more than 76 million acres of federal water up for lease in the largest offshore drilling initiative in American history.
Scott Pruitt announced Monday that the Trump administration would roll back Obama era regulation on coal-fired power plants.
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.
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.
The White House's plan to revive a nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain has pushed President Trump into an all-out war with Las Vegas, as powerful casino owners and city economic leaders vow to fight the administration tooth and nail over the proposal.
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.