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Russia writes off 90 per cent of North Korean debt, expected to build gas pipeline

ABC Radio Australia -- Russia's parliament has agreed to write off about $10 billion of North Korea's Soviet-era debt, in a deal expected to facilitate the building of a gas pipeline to South Korea across the reclusive state.

The State Duma lower house in Moscow on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to excuse the bulk of North Korea's debt.

It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of September 17, 2012.

The rest of the debt - $1.09 billion - would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal instalments every six months.

The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank Vnesheconombank.

Russia's deputy finance minister Sergei Storchak told Russian media that the money could be used to fund mutually beneficial projects in North Korea, including...  (go to article)

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Methane gas from waste is used to generate electricity

Detroit Free Press -- Pete Nichols keeps a close eye on a vast engine of sorts — one that runs on the trash discarded from homes throughout the Lansing area.

One of five operators at the Granger landfill in DeWitt Township, Nichols oversees a vast network of underground pipes that serve as a fuel line for this engine — a line that captures methane gas from waste and sends it to an adjacent generating station.

There, it powers seven large generators that can produce electricity for 10,000 homes in the Lansing area.

“I’m a very, very happy man,” Nichols said recently after reviewing computer readouts showing optimal methane levels at the station that day.

For electric utilities, green energy is more than a buzzword. It’s a state mandate, and it represents much of the recent and future growth in energy...  (go to article)

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Red-light cameras still reducing crashes

Delaware Online -- Delaware's red-light cameras continue to reduce the frequency of dangerous crashes at 30 intersections statewide, even as they net fewer dollars than in previous years, according to the annual report on the state's program.

The Delaware Department of Transportation's monitoring program generated 39,068 red-light-running citations and roughly $4 million in 2013. After expenses – including sending a collection agency after delinquent violators – the program netted just under $900,000.

DelDOT has seen an average 29 percent drop in red-light-running crashes since monitoring began and an average 47 percent drop in the most severe type of crashes where the impact occurs at an angle.

The total number of crashes at the intersections remains unchanged, in part due to an increase in rear-end cras  (go to article)

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Sahara Forest Project Grows Food, And Biofuel

Clean Technica -- We’ve been following the Sahara Forest Project in Qatar since 2008, but somehow we missed an interesting connection with the US Department of Energy. The connection is the Energy Department’s Algae Biomass Consortium, of which the Sahara Forest Project is a member. That brings into focus how both of these oil-rich countries are beginning to develop transitional economic models that prepare for a future in which their domestic petroleum reserves become less competitive in global energy markets.

We had a chance to speak with Dr. Virginia Corless, Science and Development Manager of The Sahara Forest Project, earlier this month at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, and she helped us tease out some of the implications of that transition.

To clarify, although the pilot and R&D facility  (go to article)

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Keystone Review Delay Draws Angry Reaction From Backers

Bloomberg -- The Obama administration’s announcement yesterday that it was delaying a ruling on the Keystone XL oil pipeline drew an angry reaction from supporters of the $5.4 billion project, including some who said it was designed to push the issue beyond the November election.

“This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said in a statement that called the move “nothing short of an indefinite delay.”

Opponents of the pipeline applauded the move, saying TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed link between Canada’s oil sands and U.S. Gulf Coast refineries would worsen global warming.

The delay could push until after the November midterm elections an issue that pits President Barack Obama’s ...  (go to article)

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Will Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Be A Success And Be Sold In 2015?

Forbes -- It’s a gimmick and it’s going to fail.

Toyota keeps telling the world, “this is like the Prius, people made fun of that too!”

Where “here” was a super generous description as the yellow flags don’t exist yet and the orange ones are private stations. The green ones are real.

So even though the range of the vehicle will easily eclipse, say, the Tesla Model S, one of those vehicles can comfortably be driven between San Francisco and Los Angeles. And it’s not the Toyota.

If the Toyota FCV was able to say as an odd, but much-more-convenient Nissan Leaf competitor, it might have a chance. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost about twice as much and offer only some unique attributes. For example, the Leaf won’t do a day trip from Palo Alto to Napa; the FCV would. And if things go funky, you can  (go to article)

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Chevrolet Reveals the Latest Generation of Autobots [Photo Gallery]

AutoEvolution -- The General Motors subsidiary once again teamed up with director Michael Bay by providing a new generation of four-wheel Autobots for the upcoming "Transformers: Age of Extinction" movie.

The fourth installment of the saga will come to a theatre near you at the end of June, and will feature all sorts of Chevrolets sold around the world.

“The Transformers movies have been a great partnership for Chevrolet by allowing us to introduce our vehicles to new fans, young and old, around the world,” said Tim Mahoney, Chevrolet's chief marketing officer. “Now for the fourth time, you’ll see a Camaro as a heroic Autobot, a fitting role for one of the stars of Chevrolet’s lineup.”

For this latest film, GM's automotive stars will once again convert to Autobots in order to defeat the menacing Decepti  (go to article)

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How the Mustang Evolved in the Last 50 Years [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Yesterday, the original pony car turned 50 years old since it was first unveiled at the 1964 New York World Fair. To celebrate this grand feat, the Blue Oval displayed 95 examples of the breed (including the all-new 2015 model) in front of the Unishpere at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NYC.

“Standing where my grandfather, Henry Ford II, stood to reveal Mustang five decades ago is both humbling and inspiring – especially since we are launching the next 50 years of Mustang at Ford Motor Company,” said Ford Vice President Elena Ford. “Since then, Mustang has become the heart and soul of Ford Motor Company, and a symbol of my great-great-grandfather Henry Ford’s vision of putting the world on wheels.”

By the end of the day it was introduced back in 1964, more than 22,000 World Fair  (go to article)

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Fiat Chrysler strikes deal to produce Jeeps in China

yahoo News - Reuters -- MILAN (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler has reached an agreement to start producing Jeep vehicles in China with partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co <601238.SS>, the companies said on Saturday, as Fiat tries to catch up with competitors in a fast-growing market.

The plan to produce three new Jeep vehicles in China for the domestic market, through the GAC Fiat joint venture, has received the necessary government approvals, the companies said.

Production is expected to begin by late 2015.
 (go to article)

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EPA acknowledges ethanol damages engines

American Motorcyclist Association -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has publicly acknowledged that ethanol in gasoline can damage internal combustion engines by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures.

Yet, even with this knowledge, the Federal Trade Commission is recommending more labeling at the gas pump as its solution to the problem.

The American Motorcyclist Association believes that is not enough.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a rule proposal to provide requirements for rating and certifying ethanol blends and requirements for labeling blends of more than 10 percent ethanol.

But this rule exempts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s E15-approved label.

...  (go to article)

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Labor shortage threatens to bust shale book

Fuel Fix -- How high is demand for welders to work in the shale boom on the U.S. Gulf Coast?

So high that “you can take every citizen in the region of Lake Charles between the ages of 5 and 85 and teach them all how to weld and you’re not going to have enough welders,” said Peter Huntsman, chief executive officer of chemical maker Huntsman Corp.

So high that San Jacinto College in Pasadena,Texas, offers a four-hour welding class in the middle of the night.

So high that local employers say they’re worried there won’t be adequate supply of workers of all kinds. Just for construction, Gulf Coast oil, gas and chemical companies will have to find 36,000 new qualified workers by 2016, according to Industrial Info Resources Inc. in Sugar Land, Texas. Regional estimates call for even more new hires once th  (go to article)

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NHTSA investigates Nissan Leaf EV fire blamed on faulty charger

Detroit News -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether a EV charging unit damaged a Nissan Leaf and led to a fire poses a safety hazard.

NHTSA said Saturday the agency is opening an investigation into 50 Bosch Power Xpress 250V charging units after a complaint that while charging a 2013 Leaf the EV "began to emit smoke around the vicinity of the vehicle/charger interface when charging at a private residence."

After 90 minutes of charging "signs of overheating were first noticed. The overheating condition can cause damage to the vehicle and charger rendering both inoperable. Charging vehicles are typically left unattended and there is a risk of fire that could affect the vehicle and its surrounding environment."

The complaint was filed in late August. "The connection  (go to article)

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You'll Never Guess Which State Has the Most Wind Energy

The Motley Fool -- When it comes to wind energy, not all states are created equal. They say everything's bigger in Texas -- and for wind energy and rib-eye steak, they're right. Here's how Texas tops the list of wind energy producers.

Where's the wind?
Wind energy is making major moves in the United States. In 2012, wind accounted for 3.5% of U.S. electricity generation -- in 2013, that amount jumped to 4.1%.

While Texas is often stereotyped as anti-Federalist separatist state (just ask Texans about their constitutional right to secede), some of the state's biggest additions came in December 2012 on the back of a subsidy shutdown scare. The U.S. government's lucrative Production Tax Credit was set to expire in 2013, and capacity additions soared in the final months of 2012. Of the 12,620 MW of total 2012  (go to article)

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Electric cars get a boost in Quebec

CBC News -- Rebates for electric cars and Get Connected Day are helping QCers get into electric cars

Gilles Villeneuve Racetrack was the site of a Guinness World Record-breaking event on Fri: 431 EC in one place, at one time

It was part of Get Connected Day, 3rd annual event celebrating the EC

As part of the QC’s transportation electrification program, would-be buyers are being offered substantial rebates — up to $8K for a car and up to $1K for a charging station

The province has allocated $516M toward its 2013-2017 electrification strategy. Some of that money will go to installing more than 3,000 charging stations

“QC is among the best places to drive electric because we have zero emissions in terms of electricity and the price for driving electric is very low here

ECs come at $40K with taxes  (go to article)

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Leak from nuclear waste site would be diluted: Experts

OurWindsor.Ca -- The “immense” waters of the Great Lakes will greatly dilute any radiation-bearing water that might leak from a proposed nuclear waste site on Lake Huron, says an expert group.
Fast-flowing surface water would also dilute leaking radiation, should the site be located in the ancient rock of the Canadian Shield, the group says.
The four-member group has filed a report with the federal panel examining Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to bury low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste in a limestone formation 680 metres below the surface, on the shore of Lake Huron.
The federal panel asked the expert group to compare whether it would be better to inter the waste at the Bruce site, or in ancient granite formations in the Canadian Shield. The question of leakage from the site has heated  (go to article)

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Documents detail another delayed GM recall

USA TODAY -- DETROIT (AP) — General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released Saturday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's auto safety watchdog, didn't seek a recall of the compact car from the 2004 through 2007 model years even though it opened an investigation more than two years ago and found 12 crashes and two injuries in the United States caused by the problem.

The documents, posted on the agency's website, show yet another delay by GM in recalling unsafe vehicles and point to another example of government safety regulators reacting slowly to a safety problem despite being alerted.....  (go to article)

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How to Put a Mustang on Top of the Empire State Building

Wired -- (With Photos) To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford recreated a publicity stunt it pulled in 1964 when it installed a Mustang on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. The task required six weeks of preparation, which included cutting the car into six sections and shuttling them up 86 floors.

Measure (at least) twice, cut once. A fabricator at DST Industries lays out the lines to be followed while dissecting the car, which was cut into six pieces.

Mechanics prepare the front sub-frame and suspension components. Everything had to fit into a freight elevator, so the crew reduced major assemblies to their constituent parts, then reassembled them. The car features a custom frame to make assembly a wee bit easier.

A fabricator gets medieval with a cutting wheel,  (go to article)

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8THEIST license plate rejected. Why?

Associated Press -- A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive.

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Keystone non-decision keeps some Democrats on the hot seat Read more: http://www.politico.com/story

Politico.com -- The Obama administration pulled a classic campaign-year move Friday: It punted on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Politically, it seems like a great idea, since kicking Keystone down the road — probably long past November — is better than an outright rejection for vulnerable oil-state Democrats, whose voters love the proposed project. And it keeps environmentalists at bay, boosting hopes that President Barack Obama might still swing their way.
But the non-decision decision also makes life a little harder for several groups of Democratic senators and Senate candidates fighting for their lives.

Some, like Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, have yet to take a firm stance on the Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline — and the State Department’s announcement Friday that it’s extending its review of the project remov  (go to article)

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Cost of oil transported by pipelines up 60% in five years, NEB says

Financial Post -- A combination of higher costs for system expansions, larger payouts to landowners and more strident regulatory conditions is pushing up fees charged by pipeline companies to shippers

Tolls on the Enbridge system, which carries the bulk of Canadian crude exports into the U.S., doubled over the period, the data show

Most of that increase can be attributed to system expansions undertaken by Enbridge since 2008, including construction of its Alberta Clipper pipeline to Chicago. New pipelines are expensive, and tolls tend to decline over time as assets depreciate

But the overall escalation comes with regulators increasingly flexing their muscles, attaching new environmental, financial and technical conditions to pipeline approvals in response to public calls for greater scrutiny on the indus  (go to article)

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UN, Obama Flog Global-warming Alarmism — As More Scientists Defect

The New American Magazine -- Carbon dioxide has been made out to be some kind of toxic gas but the truth is it’s the gas of life. We breath it out; plants breath it in. The green lobby has created a do-good industry and it becomes a way of life, like a religion. I understand why people defend it when they have spent so long believing in it, people do not like to admit they have been wrong.

“If you talk to real scientists who have no political interest, they will tell you there is nothing in global warming,” says Woodcock. “It’s an industry which creates vast amounts of money for some people."

“Even the term ‘global warming’ does not mean anything unless you give it a time scale,” Prof. Woodcock notes. “The temperature of the earth has been going up and down for millions of years, if there are extremes, it’s nothing  (go to article)

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No Keystone XL pipeline this year, following new delay

The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press -- WASHINGTON - The Canadian government demanded an answer immediately on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. It has now received a reply from the United States government that amounts to: Maybe next year.  (go to article)

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Sandpoint innovators’ solar road panels remove snow, generate power

The Spokesman Review -- The streets of Sandpoint may soon lead to an energy revolution.

The city is on track to be the first to replace a traditional road surface with super-strong, textured glass panels that harness solar power.

The 1-inch-thick panels developed by Scott and Julie Brusaw of Sagle, Idaho, will melt snow and ice, power LED lights embedded in the roadway and generate electricity. The city is getting ready to apply for a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to use the technology in a test project downtown.

“We want to do a sidewalk and a driving section,” City Engineer Kody Van Dyk said. “That way we can demonstrate which one works best, which one has best opportunity for viability, and see what the constructability issues are.”  (go to article)

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Oil trading alert: Will Ukraine news push crude higher?

Resource Investor -- On Thursday, crude oil (NYMEX:CLK14) gained 0.76% as the escalating conflict in Ukraine weighted on the price. Thanks to this news, light crude bounced off an important support/resistance line. Will it increase further with the tensions in the background? Does yesterday growth change the outlook for the commodity?

Yesterday, foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union started talks in Geneva on Thursday in a diplomatic effort to ease tensions between Kiev and Moscow. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would not rule out sending Russian troops into Ukraine. Similarly to what we saw in the recent days, concerns over the situation in eastern Ukraine remained supportive for crude oil as the West may impose new sanctions against Russia and brin  (go to article)

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Gas prices rise with spring temps

The Sentinel Newspaper -- Temperatures are rising and flowers blooming, and there’s that unwelcome sure sign of spring — higher fuel prices.

Gasoline prices in the Harrisburg region rose an average of 3.3 cents per gallon to $3.60 per gallon between April 7 and April 14, according to fuel price reporting company GasBuddy.com. The national average rose by about 3.4 cents to $3.59 per gallon during the same time period, GasBuddy.com reported.

An uptick in prices is typical in April as fuel companies switch to a legally mandated summer blend that is more environmentally-friendly but also more expensive, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

Refineries often complete maintenance in April in anticipation of the heavier demand of the summer season, DeHaan said.  (go to article)

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FERC officials raise concerns over coal shipments in US' Upper Midwest

Platts -- Top US energy regulators are raising concerns about how supply disruptions of coal shipments in the Upper Midwest and elsewhere could create challenges for the electricity sector, particularly as a number of plants are set to retire in coming years.

Calling it "an issue we're increasingly keeping our eye on," Tony Clark of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission raised concerns Thursday regarding how a tight rail system, events during the winter and increasing crude shipments on some lines "have caused supply disruptions for some of the operators" in the Upper Midwest in particular.

Clark pointed to an April 10 hearing of the US Surface Transportation Board, which responded to a petition by the Western Coal Traffic League over concerns that service issues on BNSF Railway's system have c  (go to article)

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Fracking Sand Spurs Grain-Like Silos for Rail Transport

Bloomberg -- The U.S. shale oil boom is putting millions of tons of sand onto North American railroads, enabling carriers to pack trains full instead of hauling just a handful of cars at a time.

With help from Union Pacific and Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway, the sleepy silica sand industry that once mostly supplied glassmakers now ships more than 20 million tons of the material a year. Buyers including Halliburton and Schlumberger use the sand in hydraulic fracturing at oil fields in Texas and North Dakota.

For decades, sand-mining companies catered mostly to glassmakers that sent a few rail cars... Now, with fracking helping drive oil output, Emerge fills trains pulling 100 cars on newly laid track from shiny metal silos.

“The whole shale development for us is great,” Union Pacific Chief Executive  (go to article)

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The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy

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The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
Solar power is not just any energy source. It could be the key to saving civilization.
By John Aziz | April 17, 2014

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We shouldn't be taxing these guys.
We shouldn't be taxing these guys. (AP Photo/Shannon Dininny)
I

n a setback for the renewable energy movement, the state House in Oklahoma this week passed a bill that would levy a new fee on those who generate their own energy through solar equipment or wind turbines on their property. The measure, which sailed to passage on a near unanimous vote after no debate,  (go to article)

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Delay won't quell 2014 wrangling over Keystone XL

AP -- WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.

Fat chance.

An indefinite extension of the government's review of the contentious oil pipeline, announced late Friday by the State Department, almost certainly pushes a final decision past the November elections, keeping the project in a politically expedient holding pattern. But it is doing little to quell posturing over the project, which has taken on a life of its own as climate change activists battle with energy advocates from both parties.

Republicans jumped at the chance to paint Democrats as powerless to rein in their own party's president. Keystone opponents w  (go to article)

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Behind the wheel of a pre-recall, 2006 Chevy Cobalt

Detroit News -- "I would allow my son . . . to drive" a Chevy Cobalt, General Motors CEO Mary Barra told a Senate Committee recently. “As long as he only had the ignition key. If you take all the keys off the ring, or use just the ignition key, our analysis is that it is safe to drive." Shot back Florida Senator Bill Nelson: "I suspect Cobalt drivers would not take comfort from that advice."

Beyond the Beltways’ political fireworks over Switchgate are thousands of Cobalt drivers who are worried about their daily driver.

GM has recalled 2.6 million Cobalts, Saturns, Pontiacs, and other Chevys to replace their ignition switches. I suggest owners do so immediately. But if they must wait I tested a 2006 Chevy Cobalt this week with the original, faulty ignition switch to both verify Barra’s claim as best I  (go to article)

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Kia's 2015 Soul EV prepares to enter U.S. market

GasBuddy Blog -- Kia Motors said it will start building a battery-powered version of its Soul compact in Korea next month. The car will be Hyundai-Kia's first battery-powered EV export, with destinations including the United States and Europe.

For this year, the global sales target is 5,000 Soul EVs. In Korea, the Soul EV will cost about half of its 42 million won ($39,400) price tag after government subsidies, similar to the higher-end model of the gasoline version, Reuters reports.

The car can run up to 148 km (92 miles) per 24- to 33-minute fast charge or 4 hours on slow charge.

Hyundai, like Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., has long concentrated on fuel cell vehicles powered by electricity generated using hydrogen, touting...  (go to article)

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Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to harm environment

chron -- This week, as we mark the fourth anniversary of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, evidence of that catastrophe's effects on wildlife continues to emerge.

Despite sunny assurances from BP, the largest oil spill in U.S. history is leaving its mark on everything from marine mammals to mollusks.

Bottlenose dolphins have been particularly hard-hit.

Some 900 of these graceful creatures have been found stranded, most of them dead, in the northern Gulf between April 2010 and March 2014, and a study linking the ill health of dolphins in Louisiana's Barataria Bay - anemia, adrenal problems and lung disease - to oil exposure.

Birds that migrate through the Gulf Coast or winter here are likewise showing signs of oil exposure.

Exposure to oil and dispersants also appears to have affect  (go to article)

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BP Gets an Anniversary Gift From the Obama Administration

Huffinton post -- April 20 is the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and dumped over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a three month period in 2010.

You wouldn't think that the London-based company that spilled the oil would get an anniversary gift from the federal government. But the Environmental Protection Agency has just given BP a big one. The EPA ruled that the corporation could start bidding on lucrative new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

That suspension was lifted on March 13, less than a week before the yearly government auction for drilling rights. The company whose negligence was responsible for the worst marine oil-spill in history won 43 new leases in the Gulf,which is still fouled by million of gallons of unrecovered crude.  (go to article)

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Gasoline reported stolen from postal vans in Paris

News 12 -- With the recent increase in gas prices, Paris Police say they've received reports of someone stealing gasoline from postal vans.

They say it happened sometime between closing Wednesday and opening on Thursday.

Police say someone cut the chain linked fence on the south side Paris' post office, in the 500 block of Clarksville Street, draining around 84 gallons of gasoline.

Police estimate the cost around $1,000.

The incident is under investigation. If you have any information on this crime, contact Police.  (go to article)

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Long lines form as church gives away free gasoline in Slidell on Good Friday

NOLA.com -- Churches are always looking for new ways to reach people. One church in Slidell has decided to go where folks spend a lot of their time: their vehicles.

For the fourth consecutive Good Friday, members of Living The Word International Church stationed themselves at a Slidell gas station and pumped $25 of free gas into the vehicles of the first 200 motorists who stopped by. The church spread the word through area radio stations and before long, you guessed it, the line of traffic waiting to pull into the Texaco station at Fremaux Avenue and Seventh Street stretched several blocks long.

"We look at this as a blessing," said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Lawrence Weathersby. "We are blessed to be a blessing."  (go to article)

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Judge strikes down Minnesota's anti-coal energy law

Star Tribune -- A federal judge on Friday struck down a landmark 2007 Minnesota law that bans new power generation from coal, saying it regulates business activities of out-of-state utilities in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson enjoined the state from enforcing key sections of the law, which North Dakota coal and utility interests said hampered their ability to find buyers for power from existing coal-fired generating plants or to plan for new ones.

Under Nelson’s order, Minnesota can’t enforce state restrictions on electricity imports from new power plants that increase greenhouse gases.

Minnesota relied on western coal for 46 percent of its electricity in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. North Dakota got 79 pe  (go to article)

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Jimmy Carter: Reject Keystone XL oil pipeline

cbsnews,com -- Former President Jimmy Carter urged President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Wednesday, warning that the project would worsen the damaging effects of climate change and saying their decision would define their legacy "on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced."

"As you deliberate the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, you are poised to make a decision that will signal either a dangerous commitment to the status quo, or bold leadership that will inspire millions counting on you to do the right thing for our shared climate," explained a letter signed by Carter and nine other former recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. The letter appeared as a newspaper advertisement on Wednesday morning.

The proposed project wo  (go to article)

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Voestalpine CEO calls for Europe to frack in low-density areas -paper

REUTERS -- Europe should consider allowing fracking for shale gas in sparsely populated areas, the chief executive of Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine told a German newspaper.

"Each drill hole that we can open in Europe will allow us to decrease our dependence (on natural gas from Russia)," Wolfgang Erder said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Recent tensions with Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine have heightened concerns among the EU's 28 members about the security of their energy supplies.

The European Union relies on Russia for about a third of its oil and gas, and some 40 percent of its gas is shipped through Ukraine.

The United States has benefited from a shale boom by using fracking, a controversial drilling process in which sand, water and chemicals are injected deep...  (go to article)

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Floating Nuclear Plants Could Ride Out Tsunamis

MIT Technology Review -- When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm.

A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future. Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically cooled by the surrounding seawater in a worst-case scenario, which would indefinitely prevent any melting of fuel rods, or escape of radioactive material.  (go to article)

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Harold Hamm: The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America's Recovery

Forbes -- Harold Hamm has transformed the U.S. oil industry like no one since John D. Rockefeller, while helping to keep domestic prices low — and making himself a $17 billion fortune. The great domestic energy boom, he says, is just beginning.  (go to article)

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Texas Supreme Court will not review ruling favoring TransCanada

KETR/NPR -- Lamar County landowner Julia Trigg Crawford’s petition for review of a lower court’s ruling in favor of TransCanada Corp. has been denied by the Texas Supreme Court. Crawford had been contesting the Canadian company’s right to build the Keystone XL pipeline through her family’s farm in northwestern Lamar County.  (go to article)

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Toyota Experiment Shows How Hybrids Will Relief Traffic Stress [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Driving through today busy city traffic can be a real pain in the back... Too many cars on the streets, inattentive drivers, many stoplights, intersections where you need to give way to an endless row of other vehicles, pedestrians using the crosswalks just after you picked up some speed and a lot more.

And all of these are combined with two other stress factors - needing to arrive at your destination in time and even worrying than that, fuel consumption. With fuel prices having doubled since, lets say ten years ago, in many of the world’s regions, sitting in the traffic with you engine running will put a heavy load on your mind.

That’s why in many drivers’ subconscious everyone surrounding them in traffic are just morons for wasting both their time and gas.  (go to article)

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Toyota Corolla Now Exporting to South and Central America

AutoEvolution -- Mississippi-made products such as luxury furniture, petroleum items, cotton and paper are finding their way to out the US each year. And now the 2014 Toyota Corolla will add up, with the automaker officially declaring it up for export recently.

At a ceremony yesterday, Toyota Mississippi put out the first 2014 Corolla intended for export towards clients in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

“Since 2011, Mississippians have been successfully producing Toyota’s best-selling model globally, the Corolla, for the U.S. market. Today, Toyota once again puts Mississippi on the world’s stage with the rollout of the first export vehicle manufactured at the Blue Springs facility,” Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant said. “This new export opportunity further strengthens Mississippi’s growing  (go to article)

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Railway car manufacturers won't talk safety despite concerns

Toronto Sun -- OTTAWA — The manufacturing of railway oil tanker cars in North America is a closely guarded secret.

The five companies that control the market refused to talk to QMI Agency about how many cars they can make in one year and how much production would cost.

Despite the fact it's been almost a year since the derailment disaster at Lac-Megantic Que., there is still no concrete timeline to replace the dangerous and aging fleet of DOT-111 tankers that transport millions of litres of crude across the country every year.

The vast majority of DOT-111 tankers on North American railroads have been called ticking time bombs because they puncture and explode more easily than the DOT-111s made after 2011
 (go to article)

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Former drilling chief: US ‘on a course to repeat’ Gulf oil spill

Fuel Fix -- The United States is “on a course to repeat” the same mistakes that led to the devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster four years ago, a former top offshore drilling regulator warned Thursday.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, the former Minerals Management Service director, Elizabeth Birnbaum, says the Obama administration “still has not taken key steps . . . to increase drilling safety.”

Birnbaum, who was ousted from her job overseeing offshore drilling just weeks after BP’s Macondo well blew out in the Gulf, penned the op-ed with Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for U.S. oceans at the conservation group Oceana.

Birnbaum and Savitz say the chief problem is regulators’ failure to impose new mandates that would boost the performance of blowout preventers, afterthe Deepwater Hor  (go to article)

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Crude oil pipeline to Twin Cities to get $125M upgrade

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- Yet another Minnesota crude oil pipeline is set for a major upgrade. Minnesota Pipe Line Co., which owns four pipelines that supply the state’s two oil refineries, said Thursday that it will invest $125 million to maximize the capacity of the largest of the lines. The company said the goal is to increase the system’s reliability, not to increase overall oil shipments.

Minnesota Pipe Line Co.’s project, which requires state regulatory approval, won’t require digging new trenches or burying more pipe. Instead, the company said it will more than double the capacity of Line 4 to 350,000 barrels per day by adding six pump stations along the 295-mile route. The line connects an oil terminal at Clearbrook, Minn., with refineries in Rosemount and St. Paul Park.

Another reason for the upgrade is  (go to article)

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VW reveals new 300mpg coupe

AUTOCAR -- Diesel-electric XL1 ‘one-litre’ concept showcases VW’s ultra-frugal new powertrain

The new car is the third concept built to the vision of travelling 100km (62 miles) on a single litre of fuel. The first two vehicles, introduced in 2002 and 2009, used tandem seating, but the XL1 achieves the goal (or at 0.9l/100km, surpasses it) while looking remarkably conventional.

The XL1 is powered by an 800cc, two-cylinder turbodiesel powerplant (half a BlueMotion engine), producing 47bhp. It’s supported by a 27bhp electric motor that is fuelled by lithium-ion batteries. These can be charged from a domestic plug, allowing the car to travel for 35km (22 miles) on electric power alone.

The electric motor can also be used to support the diesel engine’s torque during ‘full power’ acceleration, lifting  (go to article)

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US delays review of Keystone XL pipeline

.AP By JOSH LEDERMAN and DINA CAPPIELLO -- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said Friday, likely punting the decision over the controversial oil pipeline past the midterm elections.

The State Department didn't say how much longer agencies will have to weigh in but cited a recent decision by a Nebraska judge overturning a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state, prompting uncertainty and an ongoing legal battle. Nebraska's Supreme Court isn't expected to rule for another several months, and there could be more legal maneuvering after that. The delay potentially frees President Barack Obama to avoid making a final call on the pipeline until after the November election.

"The ag  (go to article)

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Gas prices, utility hikes hurting businesses and consumers

CTV Ottawa -- Gasoline prices in Ottawa have reached a 3 year high. Most pumps are now at almost $1.39 a litre, representing a 15% increase from last year. That's just one source of fuel that's risen in recent weeks, fuelling anger among consumers. At the Bread By Us Bakery in Ottawa’s Hintonburg, energy prices are rising faster than their loaves of sour dough bread. The bakery is just a few months old, already stretching a tight budget. Co-owner Jessica Carpinone says they don't have extra dough to pay for the rising cost of hydro and gas.
"I can't absorb anything beyond what I'm already absorbing so when I see new gas bills, if they're higher, I will have to find ways to make more or find creative ways to absorb that.”
Natural gas prices rose April 1st. It'll cost $400 more a year to heat the av  (go to article)

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TOP Oil Market News: WTI Crude Rises After Jobless Claims Drop

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate crude rose to a six-week high as a report showed fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits.  (go to article)

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San Diego Gas Price Rises For 17th Consecutive Day

KPBS.org -- The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County rose Friday for the 17th consecutive day, increasing two-tenths of a cent to $4.272, its highest amount since March 2, 2013.

The average price has increased 23.7 cents over the past 17 days, including three-tenths of a cent on Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price is 12.5 cents higher than one week ago, 26.7 cents more than one month ago and 30.3 cents above what it was one year ago.

There are "signs of relief'' from the rising prices, according to Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

"Wholesale prices dropped back down by 20 cents as of Wednesday and local pump primes seem to be staying steady in the last couple of days,''  (go to article)

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