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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Environmental groups and a New Orleans energy company have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit stemming from the company's failed efforts to stop a decade-old, slow-motion oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge approved a $225 million deal Tuesday between Gov. Chris Christie's administration and ExxonMobil over dozens of polluted sites and nearly 2,000 retail gas stations.

Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan ruled that while the deal is much less than the $8.9 billion the state originally sought, it is a "reasonable compromise" considering "substantial litigation risks" faced by the state in the 11-year-old case that spanned Democratic and Republican governors.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed cutting methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas production by nearly half over the next decade, part of an effort by President Barack Obama to curb climate change.

August 2015, Vol. 242, No. 8

Few trends have been bigger or more exciting to watch in the last decade than the rise of drones.

From serious applications like warfare to more quirky ones like pizza delivery, the world is still clearly just starting to figure out how drones can profitably be used. That background makes the recent chatter about the opportunity for drone use in commercial oil and gas applications an extremely interesting trend to watch.

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DETROIT (AP) — Prices at the pump remain up across the Great Lakes region because of the unexpected, partial shutdown of a large Indiana oil refinery.

The BP Whiting Refinery in northern Indiana shut down the largest of three crude distillation units Saturday for what the company in a statement called "unscheduled repair work." BP says that the rest of the refinery is operating at reduced production.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A GOP-controlled Senate committee has approved legislation to block the Obama administration from putting in place tough new standards on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee gave voice vote approval to send the bill to the full Senate, where a filibuster battle awaits.

A veto from President Barack Obama is all but assured.

August 2015, Vol. 242, No. 8

Republicans in Congress are working to pass legislation setting aside a new EPA and Army Corps of Engineers joint rule which makes it more expensive to build pipelines in areas containing streams and other small bodies of water. The rule would require pipelines - or anyone wanting to build in these tributaries and ponds - to first do site analysis and then, potentially, obtain a Clean Water Act permit. That is time-consuming and can be expensive. The EPA published the new so-called Waters of the U.S. – (WOTUS) rule in May which goes into effect Aug. 28.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A section of the 124-mile route of the planned Constitution Pipeline has been redrawn to avoid a 1,000-acre private forest with fragile wetlands.

Christopher Stockton, spokesman for the pipeline that will bring natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City and New England, confirmed the route change Tuesday. Stockton says the change adds almost three miles to the route and affects 11 landowners who have signed right-of-way agreements.

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Public Utilities Commission is considering whether to approve for the second time in just over five years construction of the South Dakota portion of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The hearing process started Monday. The state authorized TransCanada Corp.'s project in 2010, but permits must be revisited if construction doesn't start within four years.

The commission is now considering the company's guarantee that it can complete the project while meeting the conditions of the 2010 approval.

It's unlikely the panel will make a decision immediately.

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Natural gas overtook coal as the top source of U.S. electric power generation for the first time ever earlier this spring, a milestone that has been in the making for years as the price of gas slides and new regulations make coal more risky for power generators.

About 31% of electric power generation in April came from natural gas, and 30% from coal, according to a recently released report from the research company SNL Energy, which used data from the U.S. Energy Department. Nuclear power came in third at 20%.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — When Vermont became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in 2012, Gov. Peter Shumlin said the ban was "in keeping with our environmental ethic and our protection of our natural resources."

But the state is likely on the verge of a big increase in the use of fracked gas from Canada.

July 2015, Vol. 242, No. 7

Although we are already 15 years deep into the 21st century and women working at the top rungs of professional life no longer turn heads, when it comes to the “hard” numbers-crunching parts in the global economy – science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – women still get asked why they selected this way to earn a buck.

This same question is occasionally put to Paula Gant, holder of a doctorate degree in economics and the deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas in the federal Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

TransCanada Corp. has written to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arguing that new Canadian rules on emissions should persuade him to approve the construction of the much-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

The proposed $6.4 billion project would carry an estimated 830,000 bpd of Canadian crude oil per from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, NE, then link up with Keystone’s existing line, which would take the oil on the final leg to the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Environmentalists called on California Gov. Jerry Brown to halt plans for months of hydraulic fracturing in the waters off Southern California, warning that it could lead to chemical pollution or an oil spill.

State regulators this month approved nine permits for operator Thums Long Beach Co. for so-called fracking operations between August and December in Long Beach Harbor.

July 2015, Vol. 242, No. 7

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on June 4 released a much-anticipated study of whether hydraulic fracturing contaminates drinking water supplies, concluding that while there have been some cases of contamination, the issue is not widespread.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Firefighters investigating a reported petroleum stench at a California beach last month didn't take long to find a spill — oil was spreading across the sand and into the surf. Tracing the source, they found crude gushing from a bluff like a fire hose "without a nozzle," records show.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ExxonMobil has been forced to halt operations at three offshore oil platforms because it couldn't deliver to refineries in the wake of a broken pipeline that spilled up to 101,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara coast, the company said.

Operations temporarily ceased last week because Santa Barbara County rejected its emergency application to truck oil to refineries, spokesman Richard Keil said Tuesday.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Photos of the pipeline that spilled oil on the Santa Barbara coast show extensive corrosion and provide clues about the cause of the rupture, experts said.

Corrosion visible around the crack, coupled with wear documented inside the pipe, led Robert Bea, a civil engineering professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, to believe the pipe burst during a pressure spike when the operator restarted pumps that had failed the morning of the May 19 spill.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

GOLETA, CA — The cost of cleaning up the oil spill that fouled beaches last month on the California coast has reached $62 million so far, pipeline company Plains All American Pipeline said Wednesday.

Costs are running at $3 million a day, and there is no timetable for when the cleanup will be complete, the company's on-scene coordinator, Patrick Hodgins, told The Associated Press.

The Plains All American is responsible for footing the bill after a pipeline break near Santa Barbara forced the closure of two state beaches and prompted a fishing ban in the area.

July 2015, Vol.242, No. 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Texas company whose ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years had assured the government that a break in the line while possible was "extremely unlikely" and state-of-the-art monitoring could quickly detect possible leaks and alert operators, documents show.

Nearly 1,200 pages of records, filed with state regulators by Plains All American Pipeline, detail a range of defenses the company established to guard against crude oil spills and, at the same time, prepare for the worst should a spill occur.