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The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), once seen as a cornerstone of America’s energy security, is losing its shine in Washington.

The SPR was established in the aftermath of the 1973-1974 oil embargo, which led to high gasoline prices, fuel rationing, price controls, and long lines at gas stations. The U.S. government decided to stockpile oil in salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana, fuel that could be used in the event of a supply outage. Today, the SPR holds 695 MMbbls of oil.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A train that derailed and spilled 35,000 gallons of oil in northeastern Montana was traveling within authorized speed limits, federal officials said Monday as they continued to probe the accident's cause.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train loaded with crude from North Dakota was traveling 44 mph before Thursday's wreck, U.S. Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Matthew Lehner said.

Officials have said the maximum authorized speed in the area is 45 mph.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell PLC approval to begin limited exploratory oil drilling off Alaska's northwest coast.

The two permits issued Wednesday clear the way for drilling in Chukchi Sea, but with conditions.

Shell can only drill the top sections of wells because the company doesn't have critical emergency response equipment on site to cap a well in case of a leak. That equipment is aboard a ship headed to Portland, Oregon, for repairs.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Investigators say Columbia Gas of Kentucky did not violate any safety rules at a Lexington hotel that exploded last year after a natural gas leak.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission announced Wednesday that an investigation revealed that the gas company followed safety regulations regarding protection of meters from accidental damage.

LONDON (AP) — Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. said it will appeal a local authority decision to block the oil and gas exploration company's bid to frack shale gas in northwest England — a setback for plans to establish a fracking industry in Britain.

Lancashire County Councilors last month rejected plans for exploratory drilling at two sites about 240 miles northwest of London, citing effects on traffic and the landscape.

Britain's government hopes fracking will reduce the country's reliance on gas imports.

PHOENIX (AP) — With city elections in Phoenix next month and 2016 races around the corner, Arizona regulators are warning people that they might need to pull up stakes on the many campaign signs on lawns and street corners.

Signs installed without prior inspection could create danger around utility lines and bring hefty fines, according to a longtime state law.

The Arizona Blue Stake law mandates that anyone doing excavation must have utility lines marked first. It's a law that was enacted in 1974 and has been enforced by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Despite oil prices being somewhat depressed by the hype surrounding the Iran deal – which has repeatedly been debunked as not affecting supply until, at the earliest, the first quarter of next year – expect another large oil inventory draw to come.

It starts with the API inventory figures published Tuesday followed by Wednesday’s EIA report, which I expect to not only show an inventory draw of over 4 MMbbls again but continued declines in production. This is, in part, tied to growing demand in the U.S., but there are several other reasons we should discuss.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Proposed rules for oil and gas drilling on federal lands nationwide continue to be delayed amid a legal challenge.

A federal judge in Wyoming has ordered the Interior Department to better document how it developed the rules. The documentation originally was due to be filed with the court no later than this Wednesday.

A recent extension to Aug. 28 means the rules now won't take effect until sometime in September at the soonest.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Public Service Commission says some big environmental concerns have been addressed by the company proposing a $3.8 billion pipeline from western North Dakota to Illinois.

The three-member regulatory panel says Energy Transfer Partners appears to have a good plan in place to address worries about land reclamation and river crossings.

The PSC held an informal work session on the project Monday but took no action. The panel expects to meet again late next month to talk about the company's permit application.

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Emergency personnel have extinguished a fire aboard a barge carrying petroleum after the vessel collided with another barge near the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Kendrick says some nearby ship traffic was suspended but traffic along the Houston Ship Channel was not affected.

He says two tugboats were pushing the barges early Monday morning near the Bolivar Peninsula when one of the tugboats lost power. The barge it was pushing then collided with the second barge.