Today in WaterWise News:
Oil prices down again ♦ Peabody revises climate change risks ♦ IEA warns OPEC ♦ Battery revolution? ♦ Environmental group endorses Clinton over Sanders, draws criticism ♦ Sea World to phase out whale displays ♦ Water authorization bill fight ♦ Keystone XL supporters look for alternatives ♦ Port Manatee still planning ♦ Charleston Cruise case pushed to 2016 ♦ Deep water LNG Port in NJ to pass? ♦ EPA Restoration awards for Clinton river area ♦ Heavy winter in Siberia signals heavy winter in the U.S.? ♦ Hope falling amid climate change ♦ EPA says to trust the market to make the Clean Power Plan work
Wall Street Journal - Oil prices retreated from early gains Monday as concerns about oversupply overshadowed data and pronouncements from around the world that suggested the market is approaching a balance. Data provider Genscape Inc. reported Monday morning that stockpiles grew last week at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the benchmark U.S. futures contract, according a person who had reviewed the report. The data showed a 1.8 million barrel increase in the week ended Friday. Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest private-sector coal company, said on Monday it had reached a resolution with the New York state Attorney General’s office regarding the company’s statements to investors and the public about the financial risks from climate change and potential regulatory responses. The company agreed to revise its shareholder disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Commission to describe possible future reductions in projected demand for coal. There is no other action associated with the settlement, St. Louis-based Peabody said, adding “no admission or denial of wrongdoing and no financial penalty.” Read more.
Wall Street Journal - Oil futures were moving in and out of negative territory on Tuesday as a top energy watchdog said the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to keep pumping could depress prices until the end of the decade. In its World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency said “a lasting switch in OPEC production strategy in favor of securing a higher share of the oil market mix” could keep the price of Brent crude at around $50 a barrel through the end of the decade. Under a more bullish scenario, the IEA said oil could rebound to around $80 a barrel by 2020 as the oversupplied market begins to balance. Read more.
Washington Post - We may be getting a real time glimpse of a world that energy visionaries have long awaited — one featuring a large scale merger between clean energy technologies, like wind and solar, and large batteries that can store power from these sources and make it available at will. Meet Advanced Microgrid Solutions, based in San Francisco and headed by former Arnold Schwarzenegger chief of staff and California Public Utilities commissioner Susan Kennedy. Read more.
Washington Post - The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund’s endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday has prompted a backlash from many of its members, who argue Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) deserved the nod. The endorsement, which was first reported by The Washington Post, marked the first time in more than three decades that the group had endorsed a presidential candidate before a single primary vote was cast. Read more.
BBC - The SeaWorld theme park in the US state of California is to phase out controversial public displays by killer whales, its chief executive has said. Joel Manby announced that 2017 will be the last year of the show in San Diego. He said that the move was part of a strategy that seeks to reverse falling visitor numbers at the company's 11 parks across the US. The company has faced intense criticism by activists who say keeping the whales in captivity is cruel and unnecessary. Read more.
E&E News - Dozens of business groups are pressing Congress to quickly block U.S. EPA's new ozone standard from taking effect, warning in a letter that close to one-third of the nation's counties could fail to meet the lower ambient air quality threshold of 70 parts per billion. Without immediate action, the new rule "will negatively impact our economy and stifle growth in many parts of the country," some 60 organizations said in the letter to lawmakers that echoes previous criticism of the new standard. Lawmakers should listen "to the concerns of their communities and stakeholders and protect our nation's recovering economy by taking necessary legislative steps to mitigate the rule's most harmful economic consequences while continuing EPA projected improvements to ozone air quality." Read more.
E&E News - The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will this week take its first step toward following through on a promise to return to a regular schedule of water resources authorizations. A Friday roundtable in New Orleans will serve as the first official discussion of a new Water Resources Development Act -- what was once an every-other-year process for authorizing new lock, dam, levee and ecosystem restoration projects, but which has recently gone years in between measures. Read more.
E&E News - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reiterating his opposition to the Obama administration's efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as questions arise over whether his "just say no" strategy is crumbling. In an opinion piece sent to media outlets yesterday, the senator highlighted the letters he wrote to governors earlier this year urging them to hold off on complying with the Clean Power Plan. He suggested that U.S. EPA adjusted its compliance schedule in the final rule because of the state campaign encouraged by his opposition. Read more.
E&E News - Republican lawmakers say TransCanada Corp. remains set on building the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta -- and they remain committed to helping the company achieve its goal. On Friday, after seven years of deliberations, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama decided to deny TransCanada permission to cross the international border. Now pro-KXL lawmakers are mulling their limited options. One of them could involve threatening to shut down the government over the project. But the most popular option seems to be waiting. Read more.
E&E News - Tired of waiting for Congress, states racing to deepen seaports before the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal next year are picking up the cost of what has traditionally been a federal duty. Port Manatee, one of the ports that is planning further ahead, has not gone after state funds. Port Manatee officials expect the port will use federal money for a proposed deepening project that probably wouldn't be finished until after 2020. Read more.
Post and Courier - Attorneys will have to wait until next year to argue about a permit for a contentious $35 million passenger cruise terminal in downtown Charleston. The state Court of Appeals had said it would hear the case the week of Dec. 7. But a court official said Monday that scheduling conflicts have now delayed arguments until February at the earliest. The State Ports Authority wants to build a new cruise terminal by renovating a waterfront warehouse at the north end of Union Pier. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control granted a permit almost three years ago to allow additional pilings to be placed beneath the structure to allow construction. Read more.
Business Wire - When water rises as a result of torrential rain, storm surge, melting snow or any other weather-related event, it leaves destruction in its wake. But that isn’t the only way that water can be highly destructive. A slow leak can be just as damaging to construction projects as a sudden flood. When it comes to builders’ risk insurance, where the water comes from and how the damage occurs can make all the difference in respect to policy coverage. Read more.
NJ Spotlight - The clock is running on a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal 28 miles off the Jersey Coast. With the conclusion of public hearings on the Liberty Natural Gas plan to build a $600 million deepwater port 18 miles off Long Beach, NY, the governors of both New Jersey and New York have 45 days to weigh in on the project and kill it by vetoing the proposal. Read more.
Bradenton - Tired of waiting for Congress, states racing to deepen seaports before the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal next year are picking up the cost of what has traditionally been a federal duty. Port Manatee, one of the ports that is planning further ahead, has not gone after state funds. Port Manatee officials expect the port will use federal money for a proposed deepening project that probably wouldn't be finished until after 2020. Read more.
Water Online - Oldcastle Precast, Auburn, Wash. was selected by the Joint Venture Team of Mortenson-Manson, general contractor/construction manager (GC/CM), to supply precast concrete Z-shaped superstructure segments and 20-foot tall seawall face panels for the city’s new $371M Elliott Bay Seawall Reconstruction Project at the waterfront in downtown Seattle, Washington. The City of Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Elliott Bay Seawall Project, part of Seattle’s Waterfront Program, determined that the 100 year old seawall needed to be replaced. Read more.
EPA - The U.S Environmental Protection Agency today announced the award of new funding for major Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects in the Clinton River Area of Concern totaling nearly $20 million. Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator Cameron Davis was joined by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, Clinton River Public Advisory Council Chair Lynne Seymour and representatives of the grantees. They announced the projects at the Harbor Club South Apartments near the Clinton River Spillway, which connects the two congressional districts. “Once completed, the projects we’re announcing today will move the Clinton River AOC toward a more vibrant environment and local economy,” Davis said. “With such strong bipartisan support in Congress, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is producing results in Michigan and across the Great Lakes.” Read more.
E&E News - At least half of French, English and German readers are less optimistic about avoiding the dangerous consequences of climate change than they were five years ago, an informal survey by major newspapers revealed. Italians were the most hopeful, with 26 percent saying they felt more optimistic about the issue now and 41 percent saying their feelings had not changed on the issue. Read more.
E&E News - Heavy snowfall in Siberia during October can translate to a severe winter for the northeastern United States. And last month, Russia's northern region was struck by record snowfall and the worst blizzard in a decade. Above-normal snowfall in Siberia is believed to influence the polar vortex and spread a chill in the Northeast. This occurs when the Arctic Oscillation (AO), a belt of winds circulating counterclockwise around the Arctic at about 55 degrees north latitude, shifts southward. Read more.
E&E News - U.S. EPA brass yesterday demonstrated their unshakable faith that carbon trading under the Clean Power Plan will produce a large market and affordable allowances for states to purchase to comply with their greenhouse gas goals. But state officials at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' annual meeting this week were still swimming in the details of how such programs might end up working. Read more.
E&E News - Australia and South Korea are pushing back hard against U.S. efforts to sway wealthy nations away from financing coal projects overseas, according to documents provided to ClimateWire. A U.S.-brokered agreement with Japan, first reported in ClimateWire, has been making the rounds at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as member countries prepare for discussions next week on whether to restrict financing for coal through export credit agencies (ClimateWire, Oct. 27). Read more.