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Billions in oilpatch investment up in smoke as crude plunge reverberates across Canada

Financial Post -- The oil price collapse is highlighting the big shoes filled by the oil and gas sector in Canada’s economy
"The industry has been growing so much, is active in so many parts of the country, works with so many suppliers, low oil prices “are having more of a national effect now than at any time in its history
The result of excess world supplies and OPEC’s refusal to cut its own: Capital investment in W Can, including the oil sands, will decline 33%, to $46B, from $69B in 2014
In the AB-based oil sands alone, capital investment will shrink to $25B, from $33B in 2014
Capital spending in the conventional oil and gas portion of the W Can Sedimentary Basin which straddles SK, AB and BC will decrease to $21B, from $36B in 2014.Drilling is expected to decline by 30%, to 7,350 wells
Industry will res  (go to article)

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Union says U.S. refinery workers' contract talks moving slowly

Reuters -- With just a week of bargaining left until the national contract for U.S. refinery workers expires, the United Steelworkers union (USW) said talks with oil company representatives for a new agreement were going slow, according to a message sent to members via Twitter.

"It's time for the industry to get serious about addressing issues that matter to USW members," the message said. "Be ready to stand up and fight back!"
 (go to article)

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California considering plan to replace gas tax with charge per mile driven

Contra Costa Times -- More people are driving electric cars. Gasoline cars are getting better mileage. And California's vehicles are causing less pollution.

But all that good news is generating a major problem: As motorists buy less gasoline, state gas tax revenues that pay for roads have been falling for a decade, leading to more potholes and traffic jams.

Now, in a move that could solve the problem -- or cause a political pileup -- state officials have begun to seriously study a plan to replace California's gas tax with a fee for each mile motorists drive.

"We're going to have to find another way to finance the upkeep of the roads," Gov. Jerry Brown said earlier this month in rolling out his 2015 budget, noting that California has a $59 billion backlog of maintenance needs on state highway  (go to article)

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SLO Refinery Wants Oil by Train

Santa Barbara Independent -- A slow-moving pipeline moves a haul of crude oil to a refinery just north of the Santa Barbara County border. Stand on the nearby coast’s 18,000-year-old sand dunes and look away from the sea, and a perfect view emerges of the expansive Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery. The name is a misnomer. The San Luis Obispo facility on the Nipomo Mesa is 17 miles northwest from the City of Santa Maria. Directly south is the Santa Maria River.

With oil prices dropping and California supplies both dwindling and facing harsh competition from North Dakota, much speculation swirls on the question of what kind of oil will arrive to the refinery on the dunes in the coming years. Right now it is “mostly used for California-produced oil,” said Phillips 66 spokesperson Rich Johnson.

But as of 2013, Phillips  (go to article)

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Oil Rigs in U.S. at 2-Year Low as Bakken Drillers Bail

Bloomberg -- Rigs targeting U.S. oil slid to the fewest in two years as explorers retreated from North Dakota’s Bakken formation at the fastest pace since the nation’s shale boom took off.

The U.S. oil rig count dropped by 49 this week to 1,317, the lowest since Jan. 25, 2013, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website Friday. The total count fell by 43 to 1,633. North Dakota, home of the Bakken play that doubled its crude output within two years, lost the most rigs since at least 2008 with prices under $50 a barrel.

Eight hundred rigs may be pulled out of U.S. fields during the first half of 2015, Penn West Petroleum Ltd. CEO David Roberts said at a conference Thursday.

“If you go down to operating cost levels in the $30-$40 West Texas Intermediate range, and stay there, you start to lose production in  (go to article)

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US works to ease Caribbean dependence on Venezuelan oil

Associated Press -- A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States.

Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a trade program created by the late President Hugo Chavez that has kept the region dependent on the South American country for energy.
 (go to article)

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U.S. Adds Automatic Braking to Recommended Car Safety Features

InsuranceJournal -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to add what it considers two “cutting-edge” automatic emergency braking systems to the recommended safety features included under its rating system for consumers.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said it is recommending two automatic emergency braking systems – crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS) be included in the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
Crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support systems intervene by automatically applying the vehicle’s brakes or supplementing the driver’s braking effort to avoid or mitigate the severity of a crash. According to NHTSA data, one-third of all police-reported crashes in 2013 involved a rear-end collision with another vehicle at the start of the crash. Th  (go to article)

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RTA natural gas conversion, Red Line Greenway, among projects landing $42.7 million

Cleveland.com -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- New natural gas buses, a bike path along an unused railroad line and a multipurpose trail in the Metroparks are among 11 Greater Cleveland projects receiving a combined $42.7 million from the region's umbrella transportation planning organization.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency awarded the grants with federal dollars from a program focused on improving air quality and reducing congestion. NOACA released a list of the grants Friday evening.

More than half the total funding is going to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as it transitions its fleet from diesel-powered buses and trolleys to cleaner-burning natural-gas vehicles.

RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese thanked NOACA for help in replacing vehicles that will age past their useful life  (go to article)

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Commentary: Should we allow further drilling on public land?

FuelFix.com -- When done properly, extraction of natural resources from federal land has helped develop the economy while at the same time providing valuable income to defray the costs of running the federal government. Leases are certainly not new and, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there are currently over 46,000 active leases on federal land.

The debate of drilling on public lands has incited divided discourse throughout the country. The Morning Consult, a media group focused on energy, conducted a poll with 1,811 registered voters in late 2014, found wide support for opening more land for drilling.

Over 61 percent of the respondents polled supported expanding oil exploration and production on more federal lands. The support also cut across partisan lines as supporters included 45  (go to article)

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MADD celebrates 35th anniversary

The Wayne Independent -- Thirty-five years after a grieving mother started one of the most influential and effective grassroots movements in history, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announces its new National President, Colleen Sheehey-Church, the first victim of drunk and drugged driving to serve as MADD’s National President, effective Jan. 1.

Sheehey-Church joined MADD in 2005, a year after her 18-year-old son, Dustin, drowned after the car he was riding in, driven by a teen with alcohol and drugs in her system, crashed into a river, trapping Dustin in the vehicle.??  (go to article)

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Five years from now, you'll want to own these cars

CNBC -- Coming off a year when Subaru and Lexus both saw sales grow faster than the industry average in the U.S., the two Japanese brands are also selling models expected to retain more of their value than their competitors.

Kelley Blue Book calculated the average 2015 Subaru will retain 46.2 percent of its residual value five years from now.

Meanwhile the same report estimates 2015 Lexus models will retain an average of 42.2 percent of their value when they are five years old.
Both Subaru and Lexus have kept their values high in the past, and will likely continue to do so in the future by limiting the number of vehicles they build while also increasing consumer demand with high quality models," said Eric Ibara, Director of Residual Value at Kelley Blue Book.
Subaru jumps to the top of KBB's res  (go to article)

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Most Americans Are Spending Less Than $2 Per Gallon for Gas

Time -- The average household will save $750 on gas this year

The price of gas is plummeting like a bungee jumper without a rope.

A majority of Americans are paying less than $2 per gallon for gas for the first time since 2009, and the ever-cheapening fuel it helping put more money in consumers’ pockets and bolster the economy. About 6 in 10 U.S. gas stations are selling a gallon of gas for under $2, according to AAA. The average gas price has dropped for a record 120 consecutive days to less than $2.04 a gallon. That’s the cheapest average in nearly six years.
American consumers will benefit immensely this year from the drop: The Department of Energy predicted last week that the average American household would spend about $750 less for gasoline in 2015 compared with last year.

“It’s crazy,” M  (go to article)

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Oil rout 'not a three-month phenonemon: Caisse de dépôt's Sabia

Montreal Gazette -- The Bank of Canada’s rate cut this week shows the central bank doesn’t think the dramatic drop in crude prices will be short-lived, said manager, who runs the country’s 2nd-biggest pension fund
“There’s no reason to believe this is real short-term thing on energy prices
The BoC unexpectedly cut its main interest rate this week for the first time in 6 years, concerned that the plunge in oil prices will curb inflation and reduce economic growth within the G7’s biggest crude exporter. Canada’s economy has become more dependent on energy exports in recent years thanks to the development of AB’s oil sands, whose high production costs make them more vulnerable to price shocks than other regions
Few “big, bright lights on the economic horizon,” aside from the U.S. recovery, that would drive energ  (go to article)

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Saudi Prince Alwaleed: Oil Will Never See $100 Again

CNBC -- The world will never again see the price of oil at $100 per barrel, one of Saudi Arabia's biggest investors said on Friday.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holdings, spoke with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" following the death of his uncle, King Abdullah. While he admitted that his country — which derives 90 percent of its budget from oil — is feeling the pain of the commodity's collapse, he predicted that Saudi Arabia would not be the first to blink.


He said that a "confluence of events" have led to the fall in oil's price, not—as some have suggested — a Saudi plot to harm America's revitalized energy industry.

"I can assure you that Saudi Arabia is not using the oil price right now to impact the fracking industry in the United States,"  (go to article)

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Auto Collectigles That You Can Wear

NY Times -- Admirers of auto-theme lapel pins bearing logos and other images represent a small but fervent subset of the car-collecting world.
They document in miniature the auto world’s graphic design of classic chrome and kitsch.  (go to article)

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Boston's Got a Gas Problem as Methane Seeps from City

ScientificAmerica -- The stink gives it away. Spend half a day walking the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston and the occasional whiff of rotten eggs makes it clear that natural gas is leaking from somewhere.

Just as oil and natural gas fields have been found to be emitting more methane than official government estimates suggest, a new study shows that more methane than previously thought may be leaking from the other end of that system—cities, where people actually use natural gas for heating and cooking.

Cities have a giant greenhouse gas footprint and are responsible for 70 percent of all global CO2 emissions, according to NASA. Urban areas and their aging natural gas pipes and valves are also responsible for a lot of methane emissions, which is about 35 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over th  (go to article)

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Liquefied natural gas plant gets first approval

FloridaToday -- TITUSVILLE – Florida East Coast Industries crossed its first permitting hurdle to building a liquefied natural gas production and distribution plant, despite some concerns from residents.

The Titusville Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the $250 million liquefied natural gas plant on undeveloped land west of U.S. 1 and north of Kings Highway — a project the company says would be the first of its kind in Florida.

The four commission members present all voted in favor of approval.

The board’s recommendation now must go for consideration Tuesday before the Titusville City Council, which also looks at staff analysis of the site to make its decision on whether to approve the conditional use.

The approval Wednesday night came after more than 21/2 hours of d  (go to article)

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New Metro Vancouver riding shaping up as battle of the pipeline

Vancouver Sun -- The new Burnaby N-Seymour riding is likely to be ground zero of the battle over pipelines during the 2015 federal election campaign
The riding, divided by Burrard Inlet into a Conservative-friendly S and a more New Democrat-leaning S, includes both Burnaby Mountain, site of recent anti-pipeline civil disobedience, and the Westridge Marine Terminal
The terminal would load 34 tankers a month, up from the current 5, if KM’s $5.4B expansion of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline goes ahead
Scientist Lynne Quarmby, recently acclaimed as the Green party candidate, is so devoted to the issue she got herself arrested during the recent Burnaby Mountain protest against KM’s
Pipeline politics mean different things to different parties
•For the NDP, the pipeline issue represents a bit of a balancing act  (go to article)

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New spill into Yellowstone River prompts pipeline upgrade order

The Spokesman Review/Associated press -- BILLINGS – Federal regulators on Friday ordered a pipeline company to make major upgrades to a line that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River and fouled a local water supply.

The order comes after Bridger Pipeline of Casper, Wyoming, announced plans to bury its line deeper beneath the Yellowstone to protect against future accidents.

The Department of Transportation order would make that improvement mandatory and require identical action where the line runs beneath the Poplar River in northeast Montana.

The cause of the Jan. 17 spill remains under investigation. It prompted a five-day shutdown of drinking water services for 6,000 people in the city of Glendive after oil got into a treatment plant.

 (go to article)

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Obama to shorten India trip to visit Saudi Arabia

USA Today -- President Barack Obama will cut short his three-day trip to India to travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah, U.S. and Indian officials said Saturday, hours before the U.S. president was to depart for New Delhi.

White Housespokesman Josh Earnest said the president and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to Riyadh on Tuesday and meet with new Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Vice President Joe Bidenwas originally to lead a U.S. delegation to the kingdom, but Earnest said the White House changed plans after determining that Biden's trip coincided with Obama's departure from India. Biden will not join the president in Saudi Arabia and will instead remain in Washington.  (go to article)

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Cheap gas is not here to stay

Chicago Tribune -- By Megan McArdle

Raise that thermostat and fire up the SUV: West Texas Intermediate crude is hovering around $45 a barrel, and the Costco near my house is currently vending gasoline for under $2 a gallon. But don't start pricing Hummers just yet, because we don't know how long this will last.

No one knows exactly what factors are causing prices to fall so far, so fast, but there is a strong suspicion that Saudi Arabia, which you can think of as the central banker of OPEC, is letting prices fall in the hopes of killing off the competition from U.S. and Canadian shale oil. The question, then, is: Who will blink first?

At first blush, you might think that Middle Eastern oil producers have the upper hand. Their oil requires relatively little investment to get out of the ground; it's not  (go to article)

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With cheap gas, R.I. drivers save and agencies gain

Providence Journal -- BY ALEX KUFFNER
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — The slump in gasoline prices is turning out to be good news for Rhode Island in more ways than one.
There’s the obvious savings for drivers that come from having to pay much less to fuel up their vehicles. Consider that the average price of self-service gas in Rhode Island was down on Friday to $2.11 a gallon, a staggering drop of $1.38 from a year ago, according to the state Office of Energy Resources. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2009.

But there’s also been a benefit to the state from those lower prices. Revenues are up slightly, with a sustained increase over the past few months in state gasoline tax receipts, according to figures compiled by the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. For the six months from July to December — a  (go to article)

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$2 gasoline: Good times keep rolling at the pump

Detroit News -- At some point this will end, perhaps even soon. The price of gasoline will not fall to zero.

But for the first time since 2009, most Americans are paying less than $2 a gallon. Just three months ago, experts were shocked when it fell under $3.

According to fuel forecaster GasBuddy.com, motorists in Michigan are seeing the greatest savings nationwide; on average they’re paying $1.36 less today than they paid one year ago.

On Friday, the average price per gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $1.93.

“It’s crazy,” said Michael Noel, an economics professor at Texas Tech University who studies oil and gasoline prices. “But for consumers it’s very, very good.”

Consumers and the economies of the U.S. and most of the rest of the world are basking in the lowest prices for  (go to article)

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Volvo launches 'Personal Technicians' program to improve customer relations

GasBuddy Blog -- Volvo is getting back to basics.  As a result, Volvo owners will have their own personal technician when they bring their car in for service or a repair, thanks to a new pilot program launching later this year at six Volvo dealerships.The aim is to woo back Volvo owners who take their car to an independent garage when the warranty is expired, mainly because of the personal service those garages provide."We have lost so much business to these personal technicians" at these independent shops, Tony Nicolosi, Volvo Cars of North America CEO, told Edmunds.com. "They call them 'my guy' and they have that personal relationship. And they are going into the shop with them, watching them work on the car." For many of us repairs at dealerships are never that easy... [AND]

Image From ..karpvolvo.comInstead of talking to an intermediary who isn't a specialist when the car is dropped off, the Volvo owners will be able to talk directly to the service technician who w  (go to article)

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Full air-pollution test results due from Lima oil-refinery blast

dispatch.com -- In the hours after an explosion at a Lima oil refinery on Jan. 10, government regulators, local emergency-management officials and the company that operates the refinery were quick to test the air for toxins.

Crude oil can contain chemicals that cause health problems ranging from nosebleeds to cancer, and the monitors that went up near the refinery about 90 miles northwest of Columbus tested for some of the chemicals.

Tests run by the U.S. EPA, Allen County Emergency Management Agency and refinery operator Husky Energy showed no contaminants. Those tests looked for some of the most toxic chemicals in oil, including benzene, which can cause leukemia.

“We ended up having 85 samples taken through the time that the fire was going on, and all of those came back zeroes,” said Russ Decker, dir  (go to article)

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UBC professors to vote on fossil-fuel divestment

theglobeandmail.com -- Inspired by their students, professors at the University of British Columbia are set to begin voting next week on whether to ask the institution to divest its $1.2-billion endowment of any oil and gas stocks.

Last month, Concordia became the first Canadian university to commit to divesting when it took $5-million out of its $130-million endowment to see whether it could get comparable returns from socially responsible and environmentally sustainable investments. But campaign organizers at UBC say their institution could play a pivotal role in the Canadian movement by divesting of roughly $100-million at a time when slumping oil prices mean the move makes financial sense.

..“We need to act now,” said Dr. Hoberg. “This issue is particularly powerful [for professors] because we teach young  (go to article)

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TD expert tells Canadian oil producers to brace for a second shock

The Globe and Mail - OTTAWA -- Canada’s oil producers are being told to brace for more bad news, even as they struggle to cope with a collapse that has driven prices down by 60% from their peak last Jun
With global production continuing to exceed demand, crude prices are set to head lower and WTI should average just $41 in the 1st half of this year, TD economist said in a report Fri. She expects WTI prices to sink below $40 as bulging inventories weigh on the market in the next few months
“Oil prices are likely follow more of a U-shaped recovery pattern than the V-shaped pattern that typically follows such sharp price declines. The U.S. benchmark to average just $53 in the 2nd half of the year, and $65 next year
Crude prices fell another 70 cents Fri to $45.60 and lost more than $3 on the week amid further evidence that  (go to article)

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Some homes near Montana oil spill report dark ooze after flushing taps

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/24/us-usa-oilspill-montana-idUSKBN0KX04T20150124?rpc=401 -- Residents of a Montana town whose water supply was tainted by an oil pipeline rupture last week got the all-clear on Friday to turn taps back on, though some reported brown or black material spurting from faucets even after their pipes were flushed.

Drinking supplies for some 6,000 people in and around the community of Glendive became contaminated last Saturday when an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil was spilled into the Yellowstone River from a pipeline breach several miles upstream from the northeastern Montana town.

Initial testing of Glendive's water, which is drawn from the river, showed levels of benzene, a cancer-causing constituent of petroleum, well above levels considered safe for human health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Results of subsequent testing...  (go to article)

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Oil Falls to Lowest Since '09 as Saudis Signal Continuity

Kazinform -- Oil fell to the lowest in almost six years on speculation the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia won't signal any change in strategy for the world's largest crude exporter.
U.S. benchmark oil futures slid 1.6 percent reversing an initial gain of as much as 3.1 percent. Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who succeeds Abdullah on the throne, said he would maintain his predecessor's policies. The kingdom will not cut production to boost prices because other producers would fill in the gap, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud said. U.S. crude inventories rose the most since 2001 last week, according to a government report on Thursday.

"There already has been a pretty well established succession plan so it's not a big deal" said Kyle Cooper director of commodities research at IAF Advisors...  (go to article)

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Toyota not at fault, expert says, but attorney says he's biased

Star Tribune -- For Toyota, Karl Stopschinski is the company’s crown jewel in a federal trial in Minneapolis, a savvy, meticulous engineer who has conducted an elaborate investigation and road tests to prove that its 1996 Camry is not responsible for three deaths and multiple injuries in a tragic car crash in St. Paul nearly nine years ago.

But for the lawyers of the families of the deceased, the injured and the driver of the Camry, Stopschinski is a one-sided, high-paid hired gun who will do whatever it takes to convince a jury that the Camry had no defects, no matter how compelling the evidence otherwise.

He was closely cross-examined on Thursday and Friday by the lead attorney for the driver, Koua Fong Lee, and the families, and at times it felt like high theater.

Bob Hilliard, a soft-spoken Texas l  (go to article)

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Exxon gets $1 million penalty for Yellowstone River spill

CBS News -- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials have issued a $1 million penalty against Exxon Mobil Corp. for safety violations stemming from a pipeline rupture in 2011 that spilled 63,000 gallons of crude into Montana's Yellowstone River.

The Department of Transportation order issued Friday reduces the penalty as originally proposed by about $700,000. That comes after the Irving, Texas-based oil company challenged some claims that it didn't do enough to prevent the accident.

The pipeline break during summer flooding near Laurel left oil along an 85-mile stretch of the Yellowstone, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a cleanup that took months.

Safety regulators said in part that Exxon Mobil had failed to adequately heed warnings that its 20-year-old Silvertip Pipeline was at risk.

The c  (go to article)

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Rep. DeFazio Blasts U.S. DOT for Failing to Address Rail Tank Car Safety

ENEWSPF -- Today, Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging him to take immediate action to address rail tank car safety and other significant pipeline and hazardous materials safety hazards.


“Despite numerous incidents involving the transportation of crude oil and other flammable materials by rail, subsequent NTSB safety recommendations, and an industry petition for new tank car design standards, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) failed to take action until a train transporting crude oil in DOT-111 tank cars in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killed 47 people and completely destroyed the town center,” said DeFazio. “Here we are almost...  (go to article)

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Progress made, challenges remain since Casselton crash

Wadena Pioneer Journal --
CASSELTON, N.D. — Tim McLean was fixing a truck on his farm when his pager beeped to summon him to duty as a volunteer firefighter.

As McLean drove to the scene, the billowing black smoke visible from miles away told him he was about to confront the worst fire he'd seen in his 29 years of service — an oil train had derailed a mile west of here on Dec. 30, 2013.

Once on scene, there was little McLean and the other emergency responders could do, knowing the crew had escaped safely and no lives or property were threatened, but stand back and watch.

Each time a ruptured tanker exploded and shot flames hundreds of feet in the sky, the firefighters felt a pulse of heat on their faces. Hours later, the fire burned itself out.

Over a year later, reverberations from the derailment  (go to article)

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‘Sexy’ No Longer, Solar May See More Consolidation, Hanwha Says

Bloomberg -- Tumbling oil prices will maintain pressure on the solar industry to consolidate by drying up investor interest in building new factories, according to an executive who just carried out a $1.2 billion merger.

Dong Kwan Kim, chief commercial officer of Hanwha SolarOne Co., said the industry has been “unfairly penalized for oil prices” and that the company that ranks among the top three panel makers may return to profit this year for the first time since 2010.
 (go to article)

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Residents oppose toll lanes on 2 southern Dallas highways

Dallas Morning News -- A proposal to add toll lanes along two southern Dallas highways has run into vocal opposition.

Hoping to reduce congestion along stretches of Interstate 35E and U.S. Highway 67, the Texas Department of Transportation wants to steer more traffic onto what are now car pool lanes — and have people pay for the privilege.  (go to article)

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Nova Bus to put new hybrids through Quebec City winter

Montreal Gazette -- Nova Bus will be putting a low-floor hybrid vehicle through several months of testing in QC City’s tough climate and topography. But this version of hybrid bus will be able to switch from diesel to diesel-electric and also to fully electric mode
Each propulsion system will be tested on specific routes and the E Series fully electrical technology supplied by BAE Systems will further enhance the green bus’s operational performance, the St-Eustache firm owned by Volvo said Fri
Nova will be N Am’s first bus builder to offer the E series technology. The optimization test in partnership with the Réseau de transport will boost our research into full transport electrification
The vehicle has been successfully tested in Montreal already, but the workout in QC City is designed to prove its favorable  (go to article)

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Marathon paying for refinery dust cleanup

Houston Chronicle -- Marathon Petroleum has handed out at least $280,000 in cash and is paying to have cars and houses cleaned in Bayou Vista after an unusually large cloud of dust belched from its Texas City refinery and drifted onto the small Galveston County town last week.

As of midweek, the company's hotline had fielded about 900 calls from concerned residents. Nearly 700 vehicles were washed and the dust was cleaned from the outside of more than 125 residences and businesses, Marathon spokeswoman Sid Barth said. Marathon also handed out 700 cash cards worth $400 as an alternative to cleaning, she said.

A valve in a cracking unit malfunctioned at 8 a.m. Jan. 13, sending 216,480 pounds of sand-like substance into the air and causing the unit to shut down, according to an incident report that Marathon fil  (go to article)

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Why Have Fuel Surcharges Lingered as Gas Prices Have Fallen?

NBC -- e death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz brings up plenty of questions for analysts about what will happen to energy prices, given the country's role in the global oil market. For consumers, the question is simpler: Why haven't lower gas prices made fuel surcharges gone away?

Although prices at the pump have plummeted, consumers can still pay a surcharge when they ship a package, fly internationally or even get a lift across town from a taxi or car service. Experts say there are a few reasons why.

The wholesale price of diesel fuel is roughly half of what it was last spring, said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service. "And yet, the retail prices for diesel fuel have dropped by nowhere near what's happened in wholesale," he said.

Consumer  (go to article)

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After Oil Spill, Company Says New Line Will Be Safer

AP via Downstream Today -- A Wyoming company said Friday it will replace a pipeline that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into a river in Montana with a new line buried more deeply to protect against future accidents.

The Jan. 17 spill into the Yellowstone River contaminated the water supply for 6,000 residents of Glendive in eastern Montana. The city's water was certified safe to drink on Friday after tests showed it no longer had harmful levels of benzene, a cancer-causing component of crude.

The Poplar Pipeline will stay shut down from Glendive to near the Canada border until the damaged section is replaced, said Bill Salvin, spokesman for owner Bridger Pipeline.

The 340-mile line delivers crude from the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana to a terminal in Baker, Montana, about 55 miles south of G  (go to article)

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'Earthquake swarm' near Texas fracking sites alarms residents

cbc news -- Is fracking to blame?

Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock and shale with millions of litres of high-pressure water mixed with chemicals to help unlock the oil and gas underground. It has led to an impressively bankable energy boom in Texas and other parts of the United States.
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State Senator Re-Introduces Bill for Snow, Ice Removal from Trucks

Patch -- Announced yesterday, Pennsylvania State Senator Lisa Boscola reintroduced legislation that would require snow and ice to be removed from trucks before driving.

Under the proposed legislation, truck drivers would be required to “make all reasonable efforts” to remove snow and ice from their vehicles and tractor-trailers before driving, according to a news release from Senator Boscola. If the built-up ice or snow on the roof of the truck is determined to potentially “pose a threat to persons or property,” the driver of the vehicle could face a fine between $25 and $75, the news release said.
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The Environmental Protection Agency Funded Diesel Experiments on Children

ViceNews -- A conservative environmental law group with a history of criticizing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), launched a new attack on the agency this week, releasing a trove of documents showing that the EPA experimented on young children with diesel fuel.

The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), previously called the American Traditions Institute, is a political advocacy group with ties to the energy industry*. It has used public records laws liberally in the past to criticize climate scientists from environmental organizations like the EPA, the Sierra Club, and others.

The group used open public records laws to gather and then publish 172 pages of grant applications, progress reports, and research findings that shows that the EPA and National Institutes of Health f  (go to article)

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'What's going on?' Public hearing on high gas prices.

BurlingtonFreePress -- MONTPELIER – Lawmakers gathered in a meeting room here Thursday night to discuss whether anything can be done about the high price of gas in Chittenden and Franklin counties.

Rep Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, lead sponsor of a bill that would give the attorney general more "tools" to monitor the gas business in the state, began the meeting by pointing out that the Burlington area had the second highest profit margin for gas in the country in the latest GasBuddy.com report.

Pearson also referered to a recent story in the Burlington Free Press that reported the profit margin in the Burlington area is about twice the national average.

"My constituents have routinely asked me, what's going on?" Pearson said. "Something is going on. What it is exactly remains to be seen."

The main components  (go to article)

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US rig count falls for 8th straight week, down 43 units

O&G Journal -- The US drilling rig count fell 43 units to settle at 1,633 rigs working during the week ended Jan. 23, Baker Hughes reported.

That total is the lowest since Aug. 6, 2010, and 144 units fewer compared with this week a year ago. The count has now fallen in 8 consecutive weeks, losing 287 units during that time.

Forty-two of the 43 units that went offline this week were land-based, bringing that total to 1,568. Land rigs have plunged 176 units over the last 3 weeks. The other unit to fall was drilling in inland waters, bringing that total to 11. Offshore rigs were unchanged at 54.

Oil rigs plunged 49 units to 1,317. Gas rigs gained 6 units to 316.

Following the usual pattern during the rig count decline over the 2 months, Texas and North Dakota reported the most losses in the major oil- a  (go to article)

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America's first offshore wind project dealt major setback after utilities bolt

Fox News -- An ambitious and controversial push to erect America's first offshore wind farm has been dealt what some call a potentially "fatal" blow after two utility companies pulled out of commitments to buy energy from the lagging operation.

The $2.6 billion Cape Wind project, a private operation benefiting from millions in federal subsidies, is attempting to pioneer offshore wind energy in pursuit of an eco-friendly, sustainable energy supply. Wind turbines would be installed off the coast of Massachusetts' Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound.

But Cape Wind is now in limbo after utility companies terminated huge purchase agreements. They pulled out after the project failed to meet two requirements by Dec. 31: to secure financing and begin construction.
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What You Can Learn from Oakland's Raw ALPR Data

Electronic Frontier Foundation -- The rub here is that law enforcement agencies like those in LA, San Diego, and Oakland aren’t using ALPR for targeted investigations, but rather running a dragnet on all drivers in their jurisdictions.  (go to article)

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Gov't Adds Emergency Brake Features to Safety Device List

Associated Press (AP) Published by ECN -- The U.S. government's auto safety agency wants to add two automatic emergency braking devices to its list of recommended safety features for new-car buyers.

But it's unclear when or if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require automakers to put the devices on all new vehicles.

The agency plans to add crash-imminent braking and dynamic brake support to its recommendations. Crash-imminent braking automatically stops a car if sensors detect a possible crash, while dynamic braking adds force to the brakes if the driver isn't pressing hard enough to avoid a crash.  (go to article)

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Gov't adds emergency brake features to safety device list

Associated Press -- The U.S. government's auto safety agency wants to add two automatic emergency braking devices to its list of recommended safety features for new-car buyers.

But it's unclear when or if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require automakers to put the devices on all new vehicles.

The agency plans to add crash-imminent braking and dynamic brake support to its recommendations. Crash-imminent braking automatically stops a car if sensors detect a possible crash, while dynamicbraking adds force to the brakes if the driver isn't pressing hard enough to avoid a crash.
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You Can Sleep In The Trunk Of A Tesla For $85 A Night On Airbnb

Business Insider -- If you've always wanted to try out a Tesla Model S but can't afford the steep price tag, this Airbnb listing may be your chance.

A man from Phoenix is charging car enthusiasts $85 to spend the night in his $118,000 Tesla.

Owner Steve Sasman has outfitted the car's trunk with a twin airbed, linens, and remote-controlled candles to set the mood.

"I've already slept in this thing three times so why not let other people do it?" Sasman said to CBS5.

The sleeping area looks quite snug.

According to the listing, tall people need not apply.

"Sorry, NO NBA Players allowed," Sasman writes. "Despite my love for basketball, the Tesla is just too small for anyone over 6' 6". Please...stop asking."

The Tesla hotel offers some awesome perks: "Since the Tesla uses NO gas the Tesla's A/C or Heat  (go to article)

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

The Register -- "... has global warming been stalled for the last fifteen-years-plus, or not?

"If you think it hasn't, and you're seeking to convince ordinary folk without advanced knowledge in the area, it is a very powerful thing to be able to say "last year was the warmest on record".

"If on the other hand you contend that global warming has been on hold for over a decade, saying "last year was almost exactly as hot as 2005 and 2010" fits exactly with the story you are trying to tell.

"...given NASA/NOAA/UKMet's attitude this year ("hottest on record") compared to 2013 ("one more year of numbers isn't significant"), the idea that they aren't actively pushing a warmist agenda - the idea that they are in some way unbiased and objective about all this - is quite plainly rubbish.  (go to article)

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Deflate-gate at the pump may soon become inflate-gate

GasBuddy Blog -- DEFLATE-GATE... yes, we're going there. You've been enjoying the deflating gas prices the last few months, but unlike the footballs used in the Patriots vs. Colts game, there's almost no air left.

The national average dropped overnight... barely... and is sputtering closer to the $1.999/gal mark that GasBuddy was hoping we'd get to, but there's almost no air left! Prices have begun to inch higher in some communities where prices are lowest. Gone are the days of the cheapest gas station in the U.S. priced in the $1.30s or $1.40s per gallon. This morning's lowest price was a whopping $1.51/gallon- in Michigan of all places....  (go to article)

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