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July 16, 2013 | By Shan Li
The fiercely debated Keystone XL pipeline could raise gasoline prices in the Midwest by as much as 40 cents a gallon, according to a new report by Consumer Watchdog. That's because the pipeline would allow oil companies in Canada to export crude oil to a range of markets in the U.S. and abroad, leading to possible increases in the prices paid in areas that are already heavily dependent on that oil, according to the Santa Monica consumer group's report released Tuesday. If approved, the Keystone XL would carry crude oil along a 1,700-mile route from the massive tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
July 12, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
As Canadian investigators sift through the gruesome wreckage of an oil train derailment and explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, the deadly crash has intensified a debate among environmentalists and energy-independence advocates as to whether it is safer to ship oil by rail or by pipeline. The circuitous route the oil involved in the accident was taking to its ultimate destination - U.S. consumers - also illustrates the conundrum faced by North American producers eager to get their crude oil to a far-flung network of specialized refineries within easy onward delivery range of the intended markets.
June 28, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - The type of crude oil that would be pumped through the Keystone XL pipeline is no more likely to corrode pipelines or heighten the chance of leaks than other kinds of petroleum, according to a study by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The finding rebuts one concern raised by opponents of the 1,700-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline. They have long argued that pipelines are more prone to corrosion and leaks if they carry diluted bitumen, the tar-like substance that would be extracted in Alberta mostly by strip mining, mixed with chemicals and pumped at high pressure to refineries.
June 25, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON -- President Obama set a high bar for approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, declaring for the first time that he would let the project go forward only if it does not “significantly increase” emissions of greenhouse gases. The pledge came in a speech on climate policy in which Obama laid out a series of executive actions his administration will take over the next several years to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that are major causes of climate change.
June 25, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
President Obama laid out an ambitious campaign to address climate change Tuesday, mapping a course that would bypass Congress to cut emissions from hundreds of coal-fired electric power plants and setting the stage for a possible rejection of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. The effort could shape Obama's presidential legacy and fulfill a key promise of his 2008 campaign. It also could plunge him into a bruising and potentially costly political battle. His plan, which relies heavily on actions the executive branch can take on its own, would put the U.S. on track to significantly cut its greenhouse gas output by the end of the decade.
June 13, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department and the state of Arkansas filed suit against the oil giant ExxonMobil over a March 29 pipeline rupture that spilled 210,000 gallons of oil into a residential neighborhood and waterways in the small town of Mayflower. The spill prompted evacuations, killed wildlife, polluted wetlands and a lake, and stirred health complaints from people living near the rupture site, north of Little Rock. In the suit filed in federal district court, the Justice Department seeks civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act. The Arkansas attorney general is also pursuing civil penalties for violations of the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act and the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act. The state also seeks to have ExxonMobil pay for all cleanup and removal costs under the federal Oil Pollution Act. The ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline split open just as the Obama administration entered the final phases of review for the far bigger, controversial Keystone XL pipeline, handing ammunition to opponents who say that Keystone's path from Canada through major rivers such as the Platte and the Missouri and over the Ogallala aquifer, the main freshwater source for the Great Plains, could lead to a catastrophe.
June 5, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
MAYFLOWER, Ark. - On warm spring evenings, North Starlite Drive buzzed with children. They cycled around the cul-de-sac at the end of the wide, block-long road, shot baskets in driveways and inevitably wound up on the swing set and trampoline behind the Bartletts' large brick house. These days, there are no children. Yellow police tape stretches across the turns from the main road onto the street. All 22 families who lived there are gone. About 2:45 p.m. on March 29, an underground ExxonMobil oil pipeline ruptured in the woods behind the cul-de-sac.
May 17, 2013 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Obama said Friday he wanted to put more Americans to work by slashing the amount of time it takes to grant federal approval for big job-creating projects. But Obama's choice of venue for his remarks - a Baltimore company that makes mining and pumping equipment - provided fodder for Republicans. They noted that the company president had, just the day before, testified on Capitol Hill in support of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama administration has delayed for years over environmental concerns.
May 11, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Almost 21 million residential customers of Southern California Gas Co. will see their monthly bills increase by about 5%, or $1.94, now that state utility regulators have approved a four-year plan to guarantee revenue collected by the nation's largest natural gas distribution network. The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday granted the unit of San Diego-based Sempra Energy a rate increase totaling $1.95 billion for 2012 through 2015. The amount is $84.83 million more than current revenue but $154 million less than the company asked for at the start of a lengthy legal proceeding, the commission said.
April 22, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department's environmental impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes. In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had "environmental objections" to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project.
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