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Donald Trump’s Energy Whisperers

Donald Trump at a campaign stop at the Oklahoma State Fair in September 2015.

Donald Trump is wooing energy interests with support for oil and gas development, a rollback of federal regulations and a promise to bring back coal. His chief energy advisors are well-known in energy circles: North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer and Harold Hamm of Continental Resources. Continue Reading →

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Bad Handwriting, Wrong Address: Verifying Signatures On Colorado Initiatives

Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State's office, tweeted out this photo when backers of oil and gas ballot initiatives turned in their signatures.

For weeks now, workers have been sifting through hundreds of thousands of signatures to approve measures for the November ballot. They’re down to approving the last two: a set of highly controversial initiatives that together would restrict oil and gas development in Colorado. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office walks Inside Energy through the tedious process of counting and verifying hundreds of thousands of signatures.
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Pipeline Battle Draws Hundreds To Remote North Dakota

Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network voices his opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline while law enforcement monitors the protest on the street in front of the North Dakota Capitol. Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind offered him a megaphone to amplify his voice.

A battle over a major new oil pipeline is gaining momentum on the ground while it plays out in court. It's drawing hundreds of Native Americans from tribes throughout the United States to rural North Dakota. They’re hoping to prevent the pipeline from going under the Missouri River next to an Indian reservation. Continue Reading →

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Coal Clean Up, Texas Style

Three Oaks Mine is permitted to operate on nearly 16,000 acres.

As coal companies go bankrupt there is growing concern and uncertainty over who will pay to clean up those mines. But Texas has been there before. In 2014, the state's largest coal company filed for bankruptcy with over $1 billion in outstanding cleanup costs. Now, more than two years later, this case is held up an example of what works.
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Pipeline Building Boom Raises Safety Concerns

A first responder walks by smoldering wood and a burning retaining wall near a home following a natural gas explosion at a pipeline complex, on Friday, April 29, 2016, in Salem Township, Pa. The explosion caused flames to shoot above nearby treetops in the largely rural area, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, and prompted authorities to evacuate businesses nearby.

On the morning of April 29, a natural gas transmission line exploded in a field in Salem Township in western Pennsylvania. The blast was so powerful it ripped a 12-foot crater into the landscape, burned a section of the field with a quarter-mile radius and threw a 25-foot section of the 30-inch steel pipeline 100 feet away. At the time of the explosion, a 26-year-old man was in his house, a few hundred feet away. He was badly burned, and his home destroyed. When local fire chief Bob Rosatti arrived at the scene, the flames were so hot, he had to stay in his truck. “They were massive—I would say 300 feet at the least,” Rosatti says. “That was the biggest fireball I’d ever seen in my life. Continue Reading →

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Coal Companies Have Mined An Area The Size Of NYC, Now They Have To Clean It Up

coal mine sat 2

Glance at a satellite image of northeast Wyoming, and you can’t miss the coal mines. Even zoomed out, the square-cornered grey blotches stand out—stretching north to south over more than 70 miles. But if all goes according to plan, someday, when the mining is done, those scars will disappear, erased from the landscape by intensive reclamation efforts. Coal companies are on the hook for that cleanup, but the industry’s recent collapse has raised questions about whether they will actually be able to meet those obligations. Continue Reading →

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Why Everyone In Colorado Is Fighting Over Your Signature

Chris Goodwin is being paid $13 an hour to collect signatures for two oil and gas related ballot initiatives.

In Colorado, the race is on to gather enough signatures to get two controversial oil and gas related initiatives onto the ballot by the August 8th deadline. Contributions to groups both for and against these measures have skyrocketed over the past few weeks. Campaigns on the ground are heating up. Continue Reading →

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Coal Dependent School Budgets In Crisis

Twentymile Mine in Oak Creek, Colo., is owned by Peabody Energy and employs about 470 people. Peabody filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

Cheaper natural gas has dealt a blow to the coal industry -- and to Routt County school district. Before the district opened an all-day preschool in the small town of Yampa, there wasn't an affordable day care program for this mostly working class community. When Peabody Energy, owner of Routt County's Twentymile Mine, went into bankruptcy and failed to pay property taxes, it would have been the first thing to go. But the school district hasn't let that happen. Continue Reading →

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