While the head of the EPA goes on a tour of 25 states, the agency is rolling back a host of environmental regulations — including trying to delay implementation of Obama-era methane rules at oil and gas wells. Some residents and environmental groups are taking action, concerned that methane leaks lead to poor air quality.
There is a lot of natural gas locked underground in Western Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Trouble is, it can be tough to get that gas to market. Enter President Donald Trump. The administration is signaling that a natural gas terminal in coastal Oregon denied a critical permit under the Obama administration could have new life.
A surge in production in the Permian Basin of west Texas—-already the nation’s highest producing oilfield — is extracting more crude oil than refiners in Texas can handle. But now, producers in the Permian have new outlets for that oil with economic implications hundreds of miles away from the flatlands of west Texas. Based on crude oil export projections, port officials say they expect to add 5000 direct and indirect jobs in 2017.
“This is not a bubble, this is real growth,” said vessel traffic controller Mike Stineman, as he scanned real time navigation charts indicating vessel traffic at the port. Radio chatter between vessels, the Coast Guard and the Vessel Control Center provided a non-stop soundtrack of the the pulse of the port. A longtime ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted last year.
A changing climate may be bad PR for fossil fuels, but it could help their bottom line. Two major coal companies released earnings reports in late July stating how higher temperatures could mean more energy use, which could ease some coal stockpiles.
Solar energy has had a great decade. One estimate puts the industry’s growth at 1600-percent over the last eight years. The last year though? Not so good, especially for rooftop solar companies. The market for residential solar systems has taken a hit, with bankruptcies abound from the likes of SunEdison, Sungevity, Suniva, and at least one company not starting with “sun” — SolarWorld.
Millions of gallons of salty wastewater are produced each day wherever there’s oil and gas production. Most states inject wastewater deep underground, but several like Wyoming use above-ground wastewater ponds, too. Regulators now want to make sure the state will not be left scrambling to pay for the pond’s cleanup if companies shutter.
Salty wastewater from oil wells was once dumped into pits dug into farmers’ fields. Over the years, it seeped into neighboring land, rendering it infertile. Decades later, North Dakota’s left wondering how to clean up this toxic legacy.
The wind energy industry is growing worldwide, and so is the global competition between turbine-makers. That battle is now playing out in Wyoming, a state with some of the best wind potential in the nation. To get an edge, a Chinese company is trying to win over some of the state’s scant pool of workers through free training to become a wind turbine technician.
After a big downturn since mid-2014, oil prices have been better the last year for drillers. Not great, but better, and high enough that oil companies are expanding their operations here in the US. Of all the problems to have, though, companies aren’t getting as much oil out of the ground as they want because they can’t find enough workers for their highly paid jobs.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting