What We're Watching the Week of Aug. 29

Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Here are some of the top stories, events and other environmental controversies on our radar this week.

White House Calculates Social Costs of Methane, Nitrous Oxide

A White House working group has calculated social damage estimates for two more greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide. Rachel Leven has a story coming.

Drilling Restrictions Fail to Make Ballot in Colorado

Two proposed constitutional amendments that would have imposed stringent new restrictions on oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in Colorado have failed to qualify for the November ballot, the Colorado Secretary of State announced today. Tripp Baltz has the story.

Exxon Mobile and Climate Change

With an investigation into Exxon Mobil’s handling of climate change data heating up among several state attorney generals, the oil industry is taking the offense. The American Petroleum Institute plans a press call Tuesday to tout the oil and gas industry’s role in reducing carbon emissions, according to a press release that notes energy-related emissions are near 20-year lows. Ari Natter is covering.

Trends in Offshore Oil Accidents

Alan Kovski interviewed Doug Morris of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement about the problems of spotting trends in data on offshore oil and gas wells –- specifically in terms of events that involve losses of well control.

Industry Groups Are Talking TSCA

Industry groups are telling the Environmental Protection Agency that its chemical prioritzation rule must describe how data quality provisions of amended TSCA Section 26 will be used to distinguish chemicals that are a high-versus-low priority for risk evaluation. Pat Rizzuto will have the story.

Petrochemical Plant Expansion

There’s a big upsurge in investments in petro chemicals and fertilizer in the domestic U.S. shale gas is driving the spike. Alan Kovski has a special report.

FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur Chats

During a sit-down interview with Rebecca Kern, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur discusses highlights of her six years on the commission, her views on U.S. Supreme Court decision this year that ruled in favor of FERC authority and more.

NuScale Power’s Nuclear Small Reactor Technology

Rebecca Kern takes a look at NuScale Power’s small modular reactor technology. Commercialization plans for the technology include a plant with a footprint ¼ the size and 1/3 the cost of current light-water reactor plants.

Sen. Boxer Pushes EPA to Review Asbestos Under New Chemicals Law

The EPA must lay the groundwork to take action against asbestos by flagging the substance for review later this year, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) says in a says in a letter to the agency. Sam Pearson is on it.


California Bars State Funding of New Bulk Coal Terminals

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a measure into law Friday that prohibits the California Transportation Commission from funding any new bulk coal terminals in the state beginning 2017. Carolyn Whetzel is reporting.