Study outlines path for U.S. ‘Energiewende’


In just 15 years, renewable energy could power most of the U.S. @bberwyn photo.

Huge cuts in greenhouse emissions possible by 2030

Staff Report

Germany’s deliberate transition to renewable energy — the Energiewende — has made headlines around the world, but the U.S. also has the potential to  make a big shift toward renewable energy.

Solar, wind and other weather-driven renewable resources could supply most of the nation’s electricity by 2030 and potentially cut greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by up to 78 percent,  according to a new study by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado. Continue reading

Feds eye new methane rules for public lands


Feds aim to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production on public lands.

Common sense measures to help meet climate targets

Staff Report

Proposed federal rules could help slow the release of potent heat-trapping methane emissions from gas production on public and Native American lands.

Between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than five million homes for a year. States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted. According to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report, taxpayers lose up to $23 million annually in royalty revenue. Continue reading

Colorado regulators eye new fracking rules

Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Oil and gas drilling near schools and homes in Firestone, Colorado. Photo courtesy Shane Davis, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter.

State commission will meet Jan. 25 to take action on proposed regulations

Staff Report

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is set to take some modest steps to strengthen its oversight of oil and gas development in Colorado by considering new rules that would require more cooperation between fracking operators and local communities.

The commission will meet Jan. 25 to consider rules that would ensure that fossil fuel companies provide earlier notice to local governments, as well as an opportunity for local officials to work with operators on the location of large oil and gas facilities adjacent to communities. Continue reading

Appeals court rejects bid to block EPA Clean Power Plan

States free to move ahead with energy transition plans

Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fossil fuel power plants like Craig Station in northwest Colorado will have to clean up their act under the Clean Power Plan. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

A federal appeals court this week rejected a last-ditch effort by fossil fuel companies  to block implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at curbing heat-trapping pollution from power plants.

An anti-environmental coalition of states and fossil fuel companies had sought an emergency stay in federal court, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today denied that request, stating that the petitioners’s claims didn’t meet the legal standard for emergency court action. Continue reading

Feds hit pause button on public lands coal leasing


Coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s fuel.

Program review to take close look at climate impacts of fossil fuel development

Staff Report

The federal government will halt new coal leases on public lands pending a thorough review of the the program, including environmental impacts. Part of the proposal is to set up a public database to tally up carbon emissions  from fossil fuels developed on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management would also be required to post requests for leases and for royalty reductions, and to figure ways to better  capture of waste mine methane, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced this week. Continue reading

Shell wants to hang on to Arctic Ocean drilling leases


Shell isn’t ready completely give up on the idea of drilling for fossil fuel in the Arctic Ocean.

Company seeks extension from appeals board

Staff Report

*Read more Summit Voice stories on Shell’s ill-fated Arctic drilling program here.

It was big news when Shell Oil in September announced it was shutting down its contested Arctic drilling program, but the company apparently doesn’t want give up completely. Just a couple of months after the big news, Shell sought at least extend the life of its leases in the region.

Without an extension, the company’s Beaufort Sea leases are set to expire in 2017, and its Chukchi Sea leases in 2020. The U.S. Interior Department has already denied the extension, but company is now challenging that decision with the Department of Interior Board of Land Appeals. Continue reading

Coal billionaire reaching into taxpayer pockets with refund request for defunct mine


A federal handout to Bill Koch?

Feds propose multimillion dollar fossil fuel rebate

Staff Report

Against a backdrop of falling coal prices and the recent bankruptcy declaration of Arch Coal, the federal government is proposing to refund as much as $14 million dollars to Bill Koch. The billionaire claims he is entitled to the money because of “adverse geologic and engineering conditions” at the now-closed Oxbow Mine, near Somerset, along the Gunnison River in western Colorado.

The proposed refund would be structured as a royalty rate reduction from 8 percent to 5 percent, retroactive to 2012, according to a December letter from the federal Bureau of Land Management to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Continue reading


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