Policy & Enforcement Briefing: LNG Explosion, Duke in Court, Another IPCC Study

by | Apr 7, 2014

An explosion at Williams Co.’s liquefied natural gas processing site near Plymouth, Wash., which injured five workers and caused evacuations in a two-mile radius, could spur debate about safe LNG handling for cities increasingly reliant on the fuel, Reuters reports. Such incidents are rare among the dozens of US LNG plants and storage sites, and at least a dozen new LNG export facilities are seeking government approval.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on energy and power will convene tomorrow for opening statements on H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, and will reconvene Wednesday to consider the legislation. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote the bill, which aims to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to US allies.

A draft UN study, to be approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Berlin this week, says nations will have to make drastic emissions cuts to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. Renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture will need to triple or quadruple their share of world energy supplies by 2050, the report says, and this shift will cost between 2 and 6 percent of world output, Reuters reports. A separate IPCC report released last week said climate change is already affecting every continent.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway on Friday denied Duke Energy’s request to shield records in a civil suit over groundwater pollution from 33 North Carolina coal ash dumps, but said Duke could seal some records on a case-by-case basis. Duke had argued that public disclosure in the state case could hurt the company in a separate, federal criminal investigation.

Poor risk assessment, as well as a desire to avoid millions of dollars in taxes, led to Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic rig running aground in 2012, a US Coast Guard report has found, according to The Hill.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a legislative hearing tomorrow on H.R. 4315, which would amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require online publication of the basis for determinations that species are endangered or threatened; H.R. 4316, which aims to improve the disclosure of certain expenditures under the act; H.R. 4317, which require bases of determination to be disclosed to the states; and H.R. 4318, which would conform citizen suits under the act with other existing law.

The House Natural Resources Committee’s subpanel on energy and mineral resources will hold on oversight hearing tomorrow on “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Women and Minorities.”

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