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U.S. DOE Weekly Petroleum Status Report for Sept. 12 (Text)

Bloomberg -- U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 16.3 million barrels per day during the week ending September 12, 2014, 28,000 barrels per day less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 93.0% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 8.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 493,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 7.8 million barrels per day, 3.7% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week average  (go to article)

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In Effort To Fight Pollution, Beijing Plans To Ban All Coal Use By 2020

HuffPo -- China's smog-plagued capital has announced plans to ban the use of coal by the end of 2020 as the country fights deadly levels of pollution, especially in major cities.

Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted the plan on its website Monday, saying the city would instead prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.

The official Xinhua News Agency said coal accounted for a quarter of Beijing's energy consumption in 2012 and 22 percent of the fine particles floating in the city's air. Motor vehicles, industrial production and general dust also contributed to pollution in the 21 million-person city.
 (go to article)

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EIA: Crude oil inventories decrease; gasoline inventory rises

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 
Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 3.7. million barrels to a total of 362.3 million barrels. At 362.3 million barrels, inventories are 1.4 million barrels below last year (0.4%) and are near the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels to 212.4 million barrels. At 212.4 million barrels, inventories are up 6.6 million barrels, or 1.9% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-2.5mb); Midwest (-.2mb); Gulf Coast (+0.5mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.5mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of fallin  (go to article)

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WTI Crude Falls From 2-Week High on Supplies; Brent Gains

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate crude fell from a two-week high after an industry group was said to report an increase in U.S. inventories.

WTI slid for the first time in three days. The American Petroleum Institute reported yesterday that supplies rose 3.3 million barrels last week, according to Bain Energy. The Energy Information Administration will release its inventory data today. Brent climbed as Libya halted its biggest oil field.

“The build in the API report was quite big,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “If we get a confirmation from the EIA, I won’t be surprised if WTI starts to give up more of yesterday’s gains. Brent is focusing on reports that Libya has reduced production.”  (go to article)

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Clean Transportation Is Driving Us Toward a Low-Carbon Future

HuffPo -- Here in the U.S., our transportation sector produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any other nation's entire economy, except for China and India. Two-thirds of the oil Americans use goes to fuel transportation, with 40 percent of it gassing up personal cars and trucks.

Making cars and trucks dramatically more efficient and developing alternatives to petroleum is a sea change. It is an epic transformation along the lines of switching from the horse and buggy to the horseless carriage, or from landlines to smart phones. Entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations are sniffing out opportunities. Bets are being placed. Fortunes will be made.
The smart money knows that investments that cut emissions from the transportation sector represent attractive opportunities. As nations around the  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Prices Move Lower Ahead of Inventory Data

Wall St Journal -- U.S. oil prices eased Wednesday ahead of weekly government storage data, after an industry group said that domestic oil stockpiles unexpectedly rose last week.

Analysts expect the U.S. Energy Information Administration to report a 1.2-million-barrel drawdown in oil supplies in the week ended Sept. 12, according to a Wall Street Journal survey. However, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that its own data for the same week showed a 3.3-million-barrel increase in supplies.

Light, sweet oil for October delivery recently traded down 29 cents, or 0.3%, at $94.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. benchmark "is weighed down by last night's weekly API report," said Matt Smith, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric SA, an energy-consulti  (go to article)

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Apache seeks to sell some Alberta oil properties

Reuters -- The U.S. independent oil producer continues to winnow its portfolio of international assets

It has put its Provost holdings in E-C AB on the block and that bids are due by mid-Oct. The Provost lands produce about 9,551 boepd and include a 1M acres of exploration property, according to a notice on the website of Scotia Waterous, which is handling the sale

The sale is the latest for Apache as it moves to concentrate on N Am shale fields. In Jul it said it would sell its 50% in the Kitimat LNG planned by Chevron on the Pacific Coast of N BC, along with its stake in the Wheatstone LNG in Australia

Despite the Provost sale, the company still has large land holdings in the Duvernay and Montney shale fields in W Canada as well as conventional properties in AB and SK

“We continue to streamline  (go to article)

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Price Of Gasoline Dips Below $3 Per Gallon Across Tulsa Area

Newson6.com -- A check of gas stations around Tulsa Wednesday morning shows a number stations selling gas for less than $3 a gallon.
While AAA Oklahoma is reporting the average price across the state is $3.23 a gallon, in Tulsa and Owasso, gas stations like the QuikTrip at 11th and Utica have gasoline at $2.99 a gallon.

“Demand is down and WTI crude oil continues to sell in the low-to-mid 90s on the NYMEX,” said AAA Oklahoma spokesman, Chuck Mai. “In addition, now that [gas] stations are selling the cheaper-to-produce winter-grade fuels, the stars are in alignment to bring motorists even lower pump prices this fall.”

AAA expects the national average price of gasoline to drop another 10 to 20 cents by the end of October.  (go to article)

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Strange bedfellows: Solar power meets oil drilling

CNBC -- A company that uses solar energy to recover crude has scored big financing from some major oil players—and highlights a growing niche of global oil exploration.
GlassPoint Solar last week landed a $53 million investment from Royal Dutch Shell and the sovereign investment fund of Oman for its enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology. In a twist of irony, GlassPont's technology runs on solar power, which produces steam to help pump more fossil fuel from conventional crude plays.
 (go to article)

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Senators chide freight railroads on delays

Houston Chronicle -- The delays, which escalated late last year and continued through the spring and summer, appear to be the result of too few rail cars and too much demand from shippers, officials representing the agriculture, auto and chemical industries told a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee  (go to article)

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Jim Prentice says many Alberta First Nations are behind new pipeline projects

Yahoo News -- "I can tell you that amongst the strongest allies that AB has at the table are the First Nations of this province who are in the energy business themselves and are passionate about achieving West Coast access," Jim Prentice said Tue

Achieving market access for AB oil and gas is critical. He plans to advocate for more pipelines through his role as premier, but also through his cabinet postings of aboriginal affairs and international and intergovernmental relations

Prentice wants more pipelines to help out the AB economy and to increase revenues for the government

But some experts say there is risk in putting too much emphasis on pipelines, since just about every proposal is stalled or delayed - TransCanada's Keystone XL, Enbridge's Northern Gateway, Line 9, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain  (go to article)

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Natural-Gas Futures Rise on Demand Hopes

WSJ -- Natural-gas prices climbed Monday on hopes for demand for the fuel after early-season snowstorms hit the northern Midwest. A fatal explosion over the weekend that shut down a pipeline that feeds into the delivery point for the benchmark U.S. contract also spurred bets on tighter supplies.
Natural gas for October delivery rose 7.4 cents, or 1.9%, to $3.931 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange  (go to article)

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US gas prices set to hit 4-year low, analysts say

Fox -- U.S. gas prices this fall are likely to be the cheapest nationwide in four years, thanks in part to greater U.S. crude oil production, more fuel-efficient cars and loosened environmental regulations as the warm weather gives way to autumn, analysts say.

The current GasBuddy.com national average has fallen to $3.38 a gallon, the lowest price since Feb. 22, the company said in a press release Tuesday. The company predicts U.S. average prices will fall to between $3.15 and $3.25 a gallon, and some retailers in up to 30 states could lower their prices below the $3.00 mark in time for the Christmas shopping season.  (go to article)

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'Easy Rider' bike going to auction

Associated Press -- The Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in "Easy Rider" is coming to auction.

It's one of the most recognizable motorcycles of all time.

The auction house Profiles in History tells The Associated Press it estimates the Harley-Davidson will bring between $1 million and $1.2 million at its Oct. 18 sale.

The seller is Michael Eisenberg, a California businessman who once co-owned a Los Angeles motorcycle-themed restaurant with Fonda and "Easy Rider" co-star Dennis Hopper.

Eisenberg bought it last year from actor Dan Haggerty. Haggerty was in charge of keeping the custom-designed bike humming during filming.
 (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia Expected to Cut Oil Production as Prices Slide

IBTimes -- Saudi Arabia will have to cut oil production to keep prices above $100 a barrel, despite already lowering output, according to two leading French banks.

The world's biggest oil exporter reduced its daily output in August to 408,000 barrels a day in a bid to sustain oil prices as they fell below $100 this month.

Despite geopolitical tension in some the world's biggest crude producing hubs including Russia, Iran and Iraq, crude futures have fallen to their lowest levels since June 2013.
 (go to article)

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When The Power's Out, Solar Panels May Not Keep The Lights On

NPR -- I still think solar power should be the future. Micro grids are the way to go.  (go to article)

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Tesla wins direct sales lawsuit in Mass

autoweek.com -- Massachusetts’ highest court on Monday threw out a lawsuit seeking to block Tesla Motors Inc. from selling its luxury electric cars directly to consumers in the state, enabling it to bypass traditional dealerships.

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court unanimously concluded that the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and two dealers lacked standing to block direct Tesla sales under a state law designed to protect franchise owners from abuses by car manufacturers.

Justice Margot Botsford wrote that the law was aimed at protecting dealers from unfair practices of manufacturers and distributors “with which they are associated, generally in a franchise relationship,” rather than unaffiliated manufacturers.  (go to article)

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Oil and gas companies court military veterans as shale boom grows

Powersource Post Gazette.com -- John MacZura, an Army infantry veteran, started work a week after graduation.

Before receiving his petroleum engineering degree from Penn State in 2013, Mr. MacZura, 30, had already piqued the interest of five or six oil and gas companies. He had job offers from three. He eventually joined Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas, where he now works as a completions engineer.

“The military plays a large part in how I got to where I’m at today,” said Mr. MacZura. He spent four years stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and two in the National Guard.

“I can’t say I was a commodity, but I was definitely sought after by companies,” he said.

Finding work in the energy sector isn't a new concept for veterans, but there has been an increased interest in recent years due to the shale gas boom.  (go to article)

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Kinetic Energy Tiles, Coming Soon To… Just About Anywhere

Cleantechnica -- We’ve heard about kinetic energy dance floors, train stations, and even speed bumps, but the technology has barely penetrated the commercial market, especially when compared to solar power.

That could all be about to change.

Earlier this week the Daily Mail reported that the world’s first ever soccer field with lights powered by kinetic energy tiles just got its launch in Rio de Janeiro.

Interestingly, the installation, which involves 200 kinetic energy tiles, was sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell of all people (yes, corporations are people, too).
 (go to article)

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Here’s a Natural Gas-Powered Cargo Ship Getting Its 539-Ton Engine

Gizmodo -- Work on TOTE shipholding's new Marlin-class cargo ships is progressing quickly. Late last month crews were photographed installing the vessel's main engine, a 539-ton behemoth that runs on liquefied natural gas rather than diesel.

"This large slow speed (two stroke) dual fuel engine is the first of its kind in the world" said Phil Morrell, Vice President of Commercial Marine Operations for TOTE Services, in a press statement. "Using this engine in our new Marlin class vessels will not only drastically reduce our SOx, NOx, particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions as a result of using liquefied natural gas, but it will also improve our efficiency meaning these ships will require less energy to travel the same distance and help preserve the environment."

 (go to article)

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Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free

ScienceDaily -- Rice University scientists who created a deicing film for radar domes have now refined the technology to work as a transparent coating for glass.

The new work by Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues could keep glass surfaces from windshields to skyscrapers free of ice and fog while retaining their transparency to radio frequencies (RF).

The technology was introduced this month in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

The material is made of graphene nanoribbons, atom-thick strips of carbon created by splitting nanotubes, a process also invented by the Tour lab. Whether sprayed, painted or spin-coated, the ribbons are transparent and conduct both heat and electricity.
 (go to article)

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First water-based nuclear battery can be used to generate electrical energy

Science Daily -- From cell phones to cars and flashlights, batteries play an important role in everyday life. Scientists and technology companies constantly are seeking ways to improve battery life and efficiency. Now, for the first time using a water-based solution, researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many applications such as a reliable energy source in automobiles and also in complicated applications such as space flight.
"Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s," said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and nuclear engineering in the College of Engineering at MU. "Controlled nuclear technol  (go to article)

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Supercar That Runs Using Salt Water Approved For Use On European Roads

kinja -- The car is the QUANT e-Sportlimousine. We covered it way back when it was still aKoenigsegg-branded project, but there seems to have been a lot of development in the intervening years, and a prototype is now being tested for eventual production.

The Quant is, essentially, a very high-spec electric car. It's using a motor per wheel to give it AWD with torque vectoring, and each of those motors makes 227 HP, giving a theoretical total of 908 HP. The Quant's electronics don't want you dead that easily, so the system caps the operating power at a very healthy 644 HP.
The peak torque numbers are allowed to remain absolutely bonkers, at 2138 lb-ft PER WHEEL. Which means 8,552 lb-ft total. Just what you need to reverse the rotation of the earth so you can go back in time like Superman did in  (go to article)

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Solar Prices Drop 80 Percent Since 2008, Onshore Wind Also Falls

planetsave.com -- Fortunately, says the new report from IRENA, renewable energy can become a major force in this transformation. Its deployment is already accelerating rapidly. Just look at the dramatic drop in the costs of photovoltaics: we’ve seen solar prices drop 80 percent over just the past six years, according to the IRENA report. Solar is already at parity in Italy, Germany, and Spain, and it is fast approaching that point in several other nations.

Not only are solar statistics amazing, but nearly 100 countries have installed wind capacity now, and onshore wind power costs have also fallen significantly (18% since 2009). IRENA calculates that renewables now make up 58% of all new power capacity additions worldwide.
 (go to article)

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Duke Energy increasing NC solar by 60 percent

fierceenergy.com -- Duke Energy is making a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina -- to the tune of $500M -- culminating the utility's request for proposals (RFP) in February 2014 and furthering its commitment to renewable energy, diversifying its energy portfolio and meeting North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities totaling 128 MW of capacity, including the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility east of the Mississippi River. Duke Energy also signed power purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity. In addition to these power purchase agreements, in 2014 so far, Duke Energy has signed 33 other agreements in North Carolina  (go to article)

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MIT's Cheetah Is a Running, Jumping Electric Robot [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Because regular cars with round wheels are just too mainstream these days, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a big four-legged robot that runs and jumps like a wild animal. And because the cheetah is the fastest animal on land, that's the name they chose for it.

This unnatural looking machine is the work of the school's Biometrics Lab, built by students to replicate the movement of an animal. It's important for a number of reasons, the most important of which being the that it's electric-powered.

Boston Dynamic also famously built a walking robot like this one and there are others being developed in China and Japan. However, most of them are powered by internal combustion engines combined with hydraulics. Last time we checked, wild animals don't make  (go to article)

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Nissan faces battery plant cuts as electric car hopes fade

Fox Business -- Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn is preparing to cut battery manufacturing, people familiar with the matter said, in a new reversal on electric cars that has reopened deep divisions with alliance partner Renault.

The plan, which faces stiff resistance within the Japanese carmaker, would see U.S. and British production phased out and a reduced output of next-generation batteries concentrated at its domestic plant, two alliance sources told Reuters.

In what may also prove a politically sensitive blow to Japan Inc., Nissan would follow Renault by taking cheaper batteries from South Korea's LG Chem for some future vehicles, including models made in China.

"We set out to be a leader in battery manufacturing but it turned out to be less competitive than we'd wanted," said one executive on condition o  (go to article)

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Watchdog: More coal power plants to close than expected

foxnews.com -- More coal-fired power plants will close because of environmental regulations and competition from other energy sources than previously thought, according to federal watchdogs.

A Government Accountability Office report said 13 percent of coal-fired generation will come offline in 2025, compared with a 2012 estimate that ranged between 2 and 12 percent. The report said that raises concerns about having enough electricity supply to meet demand in certain situations, potentially increasing instances of blackouts. "Recent and pending actions on the four existing regulations, as well as [Environmental Protection Agency's] recently proposed regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing generating units, may require additional agency effort to monitor industry’s progress in respond  (go to article)

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Wastewater injection is culprit for most quakes in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico

Seismological Society of America -- The deep injection of wastewater underground is responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001, according to a study to be published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).

The Raton Basin, which stretches from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico, was seismically quiet until shortly after major fluid injection began in 1999. Since 2001, there have been 16 magnitude > 3.8 earthquakes (including M 5.0 and 5.3), compared to only one (M 4.0) the previous 30 years. The increase in earthquakes is limited to the area of industrial activity and within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of wastewater injection wells.  (go to article)

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Whats Next: Feels Like Driving In The Future

Navdy -- TOUCHLESS GESTURES
Nothing could be more natural

Swipe left to answer a call, or right to dismiss an untimely notification. No more looking down to fumble with knobs, buttons or touch screens
5.1" wide transparent Head-Up Display (HUD)
High quality projector
IR camera for touchless gesture control
Accelerometer, e-compass, ambient light sensor
WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0/LE
Audio out via Bluetooth or 3.5mm minijack,
mini-USB port
Internal speaker and microphone with
noise canceling DSP
Dual core processor running Android 4.4
OBD-II power and data connection to car
computer, with optional 12 volt power adapter
Portable, bendable, non-marking, powered friction
mount, with magnetic connection to the device
Dimensions (excluding mount): width: 130mm,
depth: 140mm, height: 95mm  (go to article)

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World’s First 3D Printed Car Took Years to Design, But Only 44 Hours to Print

Mashable -- One day, in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to walk into a car dealership, choose a design — including the number of seats — and have a 3D printed car by the end of the day.

This is Jay Rogers’ vision. Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors, the company that just built the world's first 3D printed car known as the Strati. The electric, pint-sized two-seater was officially unveiled last week at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois.  (go to article)

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Self-driving cars now need a permit in California

KTVU -- LOS ANGELES — Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years — but until now, the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't sure just how many were rolling around.
That changed Tuesday, when the agency issued testing permits that allowed three companies to dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods — with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard computers make a bad decision.  (go to article)

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Gasoline prices just keep falling

SF Gate -- If you didn’t take that big road trip this summer, it could be even cheaper this fall.

Prices generally fall after Labor Day when vacation season ends and refineries switch from their summer blend of gasoline to their slightly cheaper winter recipe. Refineries made the switch Monday in most parts of the country and will do so the first week of November in California.

The bigger reason prices are falling is increased supply. “Refinery production for much of the summer was at record high levels. That meant gasoline supplies were more than sufficient for demand, even though it was the busy summer driving season,” says AAA spokesman Michael Green.

U.S. refineries have increased their output to take advantage of booming U.S. production, primarily in North Dakota and Texas, where hydraulic fr  (go to article)

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TransCanada Sees Itself in Oil Train Business Regardless of Keystone

Reuters -- Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp is likely to haul Canadian oil sands crude by rail whether or not its embattled Keystone XL pipeline project is finally approved by Washington, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

TransCanada is in its sixth year of waiting for the United States to approve or reject its plan for a 1,700-mile cross-border pipeline that could carry at least 730,000 barrels a day of oil sands from Western Canada to Texas refineries.

In those years, Alberta oil sands output has climbed and producers have grown more desperate to find ways to bring fuel to market.

That glut might drive demand for both pipelines and additional oil train capacity, TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said during a visit to Washington.

"I do believe we will have a rail facility,  (go to article)

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One in 88 Minnesota drivers will hit deer this year, 1 in 120 in North Dakota

Forum News Service -- Minnesota drivers will face a 1-in-88 chance of hitting a deer on the state’s highways this year, according to a report released Monday by the nation’s largest auto insurance company.

State Farm’s annual report estimates that Minnesota drivers will collide with 37,549 deer in 2014.

Minnesota drivers have the eighth-highest odds of hitting a deer among the 50 states, according to the report, down from sixth highest in last year’s report. The lower number of deer expected to be struck reflects the decline in Minnesota’s estimated deer population, which has dropped in recent years due to hard winters and high hunter harvest levels in the previous decade.  (go to article)

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New Hydroelectric Plant to Be Built for New York

NY Times -- New York City is tapping the vast resources of its upstate reservoir system to commission a new hydroelectric plant.

The plant is projected to generate 14 megawatts of electric power, which the city would sell to the New York power grid. That is enough to provide electricity, on average, to 6,000 homes. By not using oil or coal to generate electricity, it is estimated that the plant would avoid the emission of 25,620 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, or the equivalent of removing 5,400 cars from the road.

This would be the largest hydroelectric development in New York State in more than two decades and the first time power would be generated directly from a Delaware River branch.  (go to article)

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School bus driver killed during safety drill

AP -- AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Police say a school bus driver for a private transportation company was killed when the bus rolled over her during an evacuation drill outside an Akron charter school.

A police spokesman says the 51-year-old driver sacrificed her life to save a 10-year-old girl who was about to jump out of the emergency exit at the back of the bus Tuesday morning. The driver's name hasn't been released.

The accident occurred around 8:10 a.m. when about 40 children were participating in the drill at Middlebury Academy. The girl was the last student to evacuate the bus when it began rolling backward. The driver threw the girl onto a tree lawn before being struck.

The other children witnessed the accident. Grief counselors have been sent to the school.  (go to article)

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Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says

The New York Times -- In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free.

A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.

When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money....  (go to article)

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Fracking brings few jobs, major destruction, mountain residents tell NC energy commission

carolinapublicpress.org -- No fracking in North Carolina, a heavily partisan crowd told the state Mining and Energy Commission on Friday, Sept. 12.

Speaker after speaker at the Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University told a three-member commission panel that the proposed rules governing the exploration and production of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, were too industry-friendly and dangerous to the public.

Fracking, the process of extracting oil and gas from underground by using pressurized water and chemicals to create fissures in sub-surface rocks, has no place in the mountains or in North Carolina, the speakers told the panel and an audience of several hundred people.

“It’s cheaper to prevent contamination than to clean it up,” Franklin resident John Gladden, a retired
 (go to article)

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U.S. moves back to winter gasoline

GasBuddy Blog -- Today marks the first day that many states and cities across the United States begin switching back to "winter gasoline". Many times you may have heard us here at GasBuddy talking about summer gasoline being a reason for prices to rise, but as we switch away from the more expensive summer blend, prices do the opposite- they drop.Why? Due to EPA regulations in warmer months to limit ozone and pollution, there are stricter requirements for gasoline everywhere, and requirements in bigger cities where tens of thousands of vehicles drive everyday are even more stringent. Even smaller communities switch to summer gasoline, but a version that isn't quite the same as what's used in larger cities.Effective today- September 16- those rules and requirements from the EPA have eased.  Summer gasoline contains blending components that cost more. With the switch back to winter gasoline, cheaper butane is again blended in to reduce the price of gasoline, but adds to  (go to article)

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Why the U.S. total rig count went past the 2-year high

MArket Realist -- U.S. total rig count increases again

According to Baker Hughes, the U.S. total rig count increased by six rigs—from 1,925 to 1,931—during the week ending September 12. Baker Hughes publishes rig counts every week.

With the additions, the rig count continues its upward trend. This was the highest U.S. total rig count since August 17, 2012.

This marked the 11th rig count increase in the past 14 weeks. It’s also the third consecutive addition after the steep fall on August 22.
In the past week, the number of oil rigs increased by eight. The number of natural gas rigs decreased by two. Rigs categorized as “miscellaneous” were unchanged last week.

The increase in rig count was a result of increases in horizontal and vertical drilling. See Part 4 of this series to learn more about vertical r  (go to article)

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How EMS will benefit from smartphones and connected vehicles

EMS1 -- With mobile technology in the pockets of both patients and EMS providers, Dia Gainor, executive director of the National Association of State EMS Officials, sees a future that digitally connects roadways, infrastructures, emergency response systems and responders in new ways.
Technology that moves information more quickly may help detect emergency events faster, she said. Whereas "situational blindness often compromises the patient," mobile tech will also allow emergency responders to be smarter about how help is deployed.
Gainor points to the U.S. Department of Transportation's focus on the ability of smart cars to engage in vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. She also recognizes the importance of connected vehicles in encouraging...  (go to article)

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GM to boost output of mid-sized pickups in U.S., add jobs

Reuters -- General Motors Co will add a third shift and 750 jobs at its Missouri assembly plant to build more of its new mid-sized pickup trucks, the No. 1 U.S. automaker said on Tuesday.

With early orders for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon at nearly 30,000, GM decided to add the third shift at the Wentzville plant to meet expected demand. The additional shift at the plant, which also builds full-size vans, is expected to start in early 2015
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Poll: 68 percent want more transit spending

The Hill -- “We believe Congress should move swiftly on a robust long-term funding plan for the next surface transportation bill, and not wait until the extension deadline of May 31,” Melaniphy said in a statement. “Americans understand the importance of investing in public transportation because it is a catalyst to transforming their community.”

The transit groups said their poll found that 74 percent of U.S. residents "support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities."

They groups added that 88 percent of their poll's respondents "agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges."  (go to article)

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Researchers trace water contamination to faulty gas wells

Fuel Fix -- From the courtroom to the laboratory to the picket line, the fight over drinking water pollution has examined a wide range of complex techniques connected to new methods of hydraulic fracturing.

But the real cause, researchers reported on Monday, may be as simple as a shoddy cement job.

The contamination “stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing,” Thomas H. Darrah, an earth science expert at Ohio State who led the study, said in a prepared statement.

The peer-reviewed journal report, led by Duke University with financing from the National Science Foundation, built on previous work establishing elevated levels of methane in groundwater near areas of oil and gas production.  (go to article)

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Pollution Clean-up Shell Oil, Carson,

Erin Brockovich, Consumer Advocate -- The California Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that Shell was responsible for discharging pollution into the Carson area and therefore must do the cleanup.

The Control Board also found that more than 9-feet of oil had accumulated in monitoring wells. Shell used storage tanks on the land for 40 years, up until the 1960s, when the company sold the land to a developer. Residents, however, did not learn about the storage facilities or the contamination until 2009 when toxic investigators happened upon the contamination while examining a different site.

- See more at: http://www.brockovich.com/projects/shell-oil-carson/#sthash.LsIekKLL.dpuf  (go to article)

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New petroleum technology revitalizes Powder River Basin oil production

EIA -- The Powder River Basin, well known for its abundant coal supply, is experiencing a turnaround in oil production. Production has rebounded from a low of 38,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 78,000 bbl/d during first-quarter 2014. Although U.S. oil production growth is occurring primarily in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basins, the Powder River Basin is among other regions of the country that have also benefitted from the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The increase in Powder River Basin oil production is largely attributable to production growth in the Turner, Parkman, and Niobrara-Codell formations, which collectively increased from 4,700 bbl/d in 2009 to 36,300 bbl/d in first-quarter 2014, increasing their share of total Powder River Basin oil production  (go to article)

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Baby Steps Toward Driverless Cars Deliver Huge Leaps in Safety

Forbes -- If cars are going to drive themselves someday, they’ll need to master the art of talking to each other and to their environment. Based on the technologies on display at this week’s Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress in Detroit, we’re getting tantalizingly close to that Jetsons era. But let’s not get carried away; the industry still has a lot of work to do before fully autonomous cars are ready.  (go to article)

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Child safety: Check your car seat expiration date

Salt Lake Tribune -- Car seats have a shelf life a little longer than a can of tomatoes — six years.

But just to be safe, new mom Katie Blackburn-Conway, 38, waited while Safe Kids workers inspected her 1-year-old daughter’s car seat for an expiration date Monday at the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City.

"There’s always that little chance you’re not doing something right," she said. "I want to make sure."

National Child Passenger Safety Week started Sunday, and Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City partnered Monday on a package of services to raise awareness in family-friendly Utah.  (go to article)

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Report: Federal safety board ignored ignition switch warning

Detroit Free Press -- WASHINGTON: A House committee this morning released a report highly critical of federal regulators for their role in not catching an ignition switch defect in General Motors' cars that killed at least 19 people, saying they had all the information and authority they needed to react more swiftly.

Noting that GM deserved much of the blame for not addressing the defect earlier, the staff report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee took the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to task for ignoring information – in some cases in reports it commissioned itself – that potentially identified the deadly defect.

"The agency's repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report.  (go to article)

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Mazda6 Diesel Delayed To Add Aftertreatment

Gas 2 -- It’s now approaching six months since the Mazda6 diesel was supposed to debut in America, with the problems being blamed on a lack of zoom-zoom and low oil levels. The Truth About Cars is now reporting that the delay may come down to a need for a diesel after-treatment to meet emissions regulations, which could delay the Mazda6 diesel another year.

An anonymous source told TTAC that the treatment-free SkyActiv-D engine couldn’t meet American emissions standards while providing enough power for consumer expectations, forcing Mazda engineers to go back to the drawing board. European automakers like Mercedes have had similar problems, which led to the addition of after-treatment solutions applied to engine emissions to reduce NOx and soot particulates.  (go to article)

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