energy

Investigation Long Overdue
5:11 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Safety Problems Old And New At Anacortes Oil Refineries

Chemical Safety Board chief investigator Bob Hall in Burlington, Wash., in April 2010, when he said investigating the Tesoro refinery blast would take 18 months
KUOW/John Ryan

The Shell Oil Co. refinery in Anacortes, Wash., sprang a leak last week. Shell quickly shut down the equipment that was boiling oil to make gasoline, but the shutdown led to a release of toxic gases.

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Greens Disappointed
7:16 am
Fri March 15, 2013

US Blames Shell For Mishaps, Remains Committed To Arctic Drilling

The Kulluk drill rig arriving in Dutch Harbor, in western Alaska, on Mar. 5. From there, it will be loaded on a heavy-lift ship and hauled to a dry dock in Asia.
KUCB Photo/Stephanie Joyce

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had some tough words for Shell Oil Thursday as he announced the results of an investigation into Shell's Alaskan accidents in 2012. But he did not announce the tough consequences that environmentalists were hoping for in the wake of Shell’s year of Arctic mishaps.

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Caps A Year Of Mishaps
4:52 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Shell Cancels Arctic Drilling For 2013

The Shell's Kulluk oil rig, with three tugboats and an escort ship, on its way from Kodiak Island to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Shell Oil Co. has put Arctic drilling on hold. The company announced Wednesday that it will not attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this year. The announcement comes after a year of accidents and setbacks for Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts.

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Energy & Environment
9:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

The Price Of North Dakota's Oil Boom

A winter sunrise across an oil field in North Dakota.
Credit Flickr photo/Adam Schreiner

North Dakota is booming. The state's unemployment rate is just 3.2 percent — well below the national average of 7.9 percent. Officials are trying to keep pace with a population surge brought on by oil industry jobs that have made North Dakota the country's number two oil-producing state. But what will extracting millions of barrels from the Bakken oil field mean for the region's environmental and economic future? Writer and reporter Richard Manning joins us with the story of North Dakota's oil boom.

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Arctic Drilling In Doubt
5:06 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Shell's Arctic Vessels: To Asia For Major Repairs, Anacortes Area For Tests

The semi-submersible Mighty Servant 3 carrying an oil rig in 2006. Shell plans to use similar ships to haul two Alaskan oil rigs to Asia.
Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: Shell plans to use three tugs to tow the damaged Kulluk oil rig to Dutch Harbor in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, where it will await a longer trip to an unnamed Asian drydock. Shell and the US Coast Guard have disbanded the joint command formed after the Seattle-bound rig broke free from its sole tugboat, then ran aground. Officials said the Kulluk's outer hull was damaged but not breached. They did not specify the degree of damage, saying only, "The outer hull did receive damage as expected with a vessel being aground during adverse weather." 

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Presidential Politics In The Northwest
9:07 am
Wed February 6, 2013

REI Executive Tapped For Interior; Geithner Joins Council On Foreign Relations

Sally Jewell, president and CEO of REI, who is in line to be the next secretary of interior.
Ron Sachs EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:29 am

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:

Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.

Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."

Our original post:

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Crude-By-Rail
8:55 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Northwest On Verge Of Becoming Pacific Crude Oil Gateway

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:19 pm

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Northwest is on the verge of becoming a gateway for crude oil. Three different developers have plans to use docks on Grays Harbor, Washington to transfer crude oil from trains to ships. Other projects are getting off the ground in Tacoma, Vancouver, B.C. and on the lower Columbia River.

There was a huge turnout Wednesday night at an introductory public workshop in Aberdeen, Washington. The response indicates crude-by-rail may be the region’s next big environmental controversy.

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Energy Independence
12:20 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Addressing Climate Change In The Northwest

Energy expert Amory Lovins says the United States can replace all oil and coal by the year 2050, without nuclear power, new federal taxes or subsidies, or new inventions. At the same time, we can grow the US economy by 158 percent.

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Shell Under Scrutiny
9:05 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Interior Dept., Coast Guard To Probe Shell’s Arctic Drilling Mishaps

Shell's Kulluk oil rig, aground in the Gulf of Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard

The Obama administration launched a sweeping inquiry into Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling program on Tuesday. The probe, to be completed within 60 days, will look at the company’s mishaps in Alaska and in Puget Sound.

The announcement from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar comes a week after Shell’s Kulluk oil rig ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska.

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Rig Reaches Shelter
4:40 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Shell’s Beached Kulluk Oil Rig Towed To Safe Harbor

The Kulluk aground off Sitkalidak Island, Alaska.
Credit Travis Marsh, U.S. Coast Guard.

A shipwrecked oil rig that was bound for Seattle has been floated off the rocks and towed to a safe harbor in the Gulf of Alaska. A fleet of nine ships accompanied Shell Oil’s Kulluk drill rig on the 45-mile tow. Shortly before noon Pacific Time, the rig reached its anchorage in sheltered Kiliuda Bay on Kodiak Island.  

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More Snow, More Energy
8:05 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Idaho Power Uses Cloud Seeding To Enhance Winter Snowpack

Idaho Power's Derek Blestrud and Brandal Glenn study the type of snow thats falling as a result of cloud seeding.
Aaron Kunz

Cloud seeding has been around for decades. It started out as a way to make rain for growing crops. But these days in the Mountain West, it’s used as a way to make more snow.

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Coast Guard Rescue
7:58 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Shell's Seattle-Bound Oil Rig Evacuated, Lost, Recovered In Gulf Of Alaska

A Coast Guard helicopter crew conducts hoists of the first six of 18 crewmen from the mobile drilling unit Kulluk 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, 12/29/12. Rescue was prompted after there were problems with the tow Friday.
Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis US Coast Guard

UPDATE: The Kulluk ran aground late Monday night, with 150,000 gallons of diesel and oil on board.

A floating oil rig that was abandoned on Saturday in heavy seas in the Gulf of Alaska is being towed away from land — a second time.

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Climate Activism
6:36 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Mayor McGinn Calls On Seattle To Divest From Fossil Fuels

A historic gas pump in Issaquah, Wash. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants his city to not invest in oil and gas companies.
John Ryan

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants the city to get its money out of fossil fuels. He has called on the city’s two main retirement funds to divest millions of dollars invested in oil and gas companies.

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Arctic Drilling
6:39 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Shell Ready To Try Again With Rebuilt Oil-Spill Dome

The Garth Foss tug and Shell's Arctic Challenger barge in Bellingham Bay
T.J. Guiton

The Arctic Challenger left Puget Sound's Bellingham Bay Wednesday night and arrived at a deep-water anchorage near Anacortes, Wash., Thursday morning. The barge is part of Shell Oil’s fleet of vessels aimed at exploring the Arctic Ocean for oil.

The Arctic Challenger’s oil-spill containment system failed its first field test off Anacortes in September. Since then, Shell has rebuilt a 20-foot oil-containment dome that was “crushed like a beer can” in the first test.

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Energy Independence
11:36 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Amory Lovins On Reinventing Fire

Amory Lovins, head of the Rocky Mountain Institute, sees a future beyond oil and he has a plan to take the country there.
Noah Berger AP Photo

Energy expert Amory Lovins outlines a path to eliminate use of oil and coal in the United States by the year 2050 in his new book "Reinventing Fire." Lovins says the path will grow the US economy by 158 percent, and it can happen with no new federal taxes or subsidies.

Ross Reynolds talks with Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder Amory Lovins about energy independence.

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