energy

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:

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.

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.

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.

U.S. Coast Guard/Travis Marsh

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.  

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.

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.

Historic gas pump
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.

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.

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.

Damaged oil-spill containment dome
BSEE (via KUOW FOIA request)

A KUOW investigation has led a top congressman to demand answers about Shell Oil's underwater accident this fall in Puget Sound.

As we reported on Friday, an underwater test near Anacortes left Shell's first-of-its-kind oil-spill equipment “crushed like a beer can.”

Damaged oil-spill containment dome
BSEE (via KUOW FOIA request)

UPDATE on Congressional interest in this story here.

Shell Oil has been building and testing equipment designed for the Arctic Ocean here in Puget Sound. In September, a key test of underwater oil-spill equipment was a spectacular failure.

Sierra Club Wants Coal Out Of PSE's Stocking

Nov 29, 2012

Puget Sound Energy owns and operates a coal-fired power plant out of Billings, Montana, that the Sierra Club calls "the dirtiest coal plant in the West." The Colstrip Plant meets EPA emission standards and PSE touts its green-energy portfolio, with plans to triple its renewable energy supply by 2020. How does coal fit into that equation? And with coal plants generating 42 percent of America's electricity, how much impact would closing one plant have? We take a look with PSE's Andy Wappler and Anne Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Hasby/flickr

Seattle City Light has an unexpected pot of money on its hands. The utility says it needs to give away $5 million before the end of the year.

The money is earmarked for businesses that want to become more energy-efficient. It will pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of new lighting, heating and cooling systems, or other energy-efficient equipment.

But even with the subsidy, businesses have been slow to sign on this year.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

The massive factory at Hanford is supposed to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. That goo is currently in leaking, aging underground tanks near the Columbia River.

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