Fracking banned in Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan makes decision not to veto hydraulic fracturing ban. The bill that was passed in Maryland bans fracking for two and a half years, and during the moratorium, the state is required to write standards to regulate the natural gas extraction process once the ban is lifted. Maryland is the second state to ban hydrofracturing in recent months. Maryland’s state-wide ban follows New York’s ban, which occurred near the end of last year. Aside from New York, other states in America that have prohibited the controversial mining practice…

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Residential solar energy users in Nevada may soon face new fees

Nevada residents who use solar power may be charged a new electricity rate. As early as summer of this year, people who live in the state of Nevada who have installed their own solar panels may be subject to a fee, as state senators agreed last week in a 21-0 vote to allow the public utilities commission to create a new electricity rate for those currently benefiting from residential solar energy. The current net metering system in Nevada is capped. Under the present law, solar customers in Nevada can sell…

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Local fracking bans in Texas outlawed

New law limits abilities of local Texas governments to regulate drilling. Earlier this week, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 (HB 40), a law that gives the state the power to regulate the natural resources, and which essentially prohibits local governments from implementing fracking bans in Texas, which will drastically limit the control municipal and county governments have over where gas and oil wells can be drilled. The state wants to prevent local governments from following in the footsteps of Denton. Last year, Denton, a city in North Texas,…

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Geothermal power development could come to Montana

A new Geothermal Energy Opportunity Act was introduced in the state. Montana Senator Jon Tester has introduced a bill that would promote geothermal power development in oil fields in the state, which would essentially encourage developers to make use of the hot water they naturally pull up from the ground during the oil and gas production process, and produce electricity, as well as heat for buildings, reported the Great Falls Tribune. Montana has plenty of geothermal potential. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the state has over 25,000…

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New law in Germany to tighten fracking restrictions

Hydraulic fracturing will be permitted only in certain areas of the European nation. While fracking has not yet been fully banned in Germany, under a new law, the controversial mining practice will be heavily restricted and banned in certain regions of the country in order to protect the environment, health, and drinking water and would also lead to overall stricter rules for conventional oil and gas production. Hydrofracturing would be banned in national parks and nature reserves. In addition to national parks and nature reserves, the draft laws would also…

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Fracking rules tightened by Obama administration

Tougher restrictions were imposed on oil and gas hydraulic fracturing operations on public lands. In an effort to reduce the risk of water contamination that can result from fracking operations, the Obama administration unveiled the nation’s first major safety restrictions for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands this past Friday, which immediately received plenty of backlash from Obama’s critics both in the energy industry and Congress. Hydrofracturing has helped to make the U.S. the top producer of natural gas in the world. While fracking is definitely one of the chief reasons…

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Strict water conservation rules approved in California

Another year of severe drought has lead to state officials taking emergency steps to conserve water. Earlier this week, the administration of Governor Jerry Brown imposed new mandatory water conservation rules that will impact millions of people in California, including homeowners, restaurants, and hotels, in an emergency effort to conserve the state’s decreasing water supply as it enters into its fourth year of severe drought. The California Water Board approved regulations stricter than those enforced during the 1977 drought. The new water conservation rules are more severe than those imposed…

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Fracking is given the go-ahead in North Carolina

New drilling rules go into effect in the Tar Heel State. On Tuesday, North Carolina’s longstanding freeze on hydraulic fracturing came to an end with the passing of the House Bill 157, which ushered in new drilling rules and opened up the application process for companies interested in fracking for natural gas. The final vote was 39 – 10, with six Democrats joining 33 Republicans in approving the bill. Critics say that the new rules are weak and insufficient. After legalizing the controversial mining practice back in 2012, North Carolina…

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Fracking ban in New York causes celebration and devastation

New York’s decision to ban the controversial mining practice makes it the second state in the country to do so. Last week, after a report concluded that hydraulic fracturing posed health risks, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration decided to outlaw fracking in New York State (a decision that took a long time make, as there has been a moratorium on the oil and gas extraction method in the state since 2008), making New York and Vermont the only two states in America to have completely prohibited the mining practice. There is…

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US and China make a pact on climate change

US and China form one of the largest cooperative agreements concerning climate change The United States and China have formed an agreement concerning climate change. The two countries are the world’s leading polluters and have been working to address environmental issues for several years. While neither country has plans to abandon fossil-fuels any time soon, the new agreement between them could go a long way in reducing emissions in both countries. This agreement represents one of the largest cooperative efforts targeting climate change to be formed between two countries. US…

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IPCC report highlights the risks of climate change

New report sheds light on the environmental consequences of a changing climate The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report that identifies the risks that climate change represents. The Synthesis Report, as it is called, draws upon data produced by more than 800 scientists and research organizations throughout the world and aims to shed more light on the environmental consequences of the climate phenomenon. Notably, the report shows that the impact of climate change are already being seen in many parts of the world and if…

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Fracking ban in Texas city approved by voters

Hydraulic fracturing has been outlawed in Denton. Denton, a north town in Texas, has become the first city in America’s top crude producing state to ban fracking, a decision that was reached Tuesday when voters of the town approved to prohibit the controversial mining practice. Denton is located within the Barnett shale formation. This makes the city’s ban quite significant because the Barnett shale formation is where fracking was first developed. Reuters reported that Earthworks energy program director, Bruce Baizel, said that “Denton, Texas is where hydraulic fracturing was invented.”…

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California may change regulations that have supported electric vehicles

State agency is considering softening emissions regulations targeting the transportation sector The California Air Resources Board is set to hold a hearing concerning the softening of emissions regulations in the state. The hearing could create some problems concerning the state’s clean transportation plans. California is currently considered one of the most active and attractive markets for clean vehicles and this has to do with state regulations concerning emissions. The California Zero Emission Vehicle mandate requires automakers to sell a certain percentage of clean vehicles in the state, and this initiative…

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The Politics of Renewable Energy

In the past, clean energy had predominantly been an environmental issue. Environmentalist groups had advocated renewable energy as a way to preserve the world, citing global warming and the hazardous features of fossil-fuels as serious problems that would have to be dealt with sooner or later. As time went on, climate change has began to attract serious attention, especially from governments that are beginning to support clean energy. For these governments, energy has become a matter of politics, and political issues are beginning to direct the future of clean power.…

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Fracking companies in UK allowed to drill without public consent

The United Kingdom plans to grant underground access to gas and oil companies. In spite of public opposition, it is the intention of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to allow fracking drilling to occur under people’s land without their consent, which would give companies permission to drill at depths of 300 meters or lower under private land, without them having to ask for the right to access the area. Nearly 100% of respondents objected the proposal. During a consultation on the proposal, 99% of 40,647 respondents were…

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New Zealand’s Green Party shows support for renewable energy

Clean energy is becoming a political issue in New Zealand Renewable energy is often a political issue and politics will likely play a larger role in clean power as people become more concerned with the environment. New Zealand’s Green Party is making a move on renewable power, releasing new details about its economic plan. The plan is heavily based on clean energy, proposing that the country receives no less than 100% of its electrical power from renewable sources by 2050. Green Party claims that clean energy could be a more…

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