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The US benchmark price dropped to $79.78 a barrel on Oct. 16, the lowest since June 2012. At that level, one-third of US shale oil production would be uneconomic and drillers would reduce the amount of barrels for domestic output for the first time in four years, a study says. Photo: Greg Newington
Hydraulic Fracturing

Oil at $80 a Barrel Muffles Forecasts for U.S. Shale Boom

NEW YORK, NY — “The bear market in oil has analysts reassessing the U.S. shale boom after five years of historic growth. The U.S. benchmark price dropped to $79.78 a barrel on Oct. 16, the lowest since June 2012. At that level, one-third of U.S. shale oil production would be […]

Acid mine drainage flows through a stream in western Pennsylvania. photo: Nathaniel Warner
Hydraulic Fracturing

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment

Scientists develop new geochemical tracers, tested at sites in West Virginia and Pennsylvania ARLINGTON, VA — “Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at a spill site in West Virginia […]

Elaine Beadle stands in front of an oil field tank battery that has leaked hydrogen sulfide gas near her home in Odessa, Texas. Photo by Mike Lee.
Hydraulic Fracturing

‘That stuff can get you so fast’ — deadly gas on the rise in oil fields

ODESSA, TX — “Elaine Beadle initially thought the odor creeping into her home on this city’s west side was a sewer leak. It started about the time she moved in four years ago — a smell like rotten eggs. Sometimes it got so bad her eyes burned. She soon learned the real […]

An explosion at an oil well near Bolivar, Ohio, in 2012 killed a worker, hurled a tank more than 250 feet and alarmed neighbors. Photo by Brandie Hanley.
Hydraulic Fracturing

SAFETY: The drilling industry’s explosion problem

WASHINGTON, DC — “The oil and gas industry has more deaths from fires and explosions than any other private industry, according to an EnergyWire review of federal labor statistics. It employs less than 1 percent of the U.S. workforce, but in the past five years it has had more than […]

Radioactive chemicals discharged into Cuyahoga River
Right-to-Know

Radioactive chemicals discharged into Cuyahoga River

CLEVELAND — “Channel 3 News has learned exclusively that toxic and radioactive chemicals are being discharged into the Cuyahoga River through a storm sewer and making their way out to Lake Erie. ‘They’re poisoning the river. It’s as simple as that,’ said Jane Goodman,the executive director of the Cuyahoga River […]

Another blow to the solar industry as PUCO nixes in-state sourcing rule
Energy

Another blow to the solar industry as PUCO nixes in-state sourcing rule

COLUMBUS — “It’s official: Ohio power companies no longer have to get half of their renewable energy from in-state providers. A law signed in July made clear the state’s requirement that a 2008 law mandating alternative energy make up 25 percent of a utility’s power source by 2025 be frozen […]

The Gen. James M. Gavin Power Plant in Cheshire, Ohio (Richard Martin)
AEP / Coal / Energy

For $20 million, a coal utility bought an Ohio town and a clear conscience

CHESHIRE — “The plants, though, are still there, consuming about 35,000 tons of coal every day. A gray mountain of coal ash looms above what’s left of the town. AEP, though, may not have entirely escaped liability for the environmental effects of the plants: In early September a new lawsuit […]

The Gavin Power Plant near Cheshire, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Lovett via Creative Commons)
AEP / Coal / Energy

Ohio pollution complaint unrelated to coal ‘bailout’ plan

CHESHIRE — “American Electric Power (AEP) is on notice that it may be sued for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act by its Gavin Power Plant in Cheshire, Ohio. Last week, the Sierra Club sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue, which claims that excess emissions of sulfur dioxide created a ‘public nuisance‘ in […]

AEP and the Sierra Club are battling over the company's coal plants.
AEP / Coal / Energy

No quiet period for AEP Ohio in PR game

COLUMBUS — “The latest proposal from AEP Ohio is perhaps its most complicated: It wants Ohio customers to shoulder the risk for four of its coal-fired power plants to ensure their long-term viability. It’s a complicated proposal, spurred by the impact of federal environmental regulations, the rising prominence of U.S. shale gas and […]

FirstEnergy’s stock prices have slipped, compared to other energy and industrial companies. Courtesy IEEFA.
Coal / Energy / FirstEnergy

Report: FirstEnergy’s coal focus ‘not a winning strategy’

CLEVELAND — “FirstEnergy’s effort to get Ohio consumers to subsidize noncompetitive power plants is short-sighted and won’t guarantee long-term financial health, according to a new report. That’s because FirstEnergy continues to center its business around coal, instead of adapting to competition, changing markets and newer technologies, says the report, released last week […]