Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:16 pm
It will probably go down as the biggest decision of the year in New York State – a ban on fracking. Wednesday’s news came the same day casino license recommendations were announced. Supporters of a fracking ban are celebrating the long-awaited decision while opponents say they are disappointed and the Southern Tier, where fracking would have taken place, is doomed.
Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session.
The number of households unable to afford heating bills in the state will rise again this winter. That’s the message from Operation Fuel, the non-profit that aims to help low-income families with utility bills.
Consumers who are scrambling to lower their electric rates in the new year are being urged to exercise caution. Looming rate increases from Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating have many considering signing up for an alternative supplier for the first time.
State regulators, in a draft ruling, have reduced the permanent rate increase proposed by Connecticut Light and Power, slashing the number from $221 million to about $130 million. It’s big news in the ongoing controversy over the energy company’s plan to increase electric rates.
Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:52 pm
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline project to expand an oil pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico has failed the approval of Congress, after the Senate voted against the project Tuesday. The House passed its version of the bill Friday.
An early tally showed 35 for and 30 against the bill; subsequent calls for senators' votes failed to net the 60 votes needed for passage. The decisive 41st "No" vote came with 55 votes in favor, and the final tally was 59-41.
Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 7:36 pm
Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.
The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.
Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:58 am
When Don Sage of Concord, N.H., learned his electric bill could rise by as much as $40 a month he got flustered. He and his wife make do on a bit less than $30,000 a year in Social Security payments, and they pay close attention to their electric bills.
"When the invoice comes in the mail to get paid, I have a target amount that we can fluctuate up or down, based on our fixed budget," Sage says. "They don't need my permission to hike up their rates, but the fact is we're the ones that are paying these increases."
A new United Nations report is warning that fossil fuels must be entirely phased out by the end of the century in order to avoid dangerous and irreversible damage to the Earth's climate.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut to zero by 2100.
Examples of "irreversible" change include a runaway melt of the Greenland ice cap that would trigger devastating sea-level rise and could swamp coastal cities and disrupt agriculturally critical monsoons.
Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 2:40 pm
All around the country, gasoline prices have been falling for weeks, down to an average of about $3 a gallon. Those lower prices are helping restrain inflation across the board.
On Wednesday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index barely inched up 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen by 1.7 percent, roughly half of its historical average rate of increase.
Small retailers in the state are being urged to save money on utility bills this winter, beginning with a free energy audit. The Connecticut Retail Merchants Association is running a program in conjunction with the state’s electric utilities, designed specifically for independent stores.
Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:47 pm
With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.
Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.
The Connecticut Energy Marketers Association is a trade group representing about 600 heating oil and propane dealers. In a complaint, it alleges the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection didn't adequately assess the environmental impact of Governor Dannel Malloy's Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which plans to add 900 miles of natural gas pipelines in the state.
Church and community leaders have added their voices to the calls for Connecticut Light and Power to withdraw its latest rate request. CL&P has caused uproar by proposing to increase the fixed fees that it charges customers to raise an additional $221 million.
Last weekend's climate change march brought thousands of protesters to New York City. A new bill now making its way through the U.S. Senate is also aiming to reduce the impact of so-called atmospheric "super pollutants."
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm
Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.
Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.
Dozens of opponents of the biomass plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy in Springfield, MA urged the city council during a special meeting Wednesday night to appeal a court ruling reinstating the project's building permit.
Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:41 am
The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has green-lighted an appeal to try to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.
The council authorized the filing of a notice of appeal of last month’s Massachusetts Land Court ruling that reinstated the building permit for the biomass project. Dozens of project opponents urged the council to act prior to a September 15th deadline. City Councilor Tim Allen said a lawyer advised the council the appeal has a 25 percent chance of success.
Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am
In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.
During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.