General Electric on Tuesday overcame the last big hurdle to the largest acquisition in its history, a $13.5 billion deal for the power business of Alstom of France, as European officials agreed that the American company had adequately addressed their antitrust concerns. For General Electric and its chairman and chief, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the proposed deal is part of the company’s renewed emphasis on industrial businesses after a risky diversification into finance by his predecessor, Jack Welch.
One of the coal industry’s top lobby groups is warning candidates — particularly Democrat Hillary Clinton — against supporting President Obama’s climate agenda. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity today released a memo and video calling U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan a “carbon copy” of failed greenhouse gas cap-and-trade legislation. The industry group warns that politicians who support EPA’s rule may suffer the same consequences as those who voted for cap and trade.
Protesters angry about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of infrastructure related to hydraulic fracturing are kicking off a monthlong fast in front of the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters today. Members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), a group known for disrupting FERC’s monthly meetings and picketing the agency in clown costumes, are aiming to occupy the sidewalk in front of FERC’s building through Sept. 25 to demand a stop to the approval of all gas-related infrastructure.
Consumers in the United States bought automobiles in the four months from May through August at the fastest clip in more than a decade, propelled by strong appetite for trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossover models and by low gas prices. Light-vehicle sales for August surpassed 17 million units for the fourth month in a row, measured at an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate, according to automotive data company WardsAuto. The last time that happened was 2000, the firm said.
California lawmakers negotiated frantically behind the scenes on Tuesday over the fate of several proposals to dramatically reduce the state’s use of fossil fuels and slash the amount of greenhouse gases that legally could be emitted. The measures, part of an environmental agenda championed by state Senate Democratic Leader Kevin De Leon, aim to require public utilities in California to use renewable resources for half the energy they provide by 2030, and mandate a 50 percent cut in the use of petroleum in cars and trucks by the same year.
The oil and gas industry is hunkering down to weather the final stretch of the Obama administration. Industry groups and their backers had hoped President Obama would use his trip last week to Alaska to say something about the need for more oil and gas drilling in the United States. Instead, Obama kept his focus on global warming, leaving oil interests in a familiar position: left out and on the defensive.
Again today, we applaud MidAmerican for its investments in the economic future of our state, its commitment to our environment through support of clean, renewable energy and its contributions to the goal of energy independence for our nation. Without question, the renewable fuels industry is key to the future of Iowa (the state also ranks first in the nation for production of ethanol and second for production of biodiesel), but the industry is good for the long-term economic, strategic and security interests of America, too.
But in Wyoming, one of the breeziest states in the country, no new wind capacity has been added since 2010. Moreover, no new additions are expected in the near term, as projects already on the planning board work their way through a lengthy permitting process. The main constraint facing the industry in the state remains transmission, analysts said.
The state has been at the forefront of global efforts to battle greenhouse gases, enacting mandates to force sharp reductions in emissions over the next 35 years. Its environmental record was applauded by Mr. Obama last week, and Pope Francis invited Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss the fight against global warming in the Vatican this summer. But a centerpiece of California’s long-term campaign against emissions — legislation requiring a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by Jan. 1, 2030 — has set off a fierce battle here, pitting not only a well-financed oil industry against environmentalists, but Democrat against Democrat. The bill easily passed the Senate, but it is faltering in the Assembly because of opposition by moderate Democrats, many representing economically suffering districts in central California. A vote is expected early next week.
Gov. Jerry Brown has made climate change the centerpiece of his final tenure by laying out the most aggressive benchmark in North America, which would reduce California’s carbon footprint and boost the state’s renewable energy use to 50 percent in 15 years. Securing legislation requiring that standard in the world’s eighth-largest economy would be a timely win for Brown before international leaders meet in Paris in November for the United Nations climate change conference. Brown is likely to attend the conference, but he has not said so officially. But first, the Democratic governor has to break through a logjam in his own party in the final week of the legislative session.