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Delivery Problems Plaguing 2014 (Already!)

Delivery Problems Plaguing 2014 (Already!)

Whether it's transporting oil or telling a story about renewables, energy sources of all stripes are off to a rough 2014.


Let's recap.

The oil industry is on the defensive after a string of oil-train crashes—including one just before New Year's Eve—and federal regulators are looking to intensify plans already in the works to beef up rail regulations. Energy infrastructure writ large will be a pressing topic throughout the year.

Meanwhile, a 60 Minutes story on Sunday titled "The Cleantech Crash" is facing intense pushback from the clean-energy community and the Obama administration. The story did not give much credence to successful renewable-energy ventures or to a major impetus for clean energy, which is global warming (as opposed to just job creation). Nonetheless, the report reminds green-energy advocates that Solyndra's shadow is not nearly gone.


Happy New Year! Let's hope things go up from here.

Amy Harder


By Clare Foran (@ckmarie) and Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman)

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: KEYSTONE XL WILL GO FORWARD. Stephen Harper said he believes the oil sands pipeline will eventually be built.

  • Our take: Harper and other Keystone advocates are willing to wage a protacted battle during President Obama's second term. 

FEDS REIN IN FRACKING OVERSIGHT. The Environmental Protection Agency may be easing off efforts to enforce penalties against drillers ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

  • Our take: EPA must thread the needle as fracking critics call for tougher oversight while the White House touts domestic drilling. 

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SENATOR SLAMS WIND TAX CREDIT. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., says lawmakers should not move to renew the expired wind production tax credit.

  • Our take: Critics of the wind energy credit are wasting no time trying to ensure it won't rise from the dead. 

RESURGENCE OF 'DIRTY' COAL IN EUROPE. Demand for cheap electricity on the continent is fueling a revival of lignite coal mining, a development that has sparked criticism from environmentalists.

COAL HANGS TOUGH IN U.S., TOO. Coal might be struggling to compete with cheap natural gas, but it's not going anywhere, analysts say. (Paywall)

OIL PRICES RISE AFTER DIP. Oil futures for February delivery rose at the start of the week to $94.07 a barrel for U.S. benchmark on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling the week before.

STATE REGULATORS WARY OF RELEASING FRACKING DATA. Hundreds of complaints that drilling activity may have contaminated drinking water have been registered across the U.S., with state regulators confirming that contamination has occurred in some instances.

GREEN-ENERGY BATTLE FLARES OVER '60 MINUTES' REPORT. A new 60 Minutes story makes the case that tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer support for green-technology companies has largely failed.

GOP TOUTS CLEAN TECH INVESTIGATION. House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans say the 60 Minutes report demonstrates that the administration's support for green energy has failed taxpayers.

CAN SOLAR THRIVE WITHOUT SUBSIDIES? Mexico is poised to act as a case study to answer that question.

NEW YEAR USHERS IN CHANGING OF THE GUARD FOR GREEN GROUPS: Top officials with environmental groups including the National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace USA, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, plan to step aside in 2014.


STATE OF AMERICAN ENERGY. The American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard will discuss priorities for the oil and natural gas industry in the upcoming year.

EXPORTS DISCUSSION. The Brookings Institution holds a discussion with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on "The Future of Energy Trade" and implications on the domestic economy and national security.

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Samantha, Student

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