Energy

The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue June 26, 2012

The Fracas Over Fracking (Rebroadcast)

The controversial mining method known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has led to a boom in production of cheap natural gas by getting at what was previously inaccessible pockets of gas contained in shale. Energy companies see it as way to reduce America’s dependence on oil and lower our energy bills, but concerns over environmental safety have others saying we need to slow down and study the issue. We cover all sides of fracking and its potential impacts here in New England. 

Guests:

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun June 24, 2012

Making Renewable Energies Competitive

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Renewable energy production in the solar and wind markets currently receives about $7 billion in government subsidies annually, but is still not competitive against fossil fuels on a large scale. To what extent should the U.S. continue to prop up these industries as they compete against dirty energy?-- Jack Morgan, Richmond, VA

 

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The Exchange
10:00 am
Sat June 16, 2012

What’s Next for Northern Pass?

Headlines have quieted down on the Hydro-power project called Northern Pass, but efforts to continue and thwart the project are ongoing.  A new study questions the need for Northern Pass’s  hydropower, given low natural gas prices. Meanwhile, there’s been activity  on land purchases in the North Country that could connect the dots for the project’s final route. We will look at that latest news around Northern Pass.

Guests

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun June 3, 2012

Wind Turbines and Bird Conflicts

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: One of the objections to wind power has been that the turbines can kill birds. Has there been some progress in developing bird-friendly wind power? -- Marcie Mahoney, Boston, MA

 

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Energy
7:34 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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Mitt Romney
4:04 am
Mon April 2, 2012

On Energy Policy, Romney's Emphasis Has Shifted

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Muskego, Wis., on Saturday.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 11:24 am

The GOP candidates for president have seized on high gas prices as a line of attack against President Obama, largely saying the answer is more domestic oil drilling.

But GOP front-runner Mitt Romney used to have a position seemingly at odds — at least in emphasis — with what he and the other Republicans are now advocating.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney said high gasoline prices "are probably here to stay," and he advocated policies to cut energy demand.

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Business
4:03 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Oil Scare Turns FedEx On To Energy Efficiency

A FedEx hybrid delivery truck. In FedEx's fleet of over 90,000 vehicles, 408 are hybrid or electric, and 4,000 are fuel-efficient, lower-emitting "Sprinter" vans.
Courtesy of FedEx Corp.

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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PSNH
5:16 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Major Business and City Leaders Oppose Move To Get PSNH To Sell Power Plants

A house bill that would consider giving the Public Utilities Commission authority to force PSNH to sell its power plants to open up market competition is getting vocal opposition from business leaders and mayors in the state.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier says the move will raise electric rates and scare businesses away from his community.

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Energy
5:04 am
Thu March 22, 2012

What's Making Americans Less Thirsty For Gasoline?

Growing demand for more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, like these 2009 Dodge Journey crossover vehicles, has helped drive down gasoline consumption in the U.S.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 7:03 am

The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it's not because of rising demand from consumers.

Since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, the U.S. has struggled to quench a growing appetite for oil and gasoline. Now, that trend is changing.

"When you look at the U.S. oil market, you see that there's actually no growth," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

He says gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and has fallen each year since, even though the economy has begun to recover.

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Energy
3:57 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Native Alaskans Divided On State's Oil Drilling Debate

A drilling rig sits on Oooguruk Island off the coast of Alaska's North Slope. The 6-acre island was built by Pioneer Natural Resources so it could drill for oil on the Arctic Ocean.
Steve Quinn AP

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 9:06 am

Shell Oil plans to explore for petroleum off Alaska's north coast this summer. The native people of Alaska have a big stake in both oil revenue and environmental protection. That conflict has played out in recent trips by Inupiats to Washington, D.C., to argue their case.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:51 am
Mon March 19, 2012

What happens when all the fuel is gone?

Photo by Karen Johnson for Creative Commons via Wordpress

Rising gas prices have again shifted the political debate between those calling for more drilling to meet America's fossil fuel dependency and those advocating for investment in alternative energy sources. Many environmentalists are convinced that we are nearing the day when fossil fuels are tapped out, or too expensive or too harmful to extract.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Fuel Frustrations

The temperature isn't the only thing that seems to be rising lately in the Granite State, so are gas prices.  The cost of a gallon has gone up by about 20 cents in the last month and it shows no signs of slowing down.  Some are predicting that by the summer we may be paying upwards of 5 dollars for a gallon of gas.  Global energy markets blame harsh weather in Europe, tensions with Iran and a cutback in exports from such countries as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.  Some suggest that higher gas prices may not only affect the average driver's wallet, but upcoming political races as well, as we

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Business
5:51 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Shell Picks Pittsburgh Area For Major Refinery

Shell Oil plans to open a major new oil refinery, which would convert ethane into more profitable chemicals, in the Pittsburgh area.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Shell Oil Co. has chosen a site near Pittsburgh for a major, multibillion-dollar petrochemical refinery that could provide a huge economic boost to the region.

Dan Carlson, Shell's general manager of new business development, said Thursday that the company signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corp. to evaluate a site near Monaca, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

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Energy
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Surging Gas Prices Have Drivers Fuming

A driver pumps gas in Los Angeles, where prices are among the highest in the country, topping $4 a gallon.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Gasoline prices have risen about 50 cents a gallon since January. The national average for regular gas stands at just above $3.80 per gallon.

Pity the drivers on the West Coast. Prices there have been much higher. At a Chevron station in Culver City, Calif., the price on Tuesday was $4.45 a gallon.

"I do building maintenance," Ursula Matthews said as she filled her tank. "I do a lot of driving from place to place. It's hurting me. I cannot raise the prices [of my services] with the economy what it is."

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Environment
2:20 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Anti-Nuclear Groups Excluded From Seabrook Re-licensing Process

Jim Richmond

Anti-Nuclear groups are angered by a decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exclude them from the re-licensing process for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. 

A number of groups filed for intervener status so that they could file objections to the plant's extension of its operation to 2050. The coalition of environmental organizations planned to argue that renewable energy resources, such as wind power, could ultimately replace nuclear power. But the NRC ruled that their argument lacked merit, because that replacement power isn't available now.

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