Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
They also obtained an eyewitness account – backed by documents – indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
2017/09/06 – HACKERS GAIN DIRECT ACCESS TO US POWER GRID CONTROLS – Wired
Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.
In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey—none of which Symantec will name—their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.
Doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, does it?
2017/06/08 – Trump’s renewable energy cuts alarm former officials – CNN Money
Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power. The administration’s 2018 budget would slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by a stunning 71.9%.
Budget documents published by the DOE argue that the spending cuts to the renewables office will focus resources on early-stage research & development. The DOE added that it also “reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development and commercialization of energy technologies.”
2017/05/23 – This is what it’s like to be struck by lightning – Mosaic
If you’re hit by lightning, there’s a nine in ten chance you’ll survive. But what are the lasting effects of being exposed to hundreds of millions of volts?
Only by piecing together the bystander reports, the singed clothing and the burnt skin can survivors start to construct their own picture of the possible trajectory of the electrical current, one that can approach 200 million volts and travel at one-third of the speed of light.
Good information to know.
Coal on the rise: AAR – Railway Age
In reporting U.S. rail traffic volumes for the week ending Feb. 25, 2017 and the month of February 2017, the Association of American Railroads noted that coal rose 14% and 19.2%, respectively.
In February 2017, 11 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with February 2016. These included: coal, up 19.2% or 57,589 carloads; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 13.1% or 10,091 carloads; and primary metal products, up 6.8% or 2,357 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in February 2017 from February 2016 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 12.4% or 5,543 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 4.8% or 3,746; carloads and metallic ores, down 19.1% or 2,793 carloads.
It is good to look at the economy from all angles, not just the stock market. The coal industry took a sizable hit during the Obama years. Looks like they are starting to see some daylight.
U.S. crude oil exports have exceeded 1.2 million barrels a day, per the Financial Times. That follows the lifting of a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports in 2015, and far exceeds baseline projections.
The situation poses a threat to Saudi Arabia and other key OPEC members, which have historically had control over the oil industry and the power to gauge pricing.
The Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule aims to prevent or mitigate harm to streams and other waterways from mountaintop removal mining, among other mining practices.
“The responsible rule released today represents a modern and balanced approach to meeting the nation’s energy needs,” outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.
“Regulations need to keep pace with modern mining practices, so we worked closely with many stakeholders to craft a plan that protects water quality, supports economic opportunities, safeguards our environment and makes coalfield communities more resilient for a diversified economic future.”
Trump called the rule “excessive” in a September speech on his energy agenda and pledged that it would be repealed under his presidency. Last week he announced that Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke (R), a critic of the mining rule, would be his nominee for Interior secretary.
Trump would have to undertake an extensive rulemaking process to formally undo the regulation.
Many last minute regulations taking place. Environmentalists like this. Coal companies do not. Typical…