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House Republicans: Administration 'slow rolling' documents on bird deaths at wind farms

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is refusing to turn over documents related to enforcement of environmental laws at wind farms where dozens of eagles and other protected birds have been killed, House Republicans charged Wednesday.

Park service says Soda Mountain solar project would harm Mojave preserve

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The National Park Service says a proposed 6.5-square-mile solar development about a half-mile from the Mojave National Preserve would harm wildlife and should be built elsewhere. Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois submitted a letter critical of the plan to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the public land where the Soda Mountain solar project is planned, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Wednesday ( ).

California senators float post-2020 climate change bill

By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two California state senators released a bill on Wednesday that would give regulators the authority to design a plan to meet the state's long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals and improve air quality in the state's poorest communities. The bill is an effort by Democratic senators Fran Pavley and Ricardo Lara to get the legislature's blessing for an extension of the state's pioneering climate change efforts beyond the end of the decade.

EPA, Texas reach agreement on parts of clean air plan that had long been points of contention

DALLAS - Federal and state environmental officials said Wednesday that they have reached an agreement on portions of the Texas clean air plan that, for years, have been points of contention. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality confirmed Wednesday that the conditional agreement on state permits will allow some operating flexibility to major air pollution sources, such as refineries.

Tourists face shutdown deadline to leave US parks

Hundreds of tourists staying in landmark US national parks like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon face a deadline Thursday to leave due to the government shutdown. The National Park Service closed its gates on its 401 sites as soon as the shutdown went into effect Tuesday morning, leaving visitors -- including many from overseas -- frustrated at park entrances across the country.

Glacier National Park awards 16-year concessions contract to Xanterra

HELENA, Mont. - The National Park Service has awarded Xanterra Parks and Resorts Inc. a 16-year contract to provide concession services in Glacier National Park. Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said Tuesday Xanterra won the competitive bidding process for the contract held by Glacier Park Inc. since 1981. The Colorado-based Xanterra will provide lodging, food, retail, transportation and other visitor services.

State senator slams California for lack of oil drilling oversight

By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California oil and gas regulators have failed to monitor practices used to access shale oil, including the injection of dangerous chemicals underground, a state senator said Thursday, urging passage of her proposed oversight legislation.

Feds bar new mining claims from 17 new solar energy zones on Western public lands

WASHINGTON - Federal officials have taken another step toward establishing 17 new "solar energy zones" on public lands in the West by barring new mining claims that could impede renewable energy development on the sites. The Interior Department said Friday it has withdrawn nearly 304,000 acres of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah from new mining claims.

Inspector General: Undervalued coal leases on federal land cost US $62 million in recent years

BILLINGS, Mont. - Undervalued coal sales from public lands have cost the U.S. an estimated $62 million in potential lost revenues in recent years, according to a Tuesday report from federal investigators who recommended broad changes to the government's coal leasing program to stem further losses. The Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General report comes amid rising pressure from Congress and environmentalists to make sure taxpayers are getting their fair share of coal sales.

New Interior Department drilling rule relies on industry-sponsored database

WASHINGTON - Companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands will be required to disclose publicly the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations, the Obama administration said Thursday. The new "fracking" rule replaces a draft proposed last year that was withdrawn amid industry complaints that federal regulation could hinder an ongoing boom in natural gas production.
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