Fate of Keystone Pipeline in the Hands of Nebraskan Jurists
The focus of the Keystone XL pipeline debate has shifted from a fierce lobbying strife in Washington to Nebraska, where the state Supreme Court has been asked to weigh a legal challenge to the project. The U.S. State Department said on April 18 that it would delay making a recommendation until legal questions about the way the route was approved through the state are resolved. That could spare President Obama from having to make a decision on the controversial project which splits supporters of his in the labor and environmental movements before November’s important congressional election.
China Reiterates Plans to Boost Renewable Energy
China, the world’s top renewable energy investor, reiterated its plans to boost development of solar and wind power plants along with projects to transmit electricity from clean sources. The country will also be constructing key nuclear power projects and hydropower plants, says Premier Li Keqiang. Li declared war on smog in a speech last month and has vowed to shut coal-fired plants among other measures to improve air quality as Beijing failed to meet government standards 52 percent of the time last year.
Corn Stover Biofuel May Not Be Better than Gas, Says Report
A $500,000 study paid for by the government and released in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuel made with corn residue releases 7 percent more greenhouse gas in the early years compared with conventional gas. While biofuels are better in the long term, the study claims that they will not meet a standard set in 2001 to qualify as renewable fuel. The study deals a blow to cellulosic biofuels, which have received billions of dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets required by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn stovers.
Lack of Pipeline Network A Hurdle for Japan’s Push for Gas Exchange
Japan’s effort to set up a natural gas exchange may be impeded by the lack of pipeline networks across the country, according to a subcommittee of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The gas exchange is being considered as part of measures to deregulate the nation’s retail gas market amid surging fossil fuel import costs and nuclear reactor shutdowns. Construction costs for new pipelines are estimated at around $19.2 billion. The Ministry will start discussions in coming months about the feasibility of the endeavor.