We’re starting a new feature, the Friday Fastbreak. Each week we’ll bring you a round-up of the biggest news in the energy, oil and gas industries. Here’s what you need to know for the first week of March.
Commentary Period for Keystone XL Ends
Today ends the 30-day period for the public to comment on the Keystone XL Pipeline before President Obama makes his decision later this year. Earlier this week, hundreds of college students handcuffed themselves to the fence surrounding the White House and created a mock oil spill in protest of the KXL, resulting in hundreds of arrests. Pro-Pipeliners have bolstered their arguments to approve the project by using examples of bipartisan support for the KXL.
Although Obama denied KXL in 2012, recent reports have indicated the project would have less environmental impact than alternatives. With mid-term elections coming up, however, many feel Obama’s decision could have more to do with politics than the environment.
Scientists Identify a Possible New Renewable Energy Source
Harvard scientists are on their way to generating power by capturing infrared emissions from the Earth. The team of scientists has come up with two possible emissive energy harvesting devices to capture infrared radiation that could then be transformed into energy, but both need more work before they become legitimate options.
“To generate power by emitting, not by absorbing light, that’s weird. It makes sense physically once you think about it, but it’s highly counter-intuitive,” lead researcher Professor Federico Capasso said.
FY 2015 Budget to Eliminate Tax Breaks for Fossil Fuel Companies, Fund DOE
President Obama released his FY 2015 budget on Tuesday that continued his drive to make clean energy resources the norm in America. He repeated his calls for eliminating tax breaks for oil, natural gas and coal companies, which could save roughly $50 billion over the next decade.
If Congress approves the budget, the Department of Energy will receive nearly $28 billion to spend on its programs, including the Fossil Fuel program, which is dedicated to finding “clean coal technologies” and tax credits for wind power companies. As with the KXL, however, midterm elections might influence members of Congress up for re-election to amend parts of the budget that their constituents would find too liberal.