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Ukraine, Chevron sign shale gas deal

November 5, 2013 9:16 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Ukrainian government signed a shale gas production-sharing agreement with the Chevron, as the country strives for energy independence from neighboring Russia. Energy Minister Eduard Stavitsky said that under the deal, Chevron will initially invest $350 million into exploratory and drilling work in the Oleska field in western Ukraine. Total investment could surpass $10 billion over 50 years.

EU lawmakers approve tough new data protection laws

October 22, 2013 8:28 am | by Juergen Baetz, Associated Press | News | Comments

European Union lawmakers on Monday adopted sweeping new data protection rules to strengthen online privacy, and sought to outlaw most data transfers to other countries' authorities to prevent spying. The draft regulation was beefed up after Edward Snowden's leaks about allegedly widespread U.S. online snooping, and the legislation is poised to have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies.

Calif. finds more instances of offshore fracking

October 21, 2013 7:56 am | by Alicia Chang and Jason Dearen, Associated Press | News | Comments

In waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach—some of the region's most popular surfing strands and tourist attractions—oil companies have used fracking at least 203 times at six sites in the past two decades. This discovery made from drilling records and interviews shows that offshore fracking is more widespread and frequent that state officials believed.

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Government reopens after Congress ends 16-day shutdown

October 17, 2013 9:01 am | by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government reopened its doors after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations. Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president's landmark health care law.

Study: Renewable fuel standard needs to be modified, not repealed

October 15, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

Congress should minimally modify—and not, as petroleum-related interests have increasingly lobbied for, repeal—the Renewable Fuel Standard (RSF), the most comprehensive renewable energy policy in the U.S., according to a new paper from two Univ. of Illinois researchers. In the study, the researchers argue that RFS mandates merely ought to be adjusted to reflect current and predicted biofuel commercialization realities.

U.S. businesses worry about a prolonged shutdown

October 2, 2013 3:01 am | by JOYCE M. ROSENBERG - AP Business Writers - Associated Press | News | Comments

As the government's partial shutdown enters a second day, most companies across the country are doing business as usual. Yet concern is rising that a prolonged shutdown would cause some work at private companies to dry up and consumers to lose faith in the U.S. economy.

Study: Methane leaks from gas drilling not huge

September 17, 2013 1:02 pm | by Kevin Begos and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

According to research published this week drilling and fracking for natural gas don't seem to spew immense amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the air, as has been feared. The study, mostly funded by energy interests,  doesn't address other fracking concerns about potential air and water pollution, but does generally with government estimates.

Data: a resource more valuable than gold?

September 13, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.

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Hydroelectric power makes big comeback at U.S. dams

September 12, 2013 9:20 am | by David Pitt, Associated Press | News | Comments

In the 1980s and 1990s, hydroelectric development stagnated as environmental groups lobbied against it and a long regulatory process required years of environmental study. But for the first time in decades, power companies are proposing new projects to take advantage of government financial incentives, policies that promote renewable energy over fossil fuels and efforts to streamline the permit process.

Web tool expands access to scientific, regulatory chemical information

September 9, 2013 12:54 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects.

NIST announces funding opportunity to support Alaska’s manufacturers

September 6, 2013 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Through its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), NIST intends to fund a six-month project in support of Alaska's efforts to diversify its manufacturing base. U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations, including state and local governments, are eligible to apply for the $150,000 award.

New agreement strengthens U.S., U.K. research collaboration

September 6, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

The U.S. National Science Foundation and U.K. Research Councils have entered into a new agreement designed to help support international research partnerships between the two nations. This new, two-way, lead-agency agreement enables a simplified and flexible process for researchers wishing to apply for U.S.-U.K. collaborative research funding, using the same systems and processes within the respective funding agencies.

Time for tech transfer law to change?

August 29, 2013 2:56 pm | News | Comments

The law that has helped medical discoveries make the leap from university labs to the marketplace for more than 30 years needs revising, according to Univ. of Michigan doctor has taken another look at the history of Bayh-Dole. He says that the Supreme Court ruling on gene patenting, and modern risks raised by industry/academic interaction, signal a need for change.

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California vies for new space industry

August 28, 2013 7:52 am | by Mihir Zaveri, Associated Press | News | Comments

As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives. They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

A new approach to making climate treaties work

August 21, 2013 7:58 am | by Rob Jordan, Stanford University | News | Comments

Why can’t global leaders agree on a broad, effective climate change pact? More than 20 years after they began, international negotiations based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have resulted in only one legally binding treaty. That agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, has not been ratified by the U.S., historically the world’s largest carbon emitter. 

Calif. coastal panel takes up offshore fracking

August 15, 2013 3:27 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California regulators on Thursday were set to take up offshore fracking after revelations that the practice had quietly occurred off the coast since the late 1990s. The California Coastal Commission added the issue at the last minute to its agenda during its monthly meeting. 

Re-imagining National Labs in today's innovation economy

July 31, 2013 9:23 am | News | Comments

The National Laboratories are a tremendous R&D resource, but their operations are still based on a decades-old management model that no longer meets the needs of our modern innovation ecosystem. This study presents a series of concrete proposals for Congress and the Administration that can ensure the Laboratories better meet their mission and produce useful technologies that benefit the American economy.

FDA proposes rules for safer imported foods

July 26, 2013 5:14 pm | by MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Chances are that about 15% of the food you eat—more if your diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and cheese—comes from abroad, and the government is taking steps now to make it safer. New rules proposed Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would make U.S. food importers responsible for ensuring that their foreign suppliers are handling and processing food safely.

EU, U.S. to extend cooperation on measurements, standards

July 25, 2013 8:08 am | News | Comments

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week agreed to expand their current scientific cooperation to include new areas of research, such as energy, health care and clinical measurements, and food safety and nutrition.

China's online population rises to 519 million

July 17, 2013 10:04 am | News | Comments

China's population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20% rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices, an industry group reported Wednesday. The rise of Web use has driven the growth of new Chinese industries from online shopping and microblogs to online video.

Experts say U.S. spy alliance will survive Snowden

July 16, 2013 9:34 am | by Nick Perry and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press | News | Comments

American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch their collaborative spying arrangement: the Five Eyes. Revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, they say, are unlikely to stop or even slow the global growth of secret-hunting—an increasingly critical factor in the security and prosperity of nations.

For Obama's climate plan, devil is in the details

July 15, 2013 10:24 pm | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

Three weeks after giving an ambitious speech to outline his climate change proposal, President Obama begins the arduous task of executing it. His plan is a complicated mix of rulemaking and federal permitting that's tough to encapsulate in a neat sales pitch—and may be even tougher to put into action.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 27, 2013 2:11 pm | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State University | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to recent research. Hydroelectric dams are controlled by guide curves that account for drinking water and droughts. They cannot simply release water to meet some electricity demand or hold back water when electricity is in low demand.

Obama's climate plan takes aim at coal plants

June 25, 2013 5:28 pm | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

America is slowly moving toward cleaner sources of energy and using less of it overall. President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change will accelerate those trends. The plan aims to reduce power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide, increase America's reliance on natural gas and renewables and make trucks, homes and businesses more efficient.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 25, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to Penn State Univ. researchers. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recently examined the feasibility of producing 20% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. 

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