Volume 5, Issue 5
March 11, 2018 – March 17, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Amy Amatya '21 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21


  Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show   March 2, 2018 | New York Times | Eric Lipton  Some 25,000 recently unearthed emails sent within the Department of the Interior show that the shrinkage of a number of national monuments imposed by the Trump Administration, including Bear Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante in Utah, were primarily motivated by oil, coal, gas, and mineral resource development. While the decision to slash the square footage of parks protecting sites of cultural and geological importance drew fierce opposition, it was also favored by some lawmakers and locals. They say that selling rights to resource extraction on these public lands generates revenue for Utah public schools and that the establishing monuments like Bears Ears, which protects hundreds of thousands of ancestral Puebloan sites, hurts the state economy. The Trump administration continues to erode Obama-imposed environmental initiatives with the claim that they hurt the nation’s energy industry. -AA

Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show
March 2, 2018 | New York Times | Eric Lipton
Some 25,000 recently unearthed emails sent within the Department of the Interior show that the shrinkage of a number of national monuments imposed by the Trump Administration, including Bear Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante in Utah, were primarily motivated by oil, coal, gas, and mineral resource development. While the decision to slash the square footage of parks protecting sites of cultural and geological importance drew fierce opposition, it was also favored by some lawmakers and locals. They say that selling rights to resource extraction on these public lands generates revenue for Utah public schools and that the establishing monuments like Bears Ears, which protects hundreds of thousands of ancestral Puebloan sites, hurts the state economy. The Trump administration continues to erode Obama-imposed environmental initiatives with the claim that they hurt the nation’s energy industry. -AA

  Converting CO2 into usable energy   March 1, 2018 | ScienceDaily | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory  Carbon dioxide can now be used to produce energy by first converting it to CO, which is useful in producing hydrogen gas, hydrocarbons, and alcohols. Previous attempts to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO) using noble metals like gold and platinum were successful. However, the cost of these metals drove research into other conversion methods, including nickel. Used in bulk, nickel was relatively ineffective, but a collaboration involving U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory discovered that individual atoms of nickel interacted differently with the CO2 molecules and worked effectively. Other research laboratories have shown that 97 percent efficiency can be achieved in this conversion. -NC

Converting CO2 into usable energy
March 1, 2018 | ScienceDaily | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Carbon dioxide can now be used to produce energy by first converting it to CO, which is useful in producing hydrogen gas, hydrocarbons, and alcohols. Previous attempts to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO) using noble metals like gold and platinum were successful. However, the cost of these metals drove research into other conversion methods, including nickel. Used in bulk, nickel was relatively ineffective, but a collaboration involving U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory discovered that individual atoms of nickel interacted differently with the CO2 molecules and worked effectively. Other research laboratories have shown that 97 percent efficiency can be achieved in this conversion. -NC

  New York is Moving Aggressively To Harvest Its Offshore Wind   March 9, 2018 | Forbes | Peter Kelly-Detwiler  This interview with Alicia Barton, the CEO of the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), explores New York’s potential to harvest offshore winds alongside other East Coast states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts. Barton’s hope for a smooth transition into exploring this new source of energy comes from combined commitments to the industry, which will decrease costs and improve efficiencies. Major enterprises, including Statoil and Deepwater Wind, are engaged in talks with the NYSERDA to claim the potential for 7,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy with their own turbines. The last step, and the most technical, towards making this dream into a reality, is actually procuring the turbines and getting them out on the water. Barton concludes that all this will help turn the East Coast into “one of the next big global frontiers for wind energy.” -JK   Tough Talk As Oklahoma's Wind Industry Becomes A Political Target   March 6, 2018 | National Public Radio | Joe Wertz  Tax credits helped to bring wind companies to Oklahoma, previously an oil and gas stronghold, in the nineties. Today, it’s the state with the second-highest wind capacity in the U.S. Oil companies in Oklahoma have long protested its wind incentives. As oil prices remain persistently low, however, the tug-of-war between the oil and wind industries has grown into a political battle. Coalitions backed by oil and gas companies are pressuring politicians in the state to impose a wind production tax and roll back incentives. -AD

New York is Moving Aggressively To Harvest Its Offshore Wind
March 9, 2018 | Forbes | Peter Kelly-Detwiler
This interview with Alicia Barton, the CEO of the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), explores New York’s potential to harvest offshore winds alongside other East Coast states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts. Barton’s hope for a smooth transition into exploring this new source of energy comes from combined commitments to the industry, which will decrease costs and improve efficiencies. Major enterprises, including Statoil and Deepwater Wind, are engaged in talks with the NYSERDA to claim the potential for 7,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy with their own turbines. The last step, and the most technical, towards making this dream into a reality, is actually procuring the turbines and getting them out on the water. Barton concludes that all this will help turn the East Coast into “one of the next big global frontiers for wind energy.” -JK

Tough Talk As Oklahoma's Wind Industry Becomes A Political Target
March 6, 2018 | National Public Radio | Joe Wertz
Tax credits helped to bring wind companies to Oklahoma, previously an oil and gas stronghold, in the nineties. Today, it’s the state with the second-highest wind capacity in the U.S. Oil companies in Oklahoma have long protested its wind incentives. As oil prices remain persistently low, however, the tug-of-war between the oil and wind industries has grown into a political battle. Coalitions backed by oil and gas companies are pressuring politicians in the state to impose a wind production tax and roll back incentives. -AD

  Exxon Mobil Scraps a Russian Deal, Stymied by Sanctions   February 28, 2018 | New York Times | Clifford Kraus   Exxon Mobil was forced to freeze joint investments with Rosneft, the Russian national oil company which is closely aligned with the political interests of the Russian government, shortly after its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Now, Exxon has officially abandoned its ventures with the company, shifting its attention to reserves in Texas and New Mexico as well as in several developing nations. Some of its operations in Russia, including the management of oil fields on the island of Sakhalin, are still allowed under the sanctions. -AD

Exxon Mobil Scraps a Russian Deal, Stymied by Sanctions
February 28, 2018 | New York Times | Clifford Kraus
Exxon Mobil was forced to freeze joint investments with Rosneft, the Russian national oil company which is closely aligned with the political interests of the Russian government, shortly after its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Now, Exxon has officially abandoned its ventures with the company, shifting its attention to reserves in Texas and New Mexico as well as in several developing nations. Some of its operations in Russia, including the management of oil fields on the island of Sakhalin, are still allowed under the sanctions. -AD