The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.
The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.
It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.FULL STORY
A combination of technical and communication failures contributed to the partial power outage that disrupted this year's Super Bowl, an independent analysis has determined, utility Entergy New Orleans said Thursday.
The power was cut off to half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, causing a 34-minute delay in the February game.
Dr. John Palmer of Palmer Engineering & Forensics said a recently installed relay had a "design defect" that caused it to trip in an unpredictable way.
He said the device's trip level had been left at the factory default setting, which was inappropriate for its application in the dome.
Palmer's report also cited "inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility" as a contributing factor.
A fatal explosion last month in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was caused by the accidental ignition of natural gas vapors that had accumulated inside a popular restaurant, according to a report from a joint city-federal task force.
After a gas line nearby was ruptured, firefighters asked employees at JJ's restaurant "to put the flames out on the candles, stove and hot water heater" inside, said the report.
When queried after the blast by investigators, the restaurant's manager acknowledged the initial request and said workers "only put the candles out and turned the stove off, but did not turn out the pilot lights for the stove or hot water heater," according to the report issued Wednesday.FULL STORY
Global warming has propelled Earth's climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest - in just one century.
A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.
Things are set to get much worse in the future.FULL STORY
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday for a resolution strengthening sanctions on North Korea.
The Security Council resolution targeting North Korea and its nuclear program includes tough new financial sanctions, travel restrictions, and inspection powers.
"These sanctions will bite and bite hard," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told reporters after the unanimous resolution vote on Thursday.FULL STORY
The United States and China reached a tentative deal for a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution on more sanctions for North Korea after its latest nuclear test, a senior Obama administration official told CNN.
The full council is expected to deal with the issue on Tuesday.FULL STORY
Diplomats emerged Wednesday from an unusually secretive round of talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program with a joint announcement to hold a follow-up meeting within weeks.
In a joint statement after the meeting in Kazakhstan, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 18.FULL STORY
A tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is leaking liquids to the tune of 150-300 gallons per year, the governor said Friday.
"This is an extremely toxic substance and we have to have a zero tolerance policy for leaks of radioactive material into the ground, and potentially groundwater of the state of Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters.
He stressed the leak poses no immediate public heath risk, but said that fact should not be an excuse for complacence.FULL STORY
A November drop in gas prices drove down a key measure of inflation for U.S. consumers, the Labor Department said Friday.
The Consumer Price Index fell 0.3% during the month, thanks to 7.4% drop in gas prices last month alone, CNNMoney’s Chris Isidore reports.FULL STORY
Human error is to blame in last week's gas-fueled explosion that ripped through a strip club in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield, officials said Sunday.
The blast injured at least 21 people, including firefighters.
A utility worker, responding to a report of a gas odor inside a building, inadvertently punctured a hole in a high-pressure gas line at the foundation of that building, according to a statement from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Markings on the sidewalk incorrectly indicated where the line was.
Once the pipe was punctured, the worker called the gas company and the fire department to shut off the gas, and the area around the building was evacuated. Investigators believe gas from the leak entered the building and later ignited.FULL STORY
Two nuclear reactors on South Korea's southwest coast have been shut down after the government announced it had discovered "unproven" parts were being used in such plants, according to a report Monday from Yonhap news agency.
Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo said there's no threat of a radiation leak, saying the parts in question were "ordinary" - things such as fuses and power switches - and are unrelated to the reactors themselves but haven't met the requirements to be used in nuclear plants.
According to Hong, eight suppliers faked 60 warranties for 234 parts (involving a total of 7,682 items worth about 820 million won, or $750,000) since 2003, Yonhap reported.
Cubans are used to the mundane inconvenience of brief, localized power outages that regularly hit the country's aging electricity grid, but the large blackout that plunged the western part of the Caribbean island into darkness Sunday night was unusual.
Power remained down early Monday in the capital, Havana. The city's more than 2 million residents were without electricity, except for those at hospitals and other places with generators, according to a government spokesman, who was not identified per government policy.
Residents elsewhere in the socialist-ruled nation - including in Ciego de Avila in central Cuba - also said they didn't have any power, except for a few pockets of light.
"Western Cuba is without power," a pro-government blogger known as Yohandry Fontana tweeted.FULL STORY
Forty percent of food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, taking a toll on the country's water resources and significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council released this week.
The group says more than 20 pounds of food is wasted each month for each of 311 million Americans, amounting to $1,350 to $2,275 annually in waste for a family of four. Think of it as dumping 80 quarter-pound hamburger patties in the garbage each month, or chucking two dozen boxes of breakfast cereal into the trash bin rather than putting them in your pantry.
The report points out waste in all areas of the U.S. food supply chain, from field to plate, from farms to warehouses, from buffets to school cafeterias.
"Food is simply too good to waste," the report says. "Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates."
August 6 is a day of anniversaries. Unfortunately, some of them are dubious milestones.
Topping the list is the first anniversary of the Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 U.S. service members, 22 of them Navy SEALs. Included were some members of Team 6, the unit credited with the raid that killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
CNN.com's Ashley Fantz was able to find a heartwarming angle to this tragic anniversary, revisiting an iReport posted by Braydon Nichols, the son of Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols, who piloted the Chinook. The boy, now 11, asked that no one forget his father, and judging from the reaction to young Braydon's iReport post, no one has.
His brother, Monte, adds that Braydon is doing well in school and coping with the loss of his father as well as can be expected.
Monday also marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.
President Barack Obama announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil Tuesday, warning Tehran that it faces "growing consequences" for refusing to answer international questions about its nuclear program.
The first set of sanctions announced will target the Islamic republic's energy and petrochemical industries, a move designed to "deter Iran from establishing payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent existing sanctions," a White House statement explains.
The statement continues, "Sanctions are also authorized for those who may seek to avoid the impact of these sanctions, including against individuals and entities that provide material support to the National Iranian Oil Company, Naftiran Intertrade Company, or the Central Bank of Iran, or for the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the government of Iran."
The second set of sanctions will target banks, "a significant step to hold responsible institutions that knowingly enable financial transactions for designated Iranian banks," the statement said.
The Department of Treasury specifically targeted Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq. The two financial institutions are alleged to have facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars for Iranian banks that are under sanctions because of the country's nuclear proliferation activities, according to the statement.
A Japanese government report Monday heaped fresh criticism on the operator of the nuclear power plant where a disastrous accident was set off last year by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country.
The measures taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant operator, and the Japanese nuclear regulator to prepare for disasters were "insufficient," the report by a government-formed panel of investigators said, and the response to the crisis was "inadequate."
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
Even now, more than one year after the disaster began, TEPCO doesn't seem to be making much effort to clearly investigate the causes of the accident at the plant, the 10-member panel, led by Tokyo University engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura, said in the report Monday.FULL STORY
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Two teams of producers are traversing the country as part of CNN Radio and CNN iReport's Embed America project. They're talking to voters about how the 2012 presidential election affects them, and focusing on issues identified during phase 1 of the iReport debate.
CNN visited Hopedale, Ohio, to meet iReporter Amanda Sedgmer. She's the mother of five children and the wife and daughter of a coal miner. Sedgmer told CNN she feared that if President Obama was re-elected, her family's way of life would be threatened. At the same time, competition from natural gas and a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency are contributing to the demise of some coal plants. The resulting story garnered thousands of comments. One topic the readers discussed was how other fields have changed due to circumstances. Some offered messages of hope for Hopedale.
The decline of auto manufacturing jobs in the Midwest left this reader out in the cold, and she offered advice to Sedgmer.
Jakes_momma: "Ms. Sedgmer, please don't blame the POTUS for the decline in coal production. The energy industry is changing. Coal was once king, now it's natural gas. That's not the government, that's industry moving on. If you and your husband are smart, you'll make a change quickly and leave the area, as much as it saddens me to tell you that. I've had to leave my childhood home of central Indiana when the auto industry shut plant after plant after plant in the city we lived in during the '80s. There are no longer good paying production jobs of any quantity in that area. We didn't wait until the last plant closed to leave, we sold our home and moved on. We would have loved to have had a GM job like our dads but it was not in our control. You may be voting for Romney but you would be wise to keep the Obama 2012 slogan in mind - 'Forward.' What is really in the future of the coal industry regardless of who is president is more closures. I think they have fracking in Ohio; that's the future (at least short-term). Good luck to you, your family and your area! It's hard and very sad to watch an industry change, even if it's better for all."
Some said readers should try to be understanding of the family.
Andrea Dawn Bignall: "If you were in their situation, you would probably do the same. They have kids to think about, and jobs are harder to come by nowadays. Yeah, its bad for the environment, but so is driving you car back and forth to work everyday. Put yourself in someone else's shoes."
One commenter asked if the family is lucky, in a strange way. FULL POST
Embattled Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko announced Monday he is resigning.
Jaczko, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has been under fire after Democratic and Republican members of the commission complained about his management style earlier this year.
In his statement Monday, Jaczko said he would stay on until a successor is confirmed by Congress.FULL STORY
The U.S. Navy for the first time will demonstrate what it calls a Great Green Fleet, a carrier strike group operating in large part on nonfossil fuels, during a larger, 22-nation exercise this summer.
The Navy’s two-day demonstration, which will happen during the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise around Hawaii from June 29 to August 3, is part of its plan to send such a strike group on a regular, months-long deployment in 2016, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Wednesday.
It’s also a step in the Navy’s plan to meet at least half of its energy needs – on shore and afloat – with nonfossil fuels by 2020, Mabus said.
“(This summer’s demonstration) will focus on the fact that we are well down the path of meeting these goals,” Mabus said.
The demonstration strike group will include aircraft operating on 50/50 blends of biofuel and conventional aviation fuel, and noncarrier ships operating on 50/50 blends of biofuel and diesel. Other parts of a strike group – a carrier and submarines – already are nuclear-powered.
A U.N. nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Iran, state-run media reported.
Ok-Seok Seo was traveling with another inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency near the Khandab nuclear complex in central Markazi province when their vehicle overturned, state news agencies said, citing Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.
The IAEA has not commented on the report.FULL STORY