Energy & Environment

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Residents of the Flint Hills on Wednesday took a fight against an oil company to Kansas energy regulators as part of their broader battle to stem wastewater disposal in the area.

They fear that a request from Quail Oil and Gas to jettison up to 5,000 barrels a day of brine near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve brings a risk for earthquakes or contamination of local groundwater — claims that the company disputes. 

Win McNamee / Getty Images

The United States will withdraw from the international climate agreement known as the Paris accord, President Trump announced on Thursday. He said the U.S. will negotiate either re-entering the Paris agreement or a work on a new deal that would put American workers first.

During his campaign, Trump vowed to "cancel" U.S. participation in the deal. World leaders and business figures had recently urged him to reconsider. Ultimately, the president decided to withdraw, with the stated intention of renegotiating.

AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons

As a result of changing regulations surrounding the drone industry, Westar Energy has expanded its use of the technology and is using drones commercially. 

In August of last year, the rules surrounding drone usage became less strict, allowing non-pilots to fly unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, if they earn a certificate.

For Westar Energy, the largest electric utility provider in Kansas, that means the company can use drones to help make maps, inspect equipment and collect data.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has created seismicity guidelines that new oil and gas operations in two areas of the state must follow.

The affected area includes land from the north-central part of the state, east of Oklahoma City, all the way to the Texas border. The new operations are expected to account for the "vast majority" of new oil and gas activity in the state. Scientists have linked Oklahoma's sharp increase in earthquakes to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production.

Cally Carswell / Inside Energy/Harvest Public Media

In the 1930s, rural electric cooperatives brought electricity to the country’s most far-flung communities, transforming rural economies. In western Colorado, one of these co-ops is again trying to spur economic development, partly by generating more of their electricity locally from renewable resources, like water in irrigation ditches and the sun.

Abengoa Bioenergy

A major player in the ethanol industry with a plant in Kansas has filed for bankruptcy. Midwest corn suppliers say they’re owed millions of dollars.

Spanish company Abengoa produces grain ethanol here in the Midwest. It also built a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas to make fuel from grasses and other bio-products.

But that so-called advanced biofuel hasn’t truly hit the market.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Construction of a new energy center near the Kansas Statehouse has been delayed after lawmakers raised concerns about the plan. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the facility will provide heating and cooling to the Capitol and other state office buildings.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration reached a $20 million agreement to finance the project, but it was structured so it did not need approval from Kansas lawmakers. That rubbed some lawmakers the wrong way.

Some Kansas officials question the value of data collected in annual reports meant to identify state buildings using excessive amounts of energy.

The Department of Administration presented such a report Tuesday to a joint legislative committee that oversees state construction projects. The report said 120 of the 328 buildings surveyed, or nearly 37 percent, had excessive energy use over the past five years.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Some Kansas lawmakers are considering their options for fighting federal regulations on carbon emissions while at the same time allowing the state to develop a plan to meet those rules.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says the final version of a federal rule for cutting carbon emissions from power plants is "twice as bad" for the state as the original version outlined a year ago.

The Republican governor said Monday that changes announced by Democratic President Barack Obama will force Kansas to reconsider how it responds.

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