Energy news in brief

** BP has announced plans to sell its petrochemical business to chemical giant INEOS for $5bn. BP said in a statement on Monday it had agreed the deal to sell part of its business that makes chemicals as a byproduct of oil refining. The sale is part of new chief executive Bernard Looney’s radical plan to remake BP for the clean energy era and part of broader plans to sell $15bn-worth of assets.

** In its environmental impact statement on opening up the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to oil and gas development, the BLM says noise from industrial activity “may trigger massive stampedes” and deaths of walruses.

** Advocates criticize President Trump’s decision to formally nominate William Pendley, who in the past has said federal land should be sold to the states, to head the Bureau of Land Management.

** A New Mexico college signs a memorandum of understanding to provide worker training for a proposed carbon capture project.

** A new Yale University report finds a majority of Wyoming voters strongly support clean energy, but differ along political affiliation on the need to address climate change.

** The Federal Reserve has bought $17.5 million worth of energy companies’ bonds and $19.5 million of utilities’ bonds on the open market as of June 18 through a partially taxpayer-backed program to help companies weather the coronavirus-induced economic slump.

** Analysis of the flooding risk for every continental U.S. home published today by nonprofit research group First Street Foundation found that an estimated 14.6 million face flooding risks on par with those in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 100-year floodplain.

** Tightening the national air quality standard for particulate matter would save more than 143,000 lives over a decade, according to a university study released Friday. Published in the journal Science Advances, the study compiled 16 years of health records from 68.5 million Medicare recipients to model long-term exposure and mortality.

** A federal judge on Friday ruled EPA is not required to study whether many air pollution rules have left any lingering public health risks. The ruling could affect EPA’s current review of emissions regulations for medical sterilizing facilities that use ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing gas that has prompted a public outcry in communities from Georgia to Illinois.

** The House is slated to vote this week on its $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, H.R. 2 (116), aiming to get the legislation across the finish line by packaging amendments together as much as possible.

** EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Friday bolstered the Trump administration’s bid to defund NPR after an NPR reporter editorialized against him and said it was “unsettling” to interview President Trump’s environment chief. “It reinforces in my mind that NPR should not be publicly financed. It’s just ridiculous,” Wheeler said after listening to how his 45-minute interview with Nora Saks of Montana Public Radio on Superfund cleanup efforts turned into an attack on the agency.

** Researchers anticipate Iowa’s ethanol industry will take a $2.6 billion hit by the end of the year due to low demand during the pandemic combined with federal policy on biofuel waivers and trade disputes.

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