Tag Archives: fuel

Report: Operator error caused train derailment, ethanol spill

Federal investigators said crew fatigue may have contributed to the derailment of a BNSF freight train that spilled more than 20,000 gallons of ethanol last year in western Wisconsin.

The engineer and the conductor scored poorly on the Federal Railroad Administration’s fatigue analysis tool, even though they each had more than 13 hours of rest prior to beginning their shift at 1 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2015.

The derailment occurred nearly eight hours later.

Both employees passed alcohol and drug screenings.

A report released this week said the engineer violated railroad guidelines by applying the brakes too suddenly, causing 25 cars to jump the tracks near Alma, Wisconsin. Braking rapidly can cause momentum at the rear of a train, which can push cars off the track, the La Crosse Tribune  reported.

According to the report, the freight train was traveling at 26 mph when it derailed, and was previously slowed from 54 mph. The maximum speed limit on the track where the incident occurred is 60 mph and the train was restricted to 55 mph, according to the FRA report.

The administration also determined the layout of the more than 100-car train, which had heavily-loaded cars behind dozens of lighter and empty cars, contributed to the derailment.

The FRA characterized the incident as poor handling. Spokesman Marc Willis said the agency didn’t fine the railroad because the engineer did not violate any federal regulations.

BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said as a result of the incident the engineer is no longer employed with the company.

No injuries were reported in the incident which caused about $2.1 million damage to rail equipment.

The derailment was one of several rail accidents last winter in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

 

Explosion in Alabama shuts down gas pipeline, kills worker

Colonial Pipeline Co’s main gasoline line, a crucial supply source to the East Coast, is shut down for at least several days, after an explosion and fire in Alabama killed one worker and injured five others.

Crews have isolated the fire, which came weeks after its biggest gasoline spill in nearly two decades shut the same line for 12 days.

The latest incident also temporarily shut down the distillates line, which transports diesel and jet fuels to the Northeast. It reopened early Tuesday, Colonial said.

The explosion occurred several miles from the September leak. A nine-man crew working on the line in Shelby County hit Line 1, the main gasoline pipeline, with a large excavator known as a track hoe, Colonial said late Monday. About 1.3 million barrels of gasoline flows daily on the line.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said investigators were on the scene. They noted that contractors were “reportedly” working on repairs on Line 1 related to the Sept. 9 spill.

One person was killed and five others hospitalized in the latest incident, Colonial said.

The explosion took place in an unincorporated wildlife area outside Helena, Alabama. Colonial and the state’s forestry commission were leading the response.

The 5,500-mile pipeline is the largest U.S. refined products pipeline system and can carry more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel between the Gulf Coast to the New York Harbor area.

Shippers using the East Coast supply artery were bracing for a longer shutdown as Colonial said it was hard to predict a repair schedule.

The shutdown will restrict gasoline supplies to millions of Americans in the U.S. Southeast and possibly the Northeast. The Northeast could be less affected since it can get supplies via waterborne shippers. Colonial said its main gasoline line could be open as early as Saturday.

 

Gasoline prices rose as much as 13 percent on Tuesday.

The shutdown already has shippers and fuel companies scrambling to secure supplies via sea or other alternatives to get fuel to the East Coast. Fuel retailers and consumers are likely to be most affected, though prices at the pump have not risen yet, even as gasoline futures have spiked.

 

Barclays analyst Warren Russell said on Tuesday prior to Colonial’s statement that a restart could take longer due to concerns by regulators, given the proximity to the September leak, and as repair and safety inspections take place.

“The facts on the ground are not 100 percent clear,” said Russell. “This is the second accident in two months, so the stakes are much higher this time around.”

 

GASOLINE PRICES SPIKE

Gasoline futures rose as much as 13 percent early in the session to $1.6351, the highest since early June. At midday, it rose 4.1 percent to $1.48 per gallon. U.S. gasoline margins hit their highest since early May.

Ryan Chandler, vice president at Colonial Group Inc, which is not connected to Colonial Pipeline, said he has been fielding calls from the pipeline’s customers seeking access to its Charleston and Savannah marine terminals.

Chandler’s company manages three marine terminals in the Southeast and ships on the Colonial pipeline. He said during the September outage, business at the Savannah terminal jumped sevenfold, while Charleston jumped fivefold.

For inland markets in the U.S. Southeast, which do not have access to ports, alternative supplies can be harder to get.

The September spill led to long lines at the pump and a shortage of fuel in states like Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.

 

Landmark anti-coal bill becomes law in Oregon

Oregon is the first state to eradicate coal from its power supply through legislation and now boasts some of the most stringent demands for renewable energy among its state peers.

The new law will wipe out coal-generated energy in phases through 2030 and requires utilities to provide half of customers’ power with renewable sources by 2040, doubling the state’s previous standard.

“Oregon is known to be a leader in clean-energy programs, investing in energy efficiency and recognizing the risk of climate change,” said Gov. Kate Brown, who signed the measure surrounded by students at a Portland elementary school that’s powered by solar panels.

oregon gov. kate brown
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Environmental experts and advocates say the law’s coal phase-out component is precedent-setting for lawmakers considering similar moves in their own states, although Hawaii and Vermont have long-standing histories of running coal-free.

The renewables portion thrusts Oregon to the top ranks of a handful of other states that have renewable mandates of 50 percent or more. Hawaii, for instance, has a 100-percent requirement by 2045 while Massachusetts has 1-percent annual increase indefinitely, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 

Coal, climate and politics

Coal and renewables are among the key talking points that drive the national debate over climate change, which is a top agenda item for Democrats and the party’s presidential campaigns this year. Oregon’s new law also aligns with some of President Obama’s statements on the topic over the years.

“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels,” Obama said during his final State of the Union address in January.

But Democrats’ efforts for tighter regulations on the energy industry are at odds with Republicans who are trying to block Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court.

Even for progressive Oregon, the new anti-coal law — a negotiated deal between the state’s utilities and environmentalists — wasn’t an easy pass.

Oregon GOP lawmakers, the minority party in both statehouse chambers, went to great lengths to stop the measure with tactics that slowed down the entire legislative process. The GOP raised concerns about cost increases to consumers’ energy bills and questioned whether the environmental benefits were overstated.

“Today, Gov. Brown gave her stamp of approval to a new renewable energy mandate that will cost residential electricity customers in Oregon $190 more each year until 2040,” Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, among the law’s most outspoken opponents, said Friday.

He argued the law “lines the pockets of the green energy industry at the expense of working Oregonians who get nothing in return.”

Britain’s last coal pit closes

Coal once fueled the British Empire, employed armies of men and shook the power of governments.

Earlier this month, workers at Britain’s last operating deep coal mine finished their final shift, emerging — soot-blackened and live on television news channels — to cheers, applause and tears.

Some of the men carried lumps of coal as mementoes from the Kellingley Colliery, 200 miles north of London. The last haul of coal from the pit is destined for a mining museum as a once-mighty industry fades into history.

“There’s a few lads shedding tears, just getting all emotional,” said miner Neil Townend, 51.

Defiant to the end, the Kellingley miners sang a hit by Tom Jones — the son of a Welsh coal miner — as they headed underground for the last time.

“This is what makes us very special, the mining community,” said Nigel Kemp, who worked at the mine for more than 30 years. “The men have gone down today singing ‘My, my, my, Delilah.’ Every single man on the cage, you could hear them 400 feet down singing.”

At its peak in the 1920s, Britain’s mining industry employed more than 1 million people, as coal powered trains, fueled factories and heated homes. After World War II, the country still had 750,000 underground miners at almost 1,000 coal pits, but the industry’s days were already numbered.

With gas and nuclear power on the rise, hundreds of coal mines had closed by 1984, when a showdown between the British government and the miners cemented the industry’s central — and contested — place in Britain’s national mythology.

Thousands of miners went on strike hoping to scuttle then-Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s plan to shut down 20 pits and lose 20,000 jobs in an effort to destroy the powerful mining unions, which for years had used their economic clout to extract concessions from British governments.

The bitter, yearlong struggle brought violent picket-line clashes and ended in victory for the government. Since then, changing economic demands and cheap imported coal have all but wiped out Britain’s mining industry.

Britain still gets a fifth of its electricity from coal, although that is giving way to cleaner alternatives. Almost half the country’s power now comes from nuclear or renewable sources like wind and solar, and Britain has agreed to sharply cut its greenhouse gas emissions under an international deal to limit climate change signed in Paris last week.

And it’s not just Britain _ the world as a whole agreed to move away from using fossil fuels, including coal, that are blamed for global warming.

With coal prices lower than they have been for years, it’s cheaper to import coal from countries including Russia, Colombia and the United States than to dig it out of British soil. Critics say some of those countries have lower wages and worse safety records than Britain.

Britain still has several open-cast mines as well as a handful of idle pits that could be reopened if needed, but Kellingley was the last deep mine producing coal on a large scale. Its closure marks the end of an industry that was dirty and dangerous but brought pride and purpose to close-knit communities.

“Everything spread from the pit,” said Andy Smith, acting director of the National Coal Mining Museum, which plans to put the last ton of coal from Kellingley on display.

“Community spirit came from working in the pit. If you didn’t work in the pit, you were involved in making mine machinery, or supplying the mine canteen with bread or pork pies. (There were) sports and social clubs,” he said. “Every pit that has shut over the last 50 years, the community has suffered.”

A streetcar named desired

Update Feb. 10: The Milwaukee Common Council approved the streetcar connecting downtown to the lower east side the morning of Feb. 10. 

***

Urban areas today are once again thriving engines of economic activity where Americans want to live, work and play. Large numbers of people, especially young people, don’t want to waste time and money on automobile commutes in exchange for a few more square feet of living space in isolated suburbs with strip malls and big-box stores. They prefer to live near where they work and enjoy the amenities that cities offer, including live entertainment, unique restaurants and shops, and a vibrant atmosphere.

That’s certainly the case with Milwaukee, but a key ingredient in the success of other cities is missing: Milwaukee is the most densely populated city in the country without a rail component in its transportation system.

Integrated, multi-modal transportation systems are major contributors to the phenomenal resurgence of urban centers throughout the nation — and the world. These systems utilize and connect with other modes of mass transit — trains, busses and streetcars — that are suitable for different lengths of travel and different areas of population density. For moving people around the most heavily populated areas, nothing beats streetcars.

Streetcars are coordinated to have stops along bus routes, encouraging more use of public transportation and thus less traffic congestion and pollution. Pedestrians, bus riders, train travelers, automobile drivers and bicyclists use the streetcars as a link to their final destinations. Streetcars are also useful to people who only want to park once and then go several places without having to move their cars.

Milwaukee’s proposed streetcar system eventually would cover an extensive area, but it would begin with a $124-million loop route connecting the densest residential neighborhood in the state of Wisconsin (north downtown) with the densest collection of jobs in the state of Wisconsin (east downtown); the loop would also encompass the Third Ward, the Lakefront and the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (Amtrak station). 

According to Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the department of city development, this starter route reaches 90 percent of major downtown employers and 80 percent of hotel rooms.

Research shows that streetcars are especially desirable to the kind of talented young people who are leaving Wisconsin in droves because of its shrinking educational and employment opportunities. This is one of the grayest states in the country, and it’s growing grayer all the time.

Streetcars have proven to be outstanding economic generators in other cities. They leverage an astounding amount of private sector development activity, which is why the business community supports them so strongly. A major bank or other corporate entity is more likely to develop a downtown building if there’s an easy, convenient way to get people to work without having to build massive parking structures. New shops and restaurants will develop along the streetcar stops, expanding the city’s tax base as well as its amenities.

Milwaukee has been sitting for decades on a $54-million federal grant that can only be used for rail. Mayor Tom Barrett plans to use those funds for the streetcar system and raise additional money through tax incremental districts, so businesses that stand to benefit from the project will pay most of the rest. Money raised in this way helped construct Manpower International headquarters, the Harley-Davidson Museum, the Riverwalk and other projects that have proven vital to the city.

Conservative Ald. Bob Donovan, who clearly fails to grasp this key trend in urban development, is leading the charge against securing the final sources of funding. Contact your city representatives and other elected officials and urge them to quickly build and expand the proposed streetcar system. 

Milwaukee will ride it into the future.

House votes for Keystone pipeline, sends bill to Senate

The GOP-controlled House approved the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 14, sending the bill on to the U.S. Senate to take up during the lame-duck session.

The Senate, currently under a Democratic majority, is expected to vote on a measure on Nov. 18, but the timeline could change.

The House vote was 252-161 on a bill sponsored by Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy. Cassidy is in a Dec. 6 runoff and seeking to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who also supports the pipeline and hopes to push a bill through that Senate next week.

The Republican Party delivered 221 of the votes in the House. There were no GOP votes against the bill.

Among Democrats, there were 31 “yes” votes and 161 “no” votes.

The pipeline project has been stalled for years.

Supporters say the project would provide jobs and energy security.

Opponents maintain that it would harm the environment, expediting development of some of the dirtiest oil available.

The pipeline is proposed to run from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska and connect with existing pipelines to push oil — about 800,000 barrels a day — to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Environmentalists are planning to stage demonstrations in the Capitol over the weekend and encouraging pipeline protests across social media.

As of Nov. 14, it seemed the vote in the Senate would be close. All 45 Senate Republicans are expected to vote for the measure.

New cars: What’s ahead in 2015

Sales of small crossover SUVs are booming in the U.S., and automakers are responding quickly with new entries in the 2015 model year.

Ten brands — Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes and Tesla — are rolling out new vehicles to cash in on the buying binge.

Crossover SUVs are built largely on car underpinnings, so they maneuver like a car and get gas mileage that’s almost as good. They appeal to a wide range of people from millennials to aging baby boomers looking to downsize. People love the big storage space ahead of the rear hatch, and they like the visibility and easy entrance and exit provided by the high seating position.

So far this year, crossover SUV sales are up almost 14 percent, outpacing the overall market’s 9 percent gain, according to Autodata Corp. It’s pulling buyers from other segments, too, mainly small and midsize cars.

The crossover segment is splitting in several directions as well. Honda, Chevrolet and Jeep have CUVs coming out that are built on subcompact frames. Luxury automakers also are joining the party with entries from Audi, Lincoln, Lexus, Maserati and the all-electric Tesla.

Other segments have hot products, too. In midsize cars, Chrysler rolls out the all-new 200 and Hyundai has a new Sonata. America’s most popular car, the Toyota Camry, gets a face lift after just three years to better compete with newer rivals.

There also are multiple high-performance models and some new additions to the electric car lineup despite relatively slow sales.

Here’s a roundup of what’s new in the U.S. for the 2015 model year:

ACURA

TLX: Honda’s luxury brand beefs up its midsize sports sedan entry with an all new TLX to replace the slow-selling TSX and the TL. The new car gets two powertrains, a 2.4-liter, 206-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V6 with a nine-speed automatic. Two-wheel drive models get Acura’s all-wheel steering. Honda promises it will be “vault-like” quiet with a stiffer body and better sealing and insulation. Starts at $31,890 including shipping. 

ALFA ROMEO

4C: After a nearly 20-year absence, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. market. Alfa expects to ship 800 of its 4C sports cars to the U.S. this year and 1,200 more in 2015. The sexy two-seat roadster is handmade in Modena, Italy, with extensive use of lightweight components like carbon fiber to cut weight. The all-aluminum engine, a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, produces 240 horsepower and gets the car from 0 to 60 in a little more than 4 seconds. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic dual clutch transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 28 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The 4C will be sold at 86 dealers— all of whom also sell Fiats or Maseratis — later this fall, starting at $53,900.

AUDI

A3: New sedan came out earlier in the year, and Audi plans to roll out convertible, high-performance and hybrid-electric versions during the next 16 months. The sedan, with a new exterior redesigned for American preferences, comes with 1.8-liter and 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the “entry premium” market. The sedan also has a panoramic glass sunroof and xenon headlights standard. Starts at $30,795 including shipping.

A8: Audi’s big highway cruiser gets a revamp for 2015 with a new exterior design and improved powertrains. It also gets technology that helps a driver stay in the lane lines, and a night vision assistant that can detect animals headed into the car’s path. The optional 4-liter V-8 gets a power boost from 420 horsepower to 435. There’s also an updated S8 high-performance version. A8 starts at $78,325 including shipping.

Q3: Audi adds a premium small crossover SUV to its lineup in response to wild demand in the U.S. for the vehicles. A 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 200 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Audi says it has a low roof line and wraparound tailgate. The company said it has coupe-like design and agility with the utility of an SUV. Starts at $33,495 including shipping.

BENTLEY

CONTINENTAL GT3-R: Bentley adds to its Continental sedan family with the GT3-R. It’s the fastest accelerating Bentley ever, with a 0-60 mph speed of 3.6 seconds. The two-door has a retuned version of the Continental GT’s 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8, which gives it 50 more horsepower for a total of 572. Variable displacement automatically switches to four cylinders when less power is needed. Bentley also shaved 220 pounds off the GT to make the GT3-R faster. It gets a combined 15 mpg in city and highway driving. The GT3-R will be limited to 300 cars globally, all handmade in England. Ninety-nine of those are headed for the U.S. and four for Canada. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2015 for those who can cough up the $337,000 price.

BMW

4 SERIES GRAN COUPE: It’s a four-door sedan, like the 3 Series, but with the sloping roof and coupe-like design of the 4 Series. There are two engines: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower, which gets 34 mpg on the highway, or a 3.0-liter inline 6 with 300 horsepower that gets 32 mpg on the highway. All versions are mated to an eight-speed sport automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard with optional all-wheel drive. The Gran Coupe, which went on sale in the U.S. this summer, starts at $41,225.

i3: The first of BMW’s family of all-electric vehicles went on sale in May. The compact four-seater is instantly recognizable, with its blunted, blacked-out hood and a jumble of angled windows in the rear. It’s BMW’s first production car with a passenger cabin made primarily of carbon fiber, which is as strong as steel but 50 percent lighter. It’s powered by a 22-kwh lithium-ion battery and a 170-horsepower motor, and gets 80 to 100 miles on a charge. Buyers concerned about range can add a gas-powered range extender generator, which maintains the battery’s level of charge and roughly doubles the car’s range. The i3 starts at $42,275, including destination; the range extender version starts at $46,125.

i8: BMW’s first plug-in hybrid super car arrived in the U.S. in August. The car is low-slung and aerodynamic; even BMW’s signature kidney grille is mostly covered to help air flow.  A turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine works with the electric motor to give the car 357 horsepower and 0-60 acceleration of 4.2 seconds. But drivers can also brag about the fuel economy: 76 mpg equivalent, a measure that takes into account the electric power used from charging. The car has a six-speed automatic transmission and a top speed of 155 mph. Starts at $135,700.

M3 SEDAN/M4 COUPE: The performance variants of the 3 Series sedan and 4 Series two-door coupe. Under the hood is an all-new inline-6 engine that’s lighter but more powerful than the V8 in the previous version. It gets 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque and can go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The engine is paired with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. Another first: a carbon-fiber roof to save weight and make the car more nimble. The M3 and M4 went on sale this summer in the U.S. starting at $62,925 for the sedan and $65,125 for the coupe including destination fees.

X4: A leaner, sportier version of the X3 small SUV. It’s slightly longer and more than an inch lower than the X3. While it still has four doors, it has coupe-like styling, with a low roof that sweeps to the rear. Two engine choices: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower on the xDrive28i and a 3.0-liter inline-6 with 300 horsepower. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.  The xDrive28i starts at $45,625.

CADILLAC

ATS COUPE: The General Motors luxury brand gets a coupe to go after the BMW 4-Series and Audi A5. It gets the two most powerful engines now in the sedan, a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 272 horsepower, and a 3.6-liter V6 with 321 horsepower.  There are six-speed manual and automatic transmissions available. Starts at $38,990 including shipping.

ESCALADE: The big SUV with bling is revamped. Comes standard with heated and cooled front leather seats and heated second-row leather, plus a host of other luxury features. Powered by a 6.2-liter, 420 horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. Also comes in longer ESV version. Starts at $72,690 including shipping.

CHEVROLET

CAMARO Z/28: Street legal and track-ready, a lighter version of the sports car with a 7-liter, 505 horsepower V-8. Starts at $73,300.

COLORADO: Chevy returns to the midsize pickup truck market in the fall with the Colorado, aimed at outdoorsy types, especially Californians. GM promises a more refined, quieter smaller truck that can do many things a full-size pickup can. There will be two aluminum-block engines available in the first year, a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower. All-wheel drive is available. In the second year, a diesel engine will be available. Six-speed automatic transmissions; two- or four-wheel drive. Starts at $20,995 including shipping.

CORVETTE ZO6: Racetrack-ready supercar with a supercharged 6.2-liter, 650-horsepower V-8. All Corvettes get an optional eight-speed automatic transmission.  It’s available early next year with a starting price of $78,995, including destination charge.

SILVERADO HD: Heavy-duty version of the Silverado that came out last year with an available 6.6-liter diesel engine and the ability to carry 3,760 pounds in the bed. Starts at $32,405 for a regular cab and long box with the standard 6-liter 360 horsepower V-8 and a six-speed automatic transmission.

SUBURBAN: The long version of the Chevy SUV has the same features as the Tahoe with seating for up to nine and a bigger cargo area. Base price is $48,590 including shipping.

TAHOE: General Motors rolls out a revamped version of its big SUV to big sales as people get used to lower gas prices. The Tahoe, based on new pickup truck underpinnings that were unveiled last year, has been on sale since the spring. Sales are up 18 percent so far this year. It has three rows of seats for seven to nine people and comes standard with a 5.3-liter, 355-horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite weighing up to 3 tons, the Tahoe still gets an estimated 23 mpg on the highway. Prices start at $46,885 including shipping.

TRAX: Chevy gets an entry in the fast-growing small crossover SUV market. Although it’s not supposed to be as nice as its sister, the Buick Encore, the Trax promises some higher-end features: standard keyless entry, standard rear-view camera and optional 4G cellular and WiFi hotspot capability. Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Gets up to 36 mpg on the highway. Price not yet released. Due out early next year.

CHRYSLER

300: Gets a freshening for the 2015 model year, but no details have been announced. To be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

200: The revamped midsize sedan based on Alfa Romeo underpinnings hit showrooms in the summer. It’s sleeker and more European-looking than its predecessor, and it comes with an upscale interior with a knob to change gears instead of a bulky lever. Buyers have a choice of two engines: a new 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. It also has a nine-speed automatic transmission that will take the four-cylinder engine to an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. Models with 2.4-liter engines get technology that shuts off the engine at stop lights starting sometime after Oct. 1. Starts at $22,695 including shipping.

DODGE

CHALLENGER: Some cosmetic upgrades to the classic two-door muscle car, but the big news is the SRT Hemi Hellcat coming later in the fall with an almost unbelievable 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. Hellcat starts at $59,995.

CHARGER: Same for minor changes except for the SRT Hellcat version. Chrysler claims the supercharged Hemi V-8 makes the Charger the most powerful and fastest sedan on the market. Price for the Hellcat wasn’t released. Base version starts at $27,990 including destination, but Hellcat will be substantially more.

FERRARI

CALIFORNIA T: Ferrari beefs up its sinuous California convertible with a turbocharged V8, the first turbocharged engine in a Ferrari since the 1980s. The new 3.9-liter V8 produces 552 horsepower, an increase of 69 over the previous California. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. It has a maximum speed of 196 mph and a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. Pricing hasn’t been announced for the California T, which goes on sale in the U.S. later this fall.

FORD

EDGE: Ford’s two-row midsize SUV has been completely redesigned, with a leaner, sharper look and a new underbody that’s shared with the Fusion sedan. In North America, it has a standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and two other optional engines: a 3.5-Liter V6 with 285 horsepower carried over from the previous Edge  and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 with 300 horsepower in the Edge Sport. All are mated to a six-speed transmission. Options include heated and cooled seats and a hands-free liftgate that works with a wave of the driver’s foot. Goes on sale early next year in North America and later in Europe, South America and Asia. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

F-150: Revolutionary changes are coming to the 2015 F-150 pickup, which has been the country’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years. The outside will be 97-percent aluminum, which will shave 700 pounds off its weight. That will make the truck more nimble and save fuel. The frame beneath is still made of steel, but Ford has used more lightweight, high-strength steel. There are two new engines, a base 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and 5.0-liter V8 carried over from the previous truck. Pricing starts at $26,615 for the base XL, or $395 more than the 2014 base model. The top-of-the-line Platinum version starts at $55,235. Scheduled to go on sale late this year.

MUSTANG: The iconic pony car — which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year — is getting its first redesign since 2005. The 2015 Mustang evokes the fastback profile of the original, with a steeply sloped windshield and rear window and a short rear deck. The interior has softer, more premium materials and updated features like Ford’s touch-screen dashboard system and adaptive cruise control. Under the hood are three engine choices: an upgraded 3.7-liter V6 with 300 horsepower, a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and an upgraded 5-liter V8 with 435 horsepower. Manual or automatic transmissions are available. Other upgrades include a faster-folding and better insulated convertible top, three-dimensional tri-bar tail lights, and new front and rear suspension systems for improved handling. Goes on sale this fall starting at $24,425 including destination fees.

TRANSIT CONNECT WAGON: Ford returns to the minivan market with the five- or seven-passenger family hauler based on its new Transit Connect commercial van. It’s bare bones, without automatic sliding doors and other cushy features of larger minivans like the Honda Odyssey. Its unique look, with a high, squared-off roof and oddball color choices like “burnished glow,” will put off some buyers. But it’s also easier on the wallet, starting at $24,525, or more than $4,400 less than the Odyssey. There are two engine choices: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 169 horsepower and a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 178 horsepower. The Transit Connect Wagon — and Ford’s commercial vans — went on sale earlier this summer.

GMC

CANYON: Upscale version of the Chevy Colorado with nicer interior but aimed more at business owners than outdoorsy types. Starts at $21,880 including shipping.

SIERRA HD: New heavy-duty version of the upscale pickup. Nicer interior, but essentially the same as the Chevy Silverado HD. Starts at $32,405 including shipping.

YUKON: Revamped version of General Motors’ big and highly profitable SUV, almost the same as the Chevy Tahoe but more upscale. Three rows of seats for seven to nine people. Standard 5.3-liter, 355 horsepower V-8 with a six-speed automatic transmission that gets 23 mpg on the highway. Also an XL version that’s comparable to the Chevy Suburban. Starts at $45,450 including shipping.

HONDA

CR-V: The top-selling small SUV in the U.S. is to get engine and transmission upgrades as well as styling changes for the 2015 model year. But Honda won’t release details until the fall.

FIT: Revamped mini-car passes the important Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front-end overlap crash test and earns a “Top Safety Pick” designation with only one other car in its class — the Chevy Spark. In addition, the Fit gets a more powerful 1.5-liter engine with 130 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission that makes it quieter and helps it get an estimated 36 mpg on the highway. Fit also gets a roofline spoiler, LED tail lights and a rear-view camera. The electric Fit EV is discontinued. The new Fit starts at $16,315 including shipping.

HR-V: All-new Fit-based SUV hits showrooms in the winter, likely with the same engine and transmission. Honda promises a “versatile and spacious” interior that allows for multiple seating configurations and a lot of cargo space. Few details were released, but Honda says it will be smaller than and cost less than the Civic-based CR-V, which starts at $23,950 with shipping.

HYUNDAI

GENESIS: Hyundai makes another run at German luxury for a lot less money. The new rear-drive Genesis gets sleeker looks, a more refined suspension, and it hangs onto its 5-Liter, 420 horsepower V-8. It also has an 8-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is a 3.8-liter V-6 with 311 horsepower. All-wheel-drive also is available. Starts around $38,950 including shipping.

SONATA: The car that broke the bland styling mold for midsize cars gets restyled for 2015, and although sculpted and elegant, doesn’t stand out like its predecessor. The new Sonata gets an upgraded suspension, and the interior is far nicer. Hyundai says the interior and passenger space lead the highly competitive class. Standard 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine has 185 horsepower, while a turbocharged 2-liter in a 2.0T Sport model boasts 245 hp. All have six-speed automatic transmissions. There’s also a 1.6-liter turbocharged Eco version with a seven-speed dual dry clutch automatic that gets 38 mpg on the highway. Base version gets 37 mpg highway and starts at $21,960 with shipping.

JAGUAR

F-TYPE COUPE: A coupe now complements the F-Type convertible introduced in 2013. There are three versions: The F-Type has a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, the F-Type S has the same engine modified for 40 more horsepower and the F-Type R has a 550-horsepower, 5-liter supercharged V8. Like the convertible, the coupe is built on a rigid but lightweight aluminum platform. The coupe gets an estimated 28 mpg in highway driving. The F-Type coupe, which went on sale in the spring, starts at $65,925, including destination fees. The F-Type R starts at $99,925.

JEEP

RENEGADE: Subcompact Fiat-based SUV hits showrooms early next year, but Chrysler sales execs are wishing they had it now as small SUV sales soar. It looks like a classic Jeep with a vertical grille and round headlamps. It’s the iconic brand’s first entry in the segment. It will have 16 engine and transmission configurations for markets around the world, including the first nine-speed transmission in its class. Mileage will exceed 30 mpg on the highway, Chrysler says. Price hasn’t been announced, but it will be less than the larger Cherokee, which starts around $24,000.

KIA

K900: Kia enters the luxury market with the full-size, rear-drive K900 sedan. Like its sister, the Hyundai Equus, the K900 offers luxury features at a far lower price than German or Japanese rivals. The K900 has two engine choices: a 3.8-liter V6 with 311 horsepower or a 5-liter V8 — Kia’s first ever V8 — with 420 horsepower. Both are mated to an eight-speed transmission. Buyers can also opt for reclining rear seats that are heated and cooled. The K900 starts at $60,400 including destination.

SEDONA: Kia’s new minivan, expected to go on sale this fall, has more leg room in all three rows than the outgoing model and optional leg rests in the second row. It also features new services like Geo-fencing — which lets owners specify zones on a map and get an alert if a vehicle is driven there — and alerts if the vehicle is driven too fast or past a set curfew. The structure is stiffer, for better handling, and there’s a new 3.3-liter V6 with 276 horsepower. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the 2014 model started at $25,900.

SOUL EV: An all-electric version of Kia’s funky Soul goes on sale in the fall as Kia’s electric in the U.S. Kia says the Soul EV will have a range of 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. The car has two charging ports, one for regular charging and one for fast charging. Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt outlet to under five hours using a 240-volt outlet. Kia dealers will offer free charging. The Soul EV will initially be sold in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, but Kia will offer the vehicle in other markets as infrastructure and demand grows. Pricing wasn’t announced.

LAMBORGHINI

HURACAN LP610-4: The all-new supercar replaces the Gallardo model line as the car you dream about. Its racetrack looks cover a 5.2-liter V-10 engine with 610 horsepower. Seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Four-wheel drive. Goes zero to 60 in motorcycle-quick 3.1 seconds. Chassis made of lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum. All LED lights. Beautiful interior. Arrives in showrooms late summer. What’s it all cost? Starts at $237,250.

LAND ROVER

DISCOVERY SPORT: If you want to know how important the small crossover SUV market is, just ask Land Rover. Its marketing director says the launch of the Discovery Sport is a “pivotal moment” in the company’s 66-year history. The new entry into the high end of the segment comes standard with all-wheel-drive, a 2-liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It can seat up to seven and has a body shell built for efficiency and safety out of high-strength steel and aluminum. It goes on sale early next year starting at $38,920 including shipping.

LEXUS

NX 200T/NX 300H: Lexus joins the fast-growing compact SUV segment with the NX. It has Lexus’s signature spindle grille, with highly sculpted surfaces and angular LED slits for daytime running lights. The NX debuts with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine — the first turbocharged engine in a Lexus — or a hybrid powertrain. The gas engine gets 235 horsepower and is mated to a new six-speed transmission. The hybrid has a specially tuned 2.5-liter gas engine and a new transmission with a kick-down function that automatically switches to a lower gear for smoother acceleration. Both are available with all-wheel drive. Inside, a touch pad in the center console replaces the joysticks drivers use to control functions in other Lexus models. Another first is a wireless charging tray, where drivers can place phones to automatically recharge. New safety features include a pre-collision system that can apply brakes and even stop the vehicle if it senses a pending collision. The NX goes on sale this fall. Pricing wasn’t announced.

RC 350: The RC350 is a two-door coupe that adds a little sportiness to Lexus’s lineup. The RC 350 shares a platform with Lexus’s IS and GS sedans. It’s as wide as the larger GS but lower and shorter than the IS. It will go on sale in the U.S. later this year with two engine choices, the 3.5-liter V6 with 306 horsepower that’s also in the IS and GS or a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain. The IS gets 28 miles per gallon; fuel economy figures for the RC haven’t been released. The RC F Sport will have the same V6 engine but beefed up suspension and handling. At the top of the line is the performance version, the RC 350 F, which has a 5-Liter V8 expected to produce more than 450 horsepower. Pricing will be announced later in the fall.

LINCOLN

MKC: For the first time, Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand has a small crossover. It has an athletic exterior, with Lincoln’s signature split-wing grille and wraparound tail lights, and some Lincoln firsts, including a system that detects when the driver is nearing the door and illuminates the ground near it. Other features include a collision warning system, a lane-keeping system that alerts drivers if they’re drifting, and a parking system that can automatically guide the car out of tight parallel parking spots. The MKC has a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and an optional, new 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 285 horsepower. The MKC starts at $33,995 including destination fees.

MASERATI

LEVANTE: In its drive to sell 50,000 cars per year by 2015 — up from a record of 15,400 last year — Maserati plans to introduce its first SUV, the Levante, in 2015. Few details have been released, but it’s expected to be built in Italy and share a platform and engines with Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans.

MAZDA

MAZDA2: The sporty subcompact has been on sale since 1996, but only arrived in the U.S. three years ago when Mazda saw the success of other tiny cars like the Honda Fit. Now it’s getting a makeover. The 2016 Mazda2, known as the Demio in Japan, goes on sale in Japan and other markets this fall, but it’s not expected to arrive in the U.S. until 2015. It has a richer, more substantial look, with the same swooping curves as its older sibling, the Mazda3. Mazda says it will also have more high-tech and safety features. More details, including U.S. engine choices, will come closer to its sale date.

MIATA: The MX-5 Miata convertible kicked off its 25th anniversary in May with a limited-edition version. The 100 anniversary editions sold out in 10 minutes, a testament to the roadster’s enduring popularity. Next up: the fourth generation. The all-new 2016 Miata was unveiled Sept. 3 in Japan, Spain and California. The elegant, curvy sports car uses Mazda’s Skyactiv suite of fuel- and weight-saving technologies for the first time, helping it shed 220 pounds. Mazda says it will be smaller but stronger than the outgoing model to improve driving dynamics. Pricing and other details will be released when the Miata goes on sale next summer as a 2016 model.

MERCEDES-BENZ

B-CLASS ELECTRIC: Mercedes enters the small market for fully electric cars in the U.S. with the B-Class hatchback. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that its 177-horsepower motor can go 85 miles on a charge, but Mercedes says that’s closer to 100 on real roads. The car goes on sale in July in California, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. It shows up in other states in the first half of 2015. Starting price: $42,375 including shipping.

C-CLASS: All-new midsize luxury sedan with aluminum exterior sheet metal and a gorgeous interior. Initial models are all-wheel drive. The C300 gets a new direct-injection turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower. The C400 gets a new direct injection V6 twin turbo with 329 horsepower. High-performance C63 AMG coming, but no details announced. A rear-drive C300 comes in the first quarter of 2015. Starting price is $41,325 including destination.

GLA CLASS: Another compact SUV joins the parade in the fast-growing segment. For the U.S., the GLA250 gets a raised suspension that’s equivalent to the European off-road version. It shares technology with the CLA Coupe. The GLA 250 comes with a 2-liter turbocharged 208 horsepower engine and all-wheel drive. The high-performance GLA 45 has a 355-horsepower engine. Starts at $34,225.

S-CLASS: Elegant coupe added for 2015 with a 449-hp V-8 biturbo engine and a standard panorama roof that covers two-thirds of the surface area. Pricing has not been released.

MINI

HARDTOP 4 DOOR: A four-door version of the recently redesigned Hardtop 2 door. It’s 6.3 inches longer than the 2-door, but it keeps the Hardtop’s proportions instead of venturing into wagon territory like its big sibling, the Mini Countryman (which is 5 inches longer). The 4-door has three seats across the back and more headroom than the 2-door; it also has a bit more cargo space. There are two engines: a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder with 134 horsepower and a 2-liter four-cylinder with 189 horsepower in the sporty Cooper S Hardtop 4-door. They’re paired with new six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Fuel economy hasn’t been released, but the manual version of the 2-door gets 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The Hardtop 4-door will go on sale in the U.S. in January for $22,300 including destination fees, or $1,000 more than the 2-door.

NISSAN

GT-R NISMO: Nissan has given its GT-R sports car the high-performance NISMO treatment. The result: the fastest GT-R ever built. The GT-R NISMO has a 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 with 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 55 horsepower and 18 pound-feet over the standard GT-R. The GT-R NISMO went on sale July 31 with a starting price of $151,585, including destination fees.

MURANO: The Murano helped spark the crossover boom when it was introduced in 2003. The new version, out later this year, takes a big leap forward in terms of design. It’s more angular, with a more prominent V-shaped grille and a blacked-out rear pillar which makes the roof look like it’s floating. Inside, new features include a full-color, 7-inch instrument panel screen, a bigger moonroof and Nissan’s so-called Zero Gravity seats, which use NASA technology to minimize driver fatigue. New safety features include a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and an “around view” system that uses four cameras and three radar systems to help the driver monitor all sides of the car when parking or backing. The engine, a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 horsepower, is carried over, but Nissan expects the new Murano to get 20-percent better fuel economy than the 20 mpg combined on the outgoing model thanks to weight reduction, better aerodynamics and an improved transmission. For the first time, the Murano will be built in the U.S., at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi. Previous versions were made in Japan.

PORSCHE

MACAN: Porsche adds a smaller SUV to its lineup to join the sport-luxury fray. Came out in the spring. Starts around $50,000.

ROLLS ROYCE

GHOST SERIES II: Rolls Royce debuted this updated version of the 5-year-old Ghost sedan to U.S. audiences last spring in New York. The Ghost Series II has the same 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine, which produces 563 horsepower, and the same eight-speed transmission. There’s also some updated technology, including satellite-aided transmission, which uses satellites to predict the car’s moves. The Ghost Series II gets 20 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $286,750 when it goes on sale in October.

SCION

xB: An all-new version of the boxy Scion xB goes on sale in November. Toyota hasn’t released any details of the new version, which will be the first major redesign since 2007. The xB helped launch Toyota’s youthful Scion brand in 2003.

SMART

FORTWO: The tiny car made by Mercedes-Benz gets revamped with a new 90-horsepower engine, a big improvement over the 70 horsepower in the current model. The new tiny car comes out next year as a 2016 model. It will have both manual and automatic transmissions available. Pricing hasn’t been announced. The current model starts at $14,020.

SUBARU

OUTBACK: The all-wheel-drive brand rolls out a new Outback wagon with more interior space and about the same footprint on the outside. Subaru says it made the wagon more aerodynamic, gave it a continuously variable transmission, lightened the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and installed an aluminum hood to save weight. This boosts gas mileage from 30 mpg on the highway to 33 with the four. Also available with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. Air bags deploy from the bottom front seat cushion to hold people in place in a crash. Rear-view camera is standard on all models. Starts at $24,895 excluding shipping, which varies in different states.

LEGACY: Midsize sedan gets a revamp like the Outback with gas mileage rising from 32 to 36 mpg on the highway with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Continuously variable transmission standard on all models. Interior space grows, but the exterior footprint stays about the same. Seats are higher. Starts at $21,695 excluding shipping.

TESLA

MODEL X: Electric-car maker Tesla is expected to bring its third vehicle and first SUV, the Model X, to market in the fall of 2015. The hotly anticipated Model X will have standard all-wheel drive, two battery options — a 60 kWh or 80 kWh — and seating for seven. Its so-called “falcon wing” doors open out and then upward, easing access to the third-row seats. Pricing, fuel economy and other details haven’t been released. Tesla’s current model, the Model S sedan, starts at $71,070.

TOYOTA

CAMRY: Shaken by newer, sexier rivals, Toyota started redesigning the midsize Camry sedan almost immediately after its last update in 2011. The updated car, unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show, is longer and wider, with a more aggressive grille and chiseled sides. Toyota says it changed every exterior surface but the roof. Inside, there are softer materials and a wireless charging system. The body is stiffer and the suspension and steering were retuned for more responsive driving. Even the carpet and side mirrors were redesigned to make the car quieter. The engine options remain the same: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder generating 178 horsepower or a 3.5-Liter V6 rated at 268 horsepower. The 2015 Camry is scheduled to go on sale in mid-September. Pricing hasn’t been released, but it will start around the same price as the current model starting at $23,250.

VOLKSWAGEN

GOLF: The seventh-generation of the hatchback comes in the 2015 model year, and it’s bigger and more efficient than its predecessor, VW says. Gas and diesel engines are available, and a new high-performance GTI gets a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with up to 220 horses. Gets an estimated 37 mpg highway with a 1.8-liter gas engine and manual transmission. VW also introduces its first fully electric vehicle in the U.S., the e-Golf, with a maximum range of 115 miles. And next year VW will roll out a new Golf SportWagen to replace the Jetta wagon, and a new super-high-performance Golf R. Base Golf starts around $18,000, while e-Golf starts at $36,265.

ROUTAN: Chrysler-made minivan gets the axe.

VOLVO

XC90: Volvo’s new XC90 seven-passenger SUV is a critical vehicle for the Swedish automaker. It’s the first update to the SUV, one of Volvo’s best sellers, since 2002, and the first time Volvo has released a new vehicle since being bought by Chinese automaker Geely in 2010. The luxurious interior has a large touch screen in the dash for vehicle controls and a gear lever made of crystal glass. Outside, Volvo touts the T-shaped running lights, dubbed “Thor’s hammer” by the SUV’s designers. In the U.S., Volvo will offer a family of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, including the T5 with 254 horsepower and the T6 with 320 horsepower. At the top of the line will be a plug-in hybrid with 400 horsepower. The XC90 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in the spring.

House passes bill to block Obama’s climate plan

Aiming at the heart of President Barack Obama’s strategy for fighting climate change, the Republican-controlled House voted on March 6  to block the administration’s plan to limit carbon pollution from new power plants.

The bill targets Obama’s proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency to set the first national limits on heat-trapping carbon pollution from future power plants. It’s part of the GOP’s election-year strategy to fight back against what Republicans call a “war on coal” by the Obama administration.

The bill passed by a 229-183 vote. Ten Democrats, mostly from coal-producing states or the South, joined Republicans in support of it.

A similar measure is pending in the Senate but faces a more difficult path.

“The Obama administration clearly wants to use its regulatory agenda to end coal-fired power generation in this country, but that is a pipe dream,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, noting that coal provides nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., called the EPA proposal “one of the most extreme regulations of the Obama administration. He said the proposed limits on carbon emissions would “make it impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant in America.”

As a practical matter, no new coal plants are currently being considered because of competition from cheap natural gas. But Whitfield and other Republicans argue that could change if natural gas prices keep rising. In that case, utility companies should be able to “go out and build a coal-powered plant with reasonable regulations,” said Whitfield, who chairs the House subcommittee on energy and power.

The Whitfield-sponsored House bill requires EPA to set carbon emissions standards based on technology that has been in use for at least a year. Republicans and some coal-state Democrats say the EPA rule is based on carbon-capturing technology that doesn’t currently exist.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., denounced the legislation as “a science-denial bill” that would strip the EPA of its ability to block carbon pollution. He and other Democrats called the bill a blatant attempt to thwart the EPA and vilify the Obama administration in an election year.

The White House has threatened to veto, saying the bill would “undermine public health protections of the Clean Air Act and stop U.S. progress in cutting dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.” Power plants account for about one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other officials have said the proposed rule – the first of two major regulations aimed at limiting carbon pollution from power plants – is based on carbon reduction methods that are “technically feasible” and under development in at least four sites. The rule affecting future plants is a prelude to a more ambitious plan, expected later this year, to curb carbon pollution from existing power plants.

“We looked at the data available. We looked at the technologies,” McCarthy told the Senate Environment Committee in January. “We made a determination that (carbon capture and storage technology) was the best system for emission reductions for coal facilities moving forward, because it was technically feasible and it would lead to significant emission reductions.”

Whitfield and other critics dispute that, saying carbon capture technology is years away from being commercially viable.

A Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would require the EPA to set standards on based on commercially available technology.

Manchin’s approach has drawn support from other Democrats who represent energy-producing states, including Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Landrieu faces a tough re-election fight in a state where both Obama and the EPA are unpopular.

A spokesman for Manchin said Thursday that the senator plans to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats to discuss a path forward, but did not offer a timetable.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed doubts that Manchin’s bill will get a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“If the president doesn’t want (the bill), Harry Reid is going to block it, even if it is good for jobs and even it’s good for Kentucky,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart.

Republicans have accused the EPA of dragging its feet on the power plant rule so it won’t become final until after the 2014 midterm elections.

EPA Administrator McCarthy announced the proposal in September, but the measure was not printed in the Federal Register until January. The delay means the rule is unlikely to be completed until next year. A public comment period on the rule was supposed to expire next week, but has been extended until May 9.

Obama defends U.S. process on Keystone XL review

President Barack Obama is defending the lengthy process the U.S. is using to decide whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Canada has been pushing the U.S. for years to approve the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. Environmental groups oppose it and Obama has said he won’t approve it if it increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama says all nations must take emissions into account in making decisions. He says climate change science is irrefutable.

Obama spoke at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Harper says the U.S. State Department’s review was definitive in determining the pipeline won’t increase emissions. He says his views that the pipeline should be built are well-known.