An independent research firm's review of industry statistics compiled by the federal government shows that emissions from the U.S. refineries have plummeted over the past two decades, according a report by Sage Environmental Consulting for the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In "Historical Air Emissions from the U.S. Petroleum Refineries," Sage researchers said refinery emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds dropped by 91%, 67% and 69%, respectively, between 1990 and 2013. AFPM cited the survey results as a reason the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not need to change the existing ozone limit from 75 parts-per-billion (ppb) to 65-70 ppb.

Freeport LNG Expansion LP (Freeport LNG) unit FLNG Liquefaction 3 LLC (FLIQ3) has secured $4.56 billion in capital required for the construction of the third train of Freeport LNG's liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction and loading facility on Quintana Island near Freeport, TX. The construction cost for the combined three-train project is expected to be $12.5 billion, including owner's costs and interest during construction. An additional $3 billion was raised for refinancing and acquisition costs associated with the existing LNG import facility, letters of credit facilities, and a special contingency fund. With closing on financing, Freeport LNG has completed all milestones and issued a full notice to proceed to CB&I Inc., Zachry Industrial Inc. and Chiyoda International Corp. to construct the third train of the project. Full three-train operation is expected by the third quarter of 2019.  LNG production from the first liquefaction train is expected in early 2018, with commercial operation of the first train expected to commence by the third quarter of 2018 (see Daily GPINov. 25, 2014).

Range Resources Corp. may continue to pursue a $3 million lawsuit for defamation and disparagement against Steven Lipsky, the Texas man who has accused the company of contaminating his drinking water with its Barnett Shale drilling activities. The Texas Supreme Court last week ruled that the case may continue against Lipsky -- but not against his wife, Shyla, or the couple's environmental consultant, Alisa Rich. A Texas appeals court in 2013 allowed two of the claims against Lipsky to stand but dismissed Range's claims against his wife and Rich. The Texas Supreme Court upheld that decision (see Shale DailyApril 29, 2013). The Lipskys and Rich claimed that Range tainted the Lipsky water well, but the Railroad Commission of Texas found otherwise after it investigated. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also had blamed Range for contaminating the well, the agency later backed down (see Shale DailyFeb. 13, 2013Feb. 21, 2012).

Iowa-based Alliant Energy Corp.'s Wisconsin utility is seeking approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to build a 650 MW combined-cycle natural gas-fueled generating station at the company's Riverside Energy Center near Beloit, WI. The proposed project, which was announced last fall, would replace about 700 MW of aging generation units that are scheduled for retirement in the next few years, the utility said. It would also include a solar energy installation that would help to power the facility's operations. Assuming regulatory approval, the utility expects to begin construction in summer 2016 and complete the $750 million facility in early 2019. The project requires approvals from the PSCW and various federal, state and local governing bodies and regulatory agencies. The Riverside Energy Center was owned and operated by Calpine Corp. -- and sold the bulk of its output to Alliant's Wisconsin Power and Light Co. -- until the utility bought it for $400 million more than two years ago (see Daily GPIJan. 4, 2013).