May 7, 2015

GAO: Waste of natural gas costs taxpayers millions -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for hundreds of high-priority oil and gas wells — roughly 1 out of 5 — to ensure full payment of royalties to the U.S.

 

PRC says its hands may be tied on ride sharing -- Albuquerque Journal

Uber wants state regulators to backtrack on recent rules governing ride-sharing services in New Mexico —  and Lyft says it will suspend operations – but the commissioners who approved the rules say state law may tie their hands.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 for reforms to the Motor Carrier Act on April 21 to allow ride-sharing companies to operate as “specialized passenger services” with more relaxed regulations than what applies to taxi companies.

On Monday, Uber’s local subsidiary, Hinter-NM, filed a motion asking the PRC for a rehearing to roll back some of those amendments and to alter others without necessarily repealing them. Hinter said that without changes, the reforms are “fundamentally flawed.” It called the approval process “arbitrary, capricious, and violative of due process” because there was insufficient opportunity for parties to comment prior to PRC action.

Lyft, meanwhile, said it will “pause” operations starting May 14 because the regulations “make it exceedingly difficult” to continue working here.

 

N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules -- New York Times

A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it without changes.

In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Act known as Section 215 cannot be legitimately interpreted to allow the bulk collection of domestic calling records.