Shell Oil plans to explore for petroleum off Alaska's north coast this summer. The native people of Alaska have a big stake in both oil revenue and environmental protection. That conflict has played out in recent trips by Inupiats to Washington, D.C., to argue their case.
Only 7 percent of plastic waste in the United States is recycled each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A startup company in Niagara Falls says it can increase that amount and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil at the same time.
It all starts with a machine known as the Plastic-Eating Monster. Thousands of pounds of shredded milk jugs, water bottles and grocery bags tumble into a large tank, where they're melted together and vaporized. This waste comes from landfills and dumps from all over the United States.
Gasoline prices have risen about 50 cents a gallon since January. The national average for regular gas stands at just above $3.80 per gallon.
Pity the drivers on the West Coast. Prices there have been much higher. At a Chevron station in Culver City, Calif., the price on Tuesday was $4.45 a gallon.
"I do building maintenance," Ursula Matthews said as she filled her tank. "I do a lot of driving from place to place. It's hurting me. I cannot raise the prices [of my services] with the economy what it is."
The White House will unveil a report today showing that U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports has dropped by more than two million barrels a day since President Obama took office.
The report shows U.S. imports at 8.4 million barrels a day last year from 11 million barrels a day in 2008. As a percent of all U.S. consumption, foreign imports went from 57 percent down to 45 percent in the same period, the report says.