Feds rarely seek fines for pipeline fires, explosions

PIPELINES: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam replaces two air pollution control board members after they raised concerns and delayed a vote on an Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in the historic black community of Union Hill. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ALSO:
• Since 2010, interstate pipelines have exploded or caught fire 137 times and in 90 percent of cases, federal regulators sought no fine. (E&E News)
• Protesters have quietly been tree-sitting in Virginia in protest of the Mountain Valley Pipeline since September. (Roanoke Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Designing Climate Solutions provides a valuable toolkit for policymakers committed to timely mitigation of climate change…A small portfolio of proven policies, applied in a small number of countries, can yield enormous progress.” –Former DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Use “CLIMATE” for 25% discount.***

NATURAL GAS:
• A series of natural gas explosions outside Boston in September could have been caused, at least in part, by Columbia Gas not hiring a professional engineer when planning to replace old cast-iron gas mains in the area, according an urgent safety report issued by federal investigators.

Can wind compete without tax credits?

WIND: Wind energy proponents say the industry is “ready to compete in a subsidy-free world” but some analysts still anticipate a slowdown. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: A lawsuit over Ohio’s wind setbacks centers on whether various stakeholders had a chance to be heard before stricter terms were adopted in a last-minute budget bill amendment in 2014. (Energy News Network)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Designing Climate Solutions provides a valuable toolkit for policymakers committed to timely mitigation of climate change…A small portfolio of proven policies, applied in a small number of countries, can yield enormous progress.” –Former DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Use “CLIMATE” for 25% discount.***

RENEWABLES:
• Renewable energy is surging, but not fast enough to stop dangerous climate change, according to a pair of recent reports. (Scientific American)
• Democratic lawmakers in Nevada plan to introduce legislation to increase the state’s renewable energy standards rather than waiting until voters decide on a constitutional amendment in 2020.

EPA considers new regulation to reduce air pollution

TRANSPORTATION: The Trump administration considers tougher nitrogen oxide emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks, which would be its first new regulation intended to reduce air pollution. (The Hill)

EPA: A senior EPA administrator responsible for nine Southeast states is indicted by an Alabama grand jury on charges he conspired to violate state ethics rules in connection with a bribery scandal. (Mother Jones)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Designing Climate Solutions provides a valuable toolkit for policymakers committed to timely mitigation of climate change…A small portfolio of proven policies, applied in a small number of countries, can yield enormous progress.” –Former DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Use “CLIMATE” for 25% discount.***

RENEWABLES:
• Solar, wind and storage have almost eliminated natural gas among proposed new generation projects in California. (Greentech Media)
• Major tech companies’ increasing electricity needs at data centers across the U.S. are driving demand for renewable energy.

Solar projects on farmland spur tensions in rural areas

SOLAR: Solar projects on farmland are boosting income for farmers but also facing pushback from neighbors who worry about property values. (Axios)

RENEWABLES:
• Average costs for wind and solar can undercut existing coal without subsidies, according to a research firm’s analysis. (Utility Dive)
• Advocates say a northern Michigan utility’s 100 percent renewable energy goal will bring local economic benefits. (Traverse City Record-Eagle)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Designing Climate Solutions provides a valuable toolkit for policymakers committed to timely mitigation of climate change…A small portfolio of proven policies, applied in a small number of countries, can yield enormous progress.” –Former DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Use “CLIMATE” for 25% discount.***

BIOGAS: North Carolina poultry farmers face less pressure and have fewer incentives than hog farmers to convert animal waste into renewable natural gas.

Activists say courts haven’t heard last of ‘necessity defense’

PIPELINES: Climate advocates hope to use the “necessity defense” in efforts around the U.S. to close oil and gas pipelines. (Wired)

ALSO:
• Tribes in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline say they will continue to fight the project after a favorable court ruling last week. (NPR)
• Virginia regulators unexpectedly delay voting on an Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit affecting a historic African American community. (Washington Post)
• A Michigan lawmaker introduces legislation to secure a plan to build a tunnel for the Line 5 pipeline, though the project is opposed by the incoming governor and attorney general. (Detroit News)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Designing Climate Solutions provides a valuable toolkit for policymakers committed to timely mitigation of climate change…A small portfolio of proven policies, applied in a small number of countries, can yield enormous progress.” –Former DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz.