Trump administration set to gut Obama-era mileage standards

TRANSPORTATION: In a blow to climate action and public health, the Trump administration is expected to finalize as soon as today a rule that will weaken Obama-era gas mileage standards for cars and pickup trucks. (Washington Post)

ALSO: Electric vehicle advocates fear the rollback could hinder progress on electric vehicle deployment in the country. (Utility Dive)

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GRID:
• “This is pretty unprecedented”: New York’s decision to require grid operators to live full-time at control facilities is a test case for the rest of the country. (E&E News)
• Virginia regulators again reject parts of Dominion Energy’s grid modernization plan, saying the utility didn’t justify customer benefit.

Pandemic puts public meetings on hold for pipelines, other projects

OVERSIGHT: State and federal regulators are canceling public meetings amid the coronavirus outbreak, including public hearings in Pennsylvania related to the Mariner East pipeline. (Grist, StateImpact Pennsylvania)

PIPELINES:
• Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia have quietly passed laws amid the pandemic that criminalize activities related to fossil fuel protests. (HuffPost)
• Mountain Valley Pipeline construction is delayed again as federal agencies will take another month to reconsider its impact on endangered or threatened species. (Roanoke Times)
• Iowa regulators agree to double the capacity of the Dakota Access pipeline, finding that it would not “significantly increase the risk of a spill.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

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CARBON CAPTURE: A North Dakota carbon capture and storage project represents an important harbinger of how coal could continue to exist on the grid, particularly in rural areas, supporters say.

‘Open license to pollute’ as EPA relaxes power plant rules

POWER PLANTS: The U.S. EPA cites the coronavirus pandemic as justification for a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules that will allow power plants to determine for themselves if they are meeting air and water pollution rules. (New York Times)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Clean energy legislation stalls in many states as legislatures cut sessions short or shift attention to other issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)
• California sets a new emissions goal for its electric sector that would double the state’s clean energy capacity by 2030. (Reuters)
• After celebrating a major legislative victory this month, Virginia renewable companies now face uncertainty because of the pandemic. (Virginia Mercury)

WIND: The nascent offshore wind industry could see major setbacks because of the coronavirus.

Stimulus bill leaves out tax credit extensions for wind and solar

POLICY: The U.S. Senate passes a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that excludes tax credit extensions for wind and solar industries and climate provisions for bailed out airlines. (Greentech Media, Bloomberg) 

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge orders an environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline nearly three years after it started transporting oil, potentially opening the door for it to be shut down. (NPR)
• A federal judge rejects a challenge by environmental groups and fishermen of permits for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana. (E&E News, subscription)

OIL & GAS:
• The oil price war and uncertainty from the coronavirus mean serious challenges for North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. (Washington Post)
• A law firm with deep ties to the Democratic Party is helping oil companies lobby for exemptions from federal greenhouse gas emission regulations.

Push to ban new natural gas hookups stalls amid coronavirus pandemic

ELECTRIFICATION: Efforts to impose natural gas bans in new construction in several states stall as activists are limited to virtual meetings and officials are preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic. (S&P Global)

COAL:
• Coal miners in West Virginia are told to keep working during the coronavirus pandemic despite the fact they’re in close quarters and many have damaged lungs. (Washington Post)
• A new study concludes that methane emissions from coal mines could be more than double previous estimates and exceed the oil-and-gas sector. (Carbon Brief)
• Another analysis finds a proposed carbon capture project at a New Mexico coal plant is not economically feasible. (E&E News, subscription)

GRID:
• The chances of coronavirus causing a widespread power outage are low, experts say, with the greatest concern being infected plant workers.