Arizona utility to pay $24 million for overcharging customers

UTILITIES: Arizona’s largest utility agrees to pay $24 million to roughly 225,000 ratepayers for overcharging after the utility’s online calculation tool gave incorrect recommendations on cheapest available plans. (Associated Press) 

• The EPA orders two oil and gas companies to pay $1.9 million for oil and produced water spills to Wyoming surface waters. (Wyoming Tribune)
• A San Francisco-based activist investment firm calls for Exxon to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Bloomberg)

• Though California, Oregon, and Texas have taken different approaches to energy, all three states have a “shared dilemma” from extreme weather events that crashed their power grids. (Politico, KGW)
• Utility and grid experts say Arizona is unlikely to have a widespread electric grid failure even with an extended period of extreme heat.

Haaland’s confirmation would be a pivotal moment for Western tribes

PUBLIC LANDS: Some Republican Senators say President Biden’s Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland, whose confirmation hearing begins tomorrow, is unlikely to secure their support due to her opposition to fracking and stance on other issues. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: Indigenous leaders hope that Haaland, who would be the first Native American cabinet secretary, will give tribal governments a stronger voice in energy siting decisions. (Associated Press)

• Oregon is among states with more power outages than Texas as of yesterday morning, and nearly 39,000 of the state’s electricity ratepayers remain without power, with service restoration expected to take up to seven days. (KTRK, Associated Press)
• Oregon regulators have warned that weaknesses in PacifiCorp’s vegetation management program have left the utility vulnerable to outages. (Oregonian)
• Colorado’s grid isn’t immune to some of the extreme weather difficulties facing Texas, but has access to backup power supplied by a regional grid.

Wyoming seeks exemption from federal oil and gas lease moratorium

PUBLIC LANDS: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon in a letter to the Interior Department requests that the state be exempt from President Biden’s moratorium on new federal oil and gas leases and drilling. (Casper Star-Tribune)

ALSO: The Bureau of Land Management’s approval of a Nevada lithium mine was done without allowing the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe to comment, which is raising concerns about the project from tribal citizens now aware of it. (High Country News)

EQUITY: Advocates cite numerous failings in the judicial system that put Indigenous women at increased risk of sexual assault and abduction by transient workers on pipelines and other resource extraction projects. (Vice)

• Experts say power outages in California and Texas show how utilities face problems from extreme natural disasters driven by climate change, and may be “woefully unprepared.” (New York Times)
• A New Mexico bill aiming to recover lost investments and save ratepayers money when utilities close power plants advances a state senate committee. (Associated Press)
• About 15,000 homes and businesses in Oregon’s hardest-hit areas could experience extended power outages into next week, Portland General Electric’s CEO says.

California bill would ban fracking by 2027

OIL & GAS: California lawmakers introduce a bill that would ban fracking and other methods of oil extraction in the state by 2027 and require wells to be set back from homes and other public places. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ALSO: A group of herring fishermen file a class action lawsuit against Chevron over a San Francisco Bay oil spill. (Courthouse News)

• The Biden administration is appealing a federal judge’s ruling requiring further analysis of oil and gas lease sales in Utah’s Uinta Basin. (E&E News, subscription)
• House Democrats’ public lands package includes conservation bills aiming to protect Colorado and California wilderness as well as  legislation that would permanently protect the Grand Canyon area from uranium mining. (E&E News, KNAU)
• The Interior Department is expected to postpone today the Trump administration’s decision to allow mining on 10 million acres of Alaska tracts.

What the Texas and California grid crises have in common

GRID: Experts say it is increasingly urgent to prepare the grid for climate change, and extreme weather events in California and Texas show the risks and possible solutions. (Los Angeles Times)

• More than 165,000 ratepayers of Oregon’s two largest utilities remain without electricity and heat due to the state’s “catastrophic” winter storms. (KGW)
• Colorado Springs Utilities sets a new record for power consumption on a winter day, with ratepayers consuming 16,621 MWh of electricity on Sunday. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
• Experts note that California’s power outages have been much smaller in scale than the situation in Texas. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• Montana lawmakers use a 30-minute outage at a rural cooperative to attack renewable energy, despite wind energy playing only a small rule in the Texas grid crisis. (Montana Standard)
• Colorado U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is among Republicans falsely blaming renewable energy for Texas’ power outages.  (The Guardian) 

COAL: Officials in a Colorado county are concerned about the possible early closure of the coal-fired Comanche 3 power plant, citing concerns about the loss of high-paying jobs.