Judge approves class action status for Oklahoma earthquake lawsuit

OIL AND GAS: An Oklahoma judge approves a request for class-action status on a lawsuit against a Tulsa energy company accused of causing earthquakes. (StateImpact Oklahoma)

• A Houston company announces plans to expand its liquefied natural gas export terminal under development in Southeast Texas. (Reuters)
• A Colorado city gives final approval to a deal that would effectively cease surface drilling within the city limits. (Longmont Times-Call)
• A conservation group is opposing BLM’s plans to lease more than 4,000 acres in northern Arizona for oil and gas development. (Kallanish Energy)
• Fort Collins, Colorado votes to join a lawsuit attempting to prohibit state regulators from granting drilling permit unless they can prove it won’t hurt human health or the environment.

Petition: FirstEnergy subsidiary short on nuclear retirement funds

NUCLEAR: An environmental law group says FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries have not set aside enough decommissioning funds to pay for the shutdown and cleanup of four reactors. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CLEAN ENERGY: An Ohio construction firm that started out building coal and nuclear plants sees steady growth by emphasizing solar and energy efficiency projects. (Midwest Energy News)

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FRAC SAND: Wisconsin authorities are assessing environmental damage from 10 million gallons of sludge that were released from a frac sand mining settling pond to rescue a worker. (La Crosse Tribune)

COAL: Long-time coal-plant workers in southwestern Ohio are forced to decide whether to leave their communities as plants close.

Premature birth rate drops after closure of California coal and oil plants

POLLUTION: Pregnant women living near coal- and oil-fired power plants in California experienced fewer premature births after the plants were shut down, according to a new study. (InsideClimate News)

COAL: New studies confirm a surge in black lung disease in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. (NPR)

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• House Democrats introduce a bill to block oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which would reverse an approval passed by Congress last year. (The Hill)
• Investors in new natural gas plants are not seeing the financial returns they had hoped for.

New Hampshire pipeline ruling could revive Northern Pass transmission project

PIPELINES: New Hampshire’s Supreme Court rules that utilities can pass costs for new natural gas pipelines on to ratepayers; contrasting with a recent decision in Massachusetts. (CommonWealth Magazine)

TRANSMISSION: A utility spokesperson says the New Hampshire court ruling should cause regulators to reconsider rejection of the Northern Pass transmission project; a decision is expected tomorrow. (Concord Monitor, InDepthNH)

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• New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign a bill authorizing $300 million in ratepayer funds to support nuclear plants in the state. (Bloomberg)
• The results of PJM’s capacity auction, expected to be released today, will likely not affect plans to retire nuclear plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to analysts.

South Carolina AG plans to sue federal government over nuclear project

NUCLEAR: South Carolina’s attorney general plans to sue the U.S. Department of Energy over its abandonment of the MOX nuclear project, which was supposed to turn Cold War-era weapons into fuel for power plants. (Post and Courier)

• U.S. regulators approve the first-phase of the design process for a small modular nuclear reactor, but a completed site likely won’t be in operation for at least a decade. (U.S. News & World Report)
• Dominion Energy plans to invest seed money to support GE and Hitachi in developing small modular reactors. (Utility Dive)
• Federal investment regulators appear to be investigating whether Santee Cooper did enough to warn lenders about problems with its nuclear project, according to a subpoena. (Post and Courier)

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