EPA watchdog to investigate Trump’s fuel economy rollback

OVERSIGHT: The EPA’s inspector general has launched an investigation into whether the Trump administration’s rollback of fuel economy standards violated the law. (New York Times)

ALSO: President Trump nominates a Democrat to fill a long-vacant Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seat, maintaining the board’s traditional bipartisan split. (Utility Dive)

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POLITICS:
• An evangelical group’s petition presses anti-abortion lawmakers in Ohio to also oppose fossil fuels as part of a campaign in support of a 100% clean energy standard.

Scandals show how utilities use political power to protect profits

UTILITIES: The recent bribery scandals unfolding in Ohio and Illinois illustrate how utilities routinely use power to shield themselves from business risk. (InsideClimate News)

ALSO:
• North Carolina clean energy advocates say they will drop their opposition to half of Duke Energy’s grid improvement plan if the utility agrees to consider climate change in future grid planning. (Energy News Network)
• A Maine lawmaker amends his proposal to create a public utility in the state, instead advancing a bill to convene a task force to study the issue. (Bangor Daily News)
• California utility PG&E tells a federal judge that the transmission line that started a deadly 2018 wildfire could still be a hazard despite being shut off. (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Ohio’s bribery scandal was years in the making

OHIO: Advocates in Ohio say the $60 million bribery scandal over HB 6 is just the latest manifestation of a years-long effort to prevent the growth of renewable energy in the state. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Gov. Mike DeWine shifts course and calls for HB 6 to be repealed and replaced through a process the “public can have full confidence in.” (Toledo Blade)
• FirstEnergy CEO Charles Jones, whose role in the controversy is unclear, says in a quarterly earnings call that the company “acted ethically” in connection to the legislation. (E&E News, Cleveland.com)

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UTILITIES:
• During ComEd’s eight-year bribery scheme in Illinois, the amount of state-approved revenue the utility collected to deliver power increased more than 30%, according to an analysis.

Airlines already meeting new EPA emissions standards

TRANSPORTATION: New emissions rules for commercial planes announced by the EPA yesterday are based on standards airlines are already meeting and are unlikely to result in emissions reductions. (New York Times)

OHIO:
• Republican and Democratic lawmakers are both drafting legislation to repeal HB 6, the nuclear bailout law at the center of a bribery scandal involving a top state lawmaker and FirstEnergy; Gov. Mike DeWine says the law should stay in place. (Cleveland.com, Associated Press)
• A law firm that specializes in securities fraud and shareholder litigation announces an investigation into whether FirstEnergy made false or misleading statements to investors. (WKYC)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Cleanie Awards — the #1 awards program in clean technology — is now accepting applications! Submit to win, or contact us with any questions.

Advocates seek repeal of Ohio power plant bailout amid corruption probe

OHIO: Federal agents yesterday arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others accused of accepting $60 million in bribes to support a $1 billion bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear plants, which one writer had dubbed “the worst energy bill of the 21st Century.” (Dayton Daily News, Vox)

ALSO:
• The money was allegedly used to enrich the defendants and was funneled to political candidates who would support Householder’s election as Speaker. (NPR)
• A spokesperson for FirstEnergy, which is not named in the complaint, confirmed that it has received subpoenas and will “fully cooperate.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
• Gov. Mike DeWine calls for Householder’s resignation while clean energy advocates say the power plant bailout law, which also gutted clean energy and efficiency standards, should be re-examined or repealed. (Cleveland.com)
• Read previous Energy News Network coverage on the web of dark money spending surrounding Ohio’s nuclear and coal bailout. 

***SPONSORED LINK: The Cleanie Awards — the #1 awards program in clean technology — is now accepting applications! Submit to win, or contact us with any questions. Applications close July 30.***

CLEAN ENERGY:
• New York releases a solicitation for 4,000 MW for offshore wind and land-based clean energy, the largest ever by any state.