Colorado sets new rules for oil and gas drilling permits

Note to readers: Western Energy News is taking a break for the holiday and will be back on Monday, Nov. 30. Thank you for reading! OIL & GAS: Colorado regulators finalize new rules for oil and gas drilling permits, including a requirement that most new drilling be set back at least 2,000 feet from homes and schools. (Colorado Sun)

ALSO: Environmental groups oppose an upcoming Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction in New Mexico, concerned about air pollution.

Treasury seeks to block banks from divesting of Arctic oil and gas

OIL & GAS: The Treasury Department proposes a rule that would limit large banks from pulling their financing from Arctic oil and gas projects after several banks announced policies prohibiting such investments. (Anchorage Daily News)

PUBLIC LANDS: The New Mexico congresswoman reportedly being considered for Interior Secretary under President-elect Joe Biden says leasing practices for federal lands need to change to encourage more clean energy. (S&P Global)

EQUITY: A first-of-its-kind clean energy fund created by Portland, Oregon, voters prioritizes grants to people of color and those with low income to offset “centuries of underinvestment” in those communities. (NPR)

COAL: Colorado air quality regulators move to order three coal-fired power plants to close by the end of 2028, sooner than their owners have said they would voluntarily retire them. (Colorado Sun)

POLICY: After four years of attacks by President Trump, Californians expect to play an influential role in shaping policy under President-elect Biden, including on climate and equity issues.

California confronts diversity barrier on electric cars

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Data shows the majority of electric vehicle buyers in California are white or Asian men, and advocates say overcoming the “Silicon Valley dudes” perception will be key to more widespread adoption. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ALSO:
• Fremont, California’s police department says its Tesla Model S patrol car has been more reliable and cheaper to operate than gasoline vehicles, and the department has since added another Tesla to its fleet. (KPIX)
• “It worked better than I expected”: Alaska’s first electric school bus is performing well, even in temperatures reaching -35°F. (KTOO)
• City officials in the coastal town of Newport, Oregon approve four measures to advance electric vehicle charging. (Newport News Times)

POLICY: Senators from coal-producing states including Wyoming are expected to hold three out of four leadership posts in the chamber’s energy and environment committees.

Portland utility aims for net zero emissions by 2040

UTILITIES: Portland General Electric accelerates its emissions target to an 80% reduction by 2030, with an “aspirational goal” of net-zero by 2040. (Portland Business Journal)

ALSO: California utility PG&E acknowledges it “could have and should have” done better in implementing power outages in 2019, but argues it shouldn’t be subject to $166 million in fines as proposed by a state watchdog. (Press Democrat)

POLLUTION:
• A new study finds that air pollution in Utah results in 2,500 to 8,000 premature deaths per year, and reduces median life expectancy by as much as 3.6 years. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• While U.S. carbon emissions will be lower overall in 2020, nearly a third of that has been canceled out by pollution from Western wildfires. (Washington Post)

COAL:
• Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality orders owners of the Colstrip coal plant to remove all coal ash from ponds that are contaminating groundwater.

‘A new era’: Deal reached for historic Northwest dam removal

HYDROPOWER: A new agreement among tribes, PacifiCorp, and the states of Oregon and California will advance plans to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, which, if approved by federal regulators, would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history. (Associated Press)

ALSO: Some local officials and Oregon lawmakers oppose the dam removal agreement, with one state senator calling it an “unconstitutional power grab.” (Klamath Falls News)

ELECTRIFICATION: Utah lawmakers advance a bill that would prohibit cities from banning natural gas hookups in new buildings. (Salt Lake Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• California regulators are embarking on a process to use electric vehicles as a grid resource. (Utility Dive)
• New Mexico is seeking $1 million to add 28 new electric vehicles to the state fleet. (news release)
• California increases incentives for new electric vehicles to up to $1,500, depending on battery size.