Western Energy News

Amazon shareholders reject climate initiative

CLIMATE: Amazon says its shareholders have rejected an employee-backed initiative requiring the company to report to the public on its plans to cut its carbon footprint. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Anchorage adopts a plan to fight climate change, which calls for reducing the city’s carbon emissions by 80 percent in about 30 years, though the measures are largely non-binding. (Alaska Public Media)
• A Republican lawmaker has filed a ballot initiative seeking to lower the gas tax in Oregon to offset potential increases in energy costs spurred by a cap and trade program under consideration. (Willamette Week)

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UTILITIES:
• A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a request by PG&E to set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of wildfires linked to the utility’s equipment. (Reuters)
• Xcel Energy is seeking to raise rates in Colorado, a move company officials say could help pay for $158 million in annual grid upgrades. (Denver Post)
• Arizona regulators reject a request by a mining company that owns a city utility to raise electricity rates for a small community by 95 percent over seven years. (Arizona Daily Star)
• Some Nevada officials are raising concerns about an alternative pricing program proposed by the state’s largest utility, saying it could shift millions of dollars of costs onto residential customers and small businesses. (The Nevada Independent)

TRANSMISSION: A South Dakota utility is seeking a $40 million rate increase for the use of its transmission lines, a move that could have major consequences for Montana’s largest businesses and electric cooperatives. (Billings Gazette)

COAL: A federal report claiming the resumption of sales of coal produced from public lands will have a negligible impact on climate change is criticized as “absurd.” (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Only Washington and Hawaii are among a handful of states that received high marks in a report looking at how states are spending money from the Volkswagen emissions settlement. (Wired)

SOLAR:
• The Denver Housing Authority has won the top prize in a federal competition for its efforts to build a community solar garden to serve low-income residents. (The Denver Channel)
• Construction crews broke ground of the first of three solar arrays planned for Colorado Springs, which will get a fifth of its energy from renewable sources once complete. (Colorado Springs Gazette)

POLITICS:
• U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska questioned the need for tax credits for wind and solar energy and said many renewable technologies are “standing on their own now.” (Utility Dive)
• Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has vowed to position the U.S. as a leader in the fight against climate change if elected president, but his record with fossil fuels doesn’t sit well with some progressives. (Huffington Post)

GRID: Federal officials are seeking public comment on a plan to build a power line to an Idaho nuclear site as part of a cybersecurity effort to protect the nation’s electric grid. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Members of a Western tribe say permanently storing nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain will “poison” sacred land. (Reno Gazette Journal)

OIL & GAS: A pair of oil and gas lease sales in southern Alaska where about 10 million acres were up for grabs drew only three bids, state officials said. (Reuters)

PUBLIC LANDS: The U.S. Interior Secretary says there are no immediate plans to make changes to any national monuments but the decision ultimately rests with the president, a sign that recommendations to shrink two monuments in Oregon and Nevada might be on the backburner. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: In places like Washington state, nature has come roaring back when hydroelectric dams are removed, says a scientist for an environmental group. (The Hill)

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