U.S. Energy News

Amy Coney Barrett still won’t comment on climate change

CLIMATE: As Senate hearings continue, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett continues to evade questions on climate change, saying she will not state a view on a “politically controversial” subject. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Scientists say this year saw the hottest September on record, at nearly 1.75 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. (Associated Press)
• Hundreds of law students pledge to boycott one of the country’s most prestigious law firms over its representation of oil companies. (E&E News, subscription)

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OVERSIGHT:
• A new report finds that criminal prosecutions for pollution violations have fallen sharply under the Trump administration. (New York Times)
• The EPA’s science advisory board is adding a consultant who previously worked to discredit science linking tobacco to health risks, and placing him immediately in a leadership role. (The Hill)

EQUITY: As leaders from a dozen states discuss equity issues around a regional transportation emissions pact, environmental justice advocates say they need to involve more people of color in the process. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR:
Officials from New Mexico’s largest electric utility are gathering on the Jicarilla Apache Nation today to break ground on a 50-megawatt solar field, the third largest solar project on tribal land in the United States. (Associated Press)
• Philadelphia officials say they have cut red tape out of the approvals for home solar installers that shave weeks off permit applications. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

OIL & GAS:
• Occidental Petroleum’s CEO says U.S. oil production has peaked and is unlikely to return to a record level set earlier this year. (Bloomberg)
• Experts say the U.S. oil and gas industry is on the verge of defaulting on billions of dollars in environmental cleanup obligations as company bankruptcies mount. (DeSmog)

PIPELINES:
• Tribal members inspecting the Line 5 pipeline using a remote underwater vehicle find possible prehistoric stone formations in the Straits of Mackinac that — if confirmed — could affect the route of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline tunnel. (Detroit Free Press)
• A lack of transparency from Mariner East pipeline developers leaves communities along the route unclear about emergency procedures in the event of an accident. (Spotlight PA)
• A malicious prosecution lawsuit claims that a security firm conspired to have three Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents arrested based in part on a false accusation that they were “affiliated with Antifa.” (Roanoke Times)

UTILITIES: DTE Energy and Exelon deny reports that they’re considering divesting non-utility assets, though experts say the practice could be increasingly common among regulated utilities. (Utility Dive)

TECHNOLOGY: Facebook is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to use artificial intelligence software to develop new electrocatalysts capable of storing energy. (CNBC)

BIOFUELS: President Trump touts his administration’s record supporting the ethanol industry at a campaign stop in Iowa, though the industry has faced ongoing uncertainty during his tenure. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ANALYSIS: Fossil fuel money has helped to shape a Supreme Court that is likely to be a formidable obstacle to any future climate policies. (The New Republic)

COMMENTARY:
• An editorial board says the just-passed Connecticut utility reform bill is the first step in a long process to make electric service providers more responsive to consumers. (The Day)
• A Minnesota clean energy advocate discusses her new nonprofit’s strategies for expanding clean energy access in marginalized areas of Minneapolis. (Clean Energy Resource Teams)

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