EQUITY: Lithium mining to provide batteries for electric vehicles could be an economic windfall for California’s Imperial Valley, but advocates warn of the effects on the region’s Latino population, which is already disproportionately impacted by pollution. (CalMatters)

TRANSITION: As Colorado takes steps to support coal workers as the industry declines, union leaders and lawmakers want to make sure oil and gas workers aren’t left behind. (Colorado Public Radio)

GRID: Colorado lawmakers propose a new authority to oversee transmission lines and a regional energy compact to improve grid resilience in response to the Texas blackouts. (Colorado Sun)

PUBLIC LANDS:
• Campaign finance records show outspoken opponents of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to lead the Interior department have received millions of dollars in contributions from fossil fuel industries, with some holding personal investments in oil companies. (The Guardian)
• Haaland says she would visit Utah before making recommendations on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• A lawsuit by environmental groups alleging the Bureau of Land Management failed to consider climate impacts in approving coal leases in Montana and Wyoming is allowed to proceed after a federal court ruling. (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
• New Mexico’s attorney general opens an investigation into utility bill spikes from this month’s cold snap. (Associated Press)
• Oregon regulators have extended a moratorium on utility shutoffs through June 30. (Portland Business Journal, subscription)
• A Colorado Springs utility is proposing rate increases through the next year to cover higher natural gas prices from this month. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
• In a court filing, PG&E alleges that two former employees accepted bribes from a waste-hauling company to work on cleanup of the Camp Fire. (Bay City News Foundation/ProPublica)

HYDROPOWER: In an interview, Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson defends his proposal to breach dams on the Snake River: “I’m conservative, and I also value conservation.” (Oregonian)

COAL: A Wyoming county stands to lose out on more than $20 million in unpaid taxes as a coalbed methane company weighs canceling bankruptcy proceedings. (Buffalo Bulletin)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: An Alaska agency is planning to install high-speed electric vehicles chargers along state highways linking Anchorage, Fairbanks and other cities. (Alaska Public Media)

SOLAR:
• New Mexico’s largest utility is delaying interconnection of homeowners’ solar projects, citing capacity issues, a situation a state regulator calls “unacceptable.” (KRQE)
• A Wyoming county rejects a proposed 20 MW solar project, citing inconsistencies in the developer’s application. (Sheridan Press) 

COMMENTARY:
• A Washington editorial board recognizes the weakness of a “goal” for electric vehicles, but says it’s a worthwhile effort anyway. (Everett Herald)
• New Mexico’s 2019 Teacher of the Year says she supports drilling on federal lands to provide funding for education. (Albuquerque Journal)
• Two California lawmakers say the state needs to invest in hydrogen technology to meet its clean-energy goals. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• A Laramie resident says Wyoming’s resistance to clean energy “is precisely the kind of thing that tends to drive young people away.” (WyoFile)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.