U.S. Energy News

Biden names Michael Regan to lead EPA

NOTE TO READERS: The Energy News Network will be taking a two-week break for the holidays. U.S. Energy News will return on Monday, January 4. Thank you for your support this year!

TRANSITION: President-elect Joe Biden names North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to lead the EPA; Regan would be the first Black man to lead the agency. (New York Times)

ALSO: Biden selects New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department; if confirmed she will be the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position. (CNN)

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CYBERSECURITY:
The Energy Department acknowledges its business systems were breached in a major cyberattack this year that affected a software product also used by many U.S. utilities. (NBC, E&E News)
Federal officials say evidence points to a Russian as the source of the attack, which poses “a grave risk to the federal government” and other entities. (New York Times) 

POLITICS: Records show that Michigan utilities donated more than $50,000 to intra-party rivals of a Democratic lawmaker who was critical of the companies, which advocates say shows how industries strategically target campaign donations to influence the legislature. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: Ohio’s solar market is booming because of inexpensive land and high corporate renewable energy demand and despite years of hostility toward renewables from policymakers. (Inside Climate News)

EFFICIENCY: An annual campaign in Vermont to promote weatherization goes virtual this year due to the pandemic. (Energy News Network)

TRANSMISSION: A Maine court rules an anti-transmission line group must disclose its donors to the state Ethics Commission in an investigation of whether it should register as a political committee. (Bangor Daily News)

NATURAL GAS: Critics of a 650 MW natural gas power plant say an approval by state officials runs counter to Connecticut’s climate goals. (Energy News Network)

COAL: Colorado regulators reverse a preliminary decision made last month to close three coal-fired power plants by the end of 2028. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

PIPELINES: Federal regulators approve the resumption of construction for 17 miles of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s route between two sections of national forest. (Roanoke Times)

BIOFUELS: U.S. biofuel producers seeking federal relief will shift their focus from Congress to presumptive incoming Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (E&E News, subscription)

TRANSPORTATION: Northeast states may on Monday release a long-awaited plan to create a cap-and-invest program for tailpipe emissions. (E&E News, subscription)

CLIMATE:
• Sen Lindsay Graham says U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement should be subject to approval by the Senate. (E&E News)
• A new study finds more than 80% of Texans believe in climate change, and that most support policies to reduce carbon emissions. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: Grid infrastructure investments that favor distributed generation and non-wires alternatives will be key for Michigan to achieve ambitious emission-reduction targets, an advanced energy group says. (Energy News Network)

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