TRANSITION: President-elect Joe Biden names Brenda Mallory to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who advocates say will bring a focus on environmental justice to federal policymaking. (Washington Post)  

ALSO: Former EPA officials Michael Regan of North Carolina and Heather McTeer Toney of Mississippi are potential choices to lead the EPA. (NC Policy Watch, Associated Press)

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CLIMATE:
• An investigation finds that a company that sells carbon offsets to polluters for reforested land is in many cases using existing trees or trees that would have been planted anyway, artificially inflating the climate benefits of the program. (Bloomberg)
• United Airlines is betting on carbon capture to offset its emissions in the future, and has invested in a Texas enhanced oil recovery facility. (The Atlantic)

SOLAR:
• Virginia regulators prepare rules for a new program allowing state residents to buy solar power via subscription. (Energy News Network)
• A Massachusetts solar loan program credited with jump-starting the residential market ends its five-year run this month, and advocates worry underserved residents will be left behind by private lenders. (Energy News Network)
• A Harley-Davidson manufacturing facility in Wisconsin now has the largest rooftop solar installation in the state. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL & GAS: A Pennsylvania town that passed a law banning the disposal of fracking waste is sued for the second time by a gas exploration and development company. (Common Dreams)

COAL: A lawsuit filed by environmental groups argues that a Colorado coal mine slated for a major expansion cannot operate within federal water guidelines and should be shut down instead. (Durango Herald)

OHIO:
• An Ohio House committee advances a bill that would start collecting ratepayer funding for a $1 billion power plant bailout law early next year, and then refund the money and impose a one-year delay. (Cleveland.com)
• The leader of a 2019 petition drive in Columbus that sought to divert millions of city dollars to clean energy programs is indicted on multiple felony charges involving false campaign finance reports. (Columbus Dispatch)

EFFICIENCY: An annual report ranks Nevada as the most-improved state on energy efficiency. (Nevada Current)

UTILITIES:
• Minnesota Power becomes the first utility in the state to reach a 50% renewable energy target. (Star Tribune)
• South Carolina lawmakers consider whether to sell, reform or find a private operator to run the state-owned Santee Cooper utility ahead of their 2021 legislative session. (WSPA)

COMMENTARY:
• The CEO of a North Carolina investment firm calls for elected officials to work together to facilitate economic growth that will come from the transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. (Energy News Network)
An environmental justice advocate says California’s push for renewable natural gas disregards the air and water quality impacts of industrial agriculture. (CalMatters)
• The Sierra Club says electrifying New Jersey homes will create healthier indoor environments by eliminating natural gas heat while also boosting local economies. (NJ Spotlight)

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.