Western Energy News

BLM official: Banning oil and gas on public lands ‘absolutely insane’ 

OIL & GAS: At a journalism conference in Colorado, acting Bureau of Land Management Director William Perry Pendley said calls to ban oil and gas leasing on federal lands are “absolutely insane” but declined to address his history of climate change denial. (E&E News, Colorado Public Radio)

“This did not go well”: PG&E officials acknowledge multiple missteps during planned power outages last week. (New York Times)
California’s major tech headquarters were not subject to the shutoffs thanks being located close to the utility’s bulk transmission system and serviced by high-voltage lines. (Wired)
Experts say it’s hard to determine whether the shutoffs prevented a wildfire disaster. (Associated Press)
A northern California man who required an oxygen tank to breathe died within 12 minutes of PG&E cutting the power to his home last week. (The Hill)
The shutdowns are raising concerns about the impact of portable generator emissions on the state’s already poor air quality. (Associated Press)
A manufacturer of a combined solar/storage unit is seeing an uptick in sales following the blackouts. (Sacramento Business Journal)
Charities say PG&E’s blackouts are exposing economic disparity in Northern California, as low-income families don’t have the luxury of buying backup power. (Associated Press)

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill last weekend barring state leasing authorities from allowing pipelines or other oil and gas infrastructure to be built on state property. (Associated Press)
A federal judge could decide next month whether or not President Trump exceeded his authority in approving the Keystone XL pipeline. (Great Falls Tribune)

Permian Basin oil employers say new restrictions on immigration are making it harder for them to find the workforce they need to maximize oil boom opportunities. (Reuters)
Fort Collins, Colorado officials are pushing for stricter oil and gas regulations in city limits as county and state officials continue to work on their own. (The Coloradoan)
A new report indicates an increase in New Mexico construction jobs continues, driven largely by the oil and gas boom in the Permian Basin. (Associated Press)

Utility regulators from Wyoming and Montana are among six states that sent almost identical letters to FERC on energy reliability using language from a lobbying group whose members will profit from federal support of coal-fired power plants. (Billings Gazette, Bloomberg)
Washington-based Avista utilities reached a settlement in a case that could reduce electric service rates for its Idaho customers. (Spokesman-Review)

COAL: Coal company bankruptcies are increasing as a result of utilities transitioning to renewables and gas, notably in the Powder River Basin. (Wall Street Journal)

WIND: Wyoming state officials ruled a wind developer has to contribute $3.1 million to three county governments to offset the impact on public services created by its $1 billion wind project on the border of two counties. (Wyoming Tribune)

ACTIVISM: Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg joined youth, tribal activists, and hundreds of protesters in Denver in a rally for the Climate Strike movement on Friday. (Colorado Independent)

CLIMATE: Three leaders of New Mexico’s climate initiatives discussed efforts at the state, local and university levels at New Mexico State University’s Climate Change Education Seminar last week. (New Mexico In Depth)

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POLITICS: Experts say PG&E’s historic power shut-offs threatens California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s status as a rising national star in the Democratic party, with some noting his political vulnerability was exposed when he was forced to do an abrupt about-face regarding their necessity. (Politico, Los Angeles Times)

A writer says PG&E’s planned power shut-offs are what adapting to climate change looks like. (The Atlantic)
Two California editorial boards are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to think long-term and ensure Californians have more reliable power providers than PG&E. (Mercury News)
The National Center for Disaster Preparedness says California’s power shut-offs to prevent wildfires are a “planned disaster.” (The Hill)
A Wyoming editorial board says recent Powder River Basin coal bankruptcies are different from previous energy busts. (Daily Rocket Miner)

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