INVESTMENT: Chinese companies are investing in solar farms, wind farms, electric vehicle manufacturing plants and other clean energy projects across the United States. (Center for American Progress)

ENERGY POLICY: Measures that would end the oil export ban, ease restrictions on offshore drilling, support energy efficiency and upgrade the nation’s grid won approval Thursday from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (U.S. News & World Report)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: More than 170 evangelical leaders have sent President Obama a letter backing the Clean Power Plan, saying 230,000 “pro-life Christians” have contacted the EPA in support of the plan. (Religion News Service)

SOLAR: NASCAR on Thursday named Maryland-based SunEdison as the “official solar energy partner of NASCAR Green.” (St. Louis Dispatch)

WASTEWATER: Despite a finding that unlined wastewater pits near a California oil field have contaminated groundwater, Central Valley authorities voted Thursday to allow drillers to continue their disposal practices for two and a half more years. (Los Angeles Times)

HEAT WAVE: The electric grid operator for Texas on Thursday asked consumers to cut back on their power use during peak hours after the state broke another record for demand—for the third summer in a row. (FuelFix)

• Shell launched Arctic drilling on Thursday by sending a specialized bit spinning into the bottom of the Chukchi Sea, as opponents protested against the exploration. (FuelFix)
• Shell’s icebreaker retreated Thursday after a showdown with environmental activists dangling from Portland, Oregon’s tallest bridge. (Alaska Journal of Commerce/Associated Press)
A federal judge in Alaska on Thursday ordered Greenpeace to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters dangle from a bridge in Oregon and block a Shell icebreaker from leaving for oil drilling in the Arctic. (Associated Press)

• Most of the dozens of people who spoke this week at the U.S. Department of Interior’s first listening session about coal mining on federal lands supported raising royalty rates so taxpayers receive a better return on coal. (High Country News)
Owners of a soon-to-close coal-fired power plant outside Las Vegas have agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a lawsuit and clean up contamination that neighboring Native Americans blame for health problems and water pollution. (Associated Press)
Alpha Natural, the biggest U.S. producer of metallurgical coal, is discussing a plan with creditors to shut mines as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, three sources said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINE: Houston-based Phillips 66 is taking the lead on a pipeline project to pump crude oil from terminals in southeast Texas to Louisiana. (FuelFix)

POLL: Nearly 70 percent of Floridians favor making clean energy a priority, according to a new poll released Thursday by an environmental advocacy group. (Tampa Bay Times)

PRESIDENTIAL RACE: GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush told an interviewer that human activity is contributing to climate change and the country has an obligation to work to stop it. (The Hill)

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