Western Energy News

Clean energy on public lands will be challenge for Biden administration

PUBLIC LANDS: Conflict over a plan to remove conservation protections from California public lands in favor of renewable energy development could be a harbinger of battles to come throughout the West for the Biden administration. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO:
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee are among a group of politicians opposing President Biden’s executive order that will review the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments. (Associated Press)
The Interior Department is reviewing more than 85,000 comments on a plan to allow new oil and gas drilling near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. (Farmington Daily Times)

CLIMATE: A New Mexico official says rejoining the Paris Agreement gives states “a firm foundation [to] mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.” (New Mexico Political Report)

HYDROPOWER: A new study finds that the elevation of a reservoir of the Upper Colorado River has dropped below the threshold needed to preserve the ability to produce hydropower at a northern Arizona dam. (Arizona Public Media)

COAL:
• Colorado coal production fell to its lowest level in decades last year, according to new state data. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)
• Workers at Oregon’s first and last coal-fired power plant in interviews discuss their work, energy industry changes, and the personal impact of the plant’s closure. (High Country News)

OIL & GAS:
• Advocates file a legal challenge to 890 oil and gas leases in the West, arguing the Bureau of Land Management failed to account for climate impacts. (Reuters)
• A bill that would ban fracking in New Mexico was again introduced in the state’s legislature. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
• The Interior Department approves a pipeline to deliver captured carbon dioxide to Wyoming oil fields. (Casper Star-Tribune)

PIPELINES: Keystone XL pipeline construction stopped in Montana with President Joe Biden’s permit revocation. (Associated Press)

FOSSIL FUELS: An Oregon lawmaker wants to eliminate fossil fuel tax breaks in favor of tax breaks for clean energy, clean transportation fuel, and energy efficiency. (Eugene Weekly)

MICROGRIDS: California regulators adopt new rules, rates, and tariffs aiming to encourage microgrid development and commercialization in the service areas of the state’s investor-owned utilities. (Energy Storage News)

UTILITIES:
California’s Public Advocates Office saved the state’s ratepayers more than $3 billion in avoided utility rate increases last year, according to a new report. (Lake County News)
• A new solar cooperative launches in Denver, aiming to secure 150 members by March 1. (Mile High CRE)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
New data shows Tesla electric vehicle registrations in California increased almost 63% during the fourth quarter compared with 2019. (Reuters)
A Northern California city deploys two new solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations for city fleet vehicles and free public use. (news release)

COMMENTARY: Two young conservative activists from Alaska say “we simply cannot afford inaction” on climate change. (Anchorage Daily News)

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