Western Energy News

Cleanup of Montana coal ash ponds could cost $700 million

COAL: Montana environmental regulators have revealed to state lawmakers the cost of cleaning up three ash ponds at a struggling local coal plant could reach $700 million. (Billings Gazette)

ALSO:
• New Mexico regulators vote to immediately begin hearings on plans to abandon a coal-fired power plant over the objections of the state’s largest utility. (Albuquerque Journal)
• Both Wyoming coal production and coal jobs decreased in 2018 from the previous year. (Casper Star Tribune)

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NUCLEAR: Federal officials have confirmed they secretly shipped plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada, angering state officials who believe the move is a backdoor approach to permanently storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. (The Nevada Independent)

OIL & GAS: The BLM will move forward with the sale of oil and gas leases near a national historical park in New Mexico considered sacred to Native American tribes. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A Culver City, California-based company is capitalizing on the growing trend of electrifying ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. (Energy News Network)
• A Colorado startup is developing an electric airplane expected to hit the market in 2020. (The Colorado Sun)
• A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell has acquired a Los Angeles-based electric vehicle charging startup. (Greentech Media)

CLIMATE:
• Colorado’s new attorney general says the state will withdraw from a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and to promote clean energy. (Associated Press)
• City leaders in Eugene, Oregon are considering several regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions including amending the city’s franchise agreement with its natural gas provider. (The Register-Guard)

PG&E BANKRUPTCY: A judge overseeing PG&E’s probation from its felony conviction in a 2010 wildfire scolded the bankrupt utility in court, saying “safety is not your number one thing.” (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
• Colorado regulators shoot down a utility’s efforts to keep the state energy office from intervening in its legal dispute with an electric co-op over exit fees. (Clean Cooperative)
• Pointing to a rash of deadly wildfires, California lawmakers accuse state utility regulators of not prioritizing safety during a Capitol hearing. (KCRA)

GRID: California lawmakers and utility officials worry the state’s grid isn’t secure, pointing to growing threats from cyber attacks, wildfire and aging infrastructure. (CalMatters)

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TRANSMISSION: A Western regional transmission operator is moving forward with plans to improve reliability across its network. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY: Washington lawmakers should recognize the role of hydropower as they consider the governor’s proposal to make the state 100 percent carbon free, says the editorial board of the Tri-City Herald.

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