U.S. Energy News

Court orders climate impact analysis for Wyoming coal mines

COAL: In a win for environmentalists, a federal appeals court says the Interior Department failed to factor in climate impacts when extending four gigantic coal leases in Wyoming. (Associated Press, InsideClimate News)

ALSO:
• All three of West Virginia’s House representatives voted for a failed amendment to cut positions and funding at the Mine Safety Health Administration, sparking public criticism from Sen. Joe Manchin. (Metro News)
• Coal industry executives are planning to gather at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for a private conference with administration staff. (The Hill)
• Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship made their last pitch to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his conviction related to the Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

OIL & GAS:
• Energy Secretary Rick Perry disagrees with a Trump administration proposal to sell off portions of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saying recent hurricanes show why the country needs an emergency crude oil supply. (The Hill)
• Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation in order to permit seismic testing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, marking a renewed effort to drill for oil and gas in the protected area. (Washington Post)
• Bipartisan state and federal lawmakers have joined East Coast businesses to oppose the Trump administration’s plan for fossil fuel exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. (Tribune News Service)
• Four years after a pipeline break sent 20,000 gallons of oil across a field in North Dakota, cleanup is nearing completion. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota crude oil is seeing increased demand following hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Federal regulators overrule a decision to deny a permit for a 7.8-mile natural gas pipeline that will fuel a 650-megawatt power plant in New York. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: An energy efficiency expert discusses new ways to incentivize utilities to increase spending on demand-side management. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• A handful of Florida residents used solar panels and storage systems to keep the power on after Hurricane Irma. (InsideClimate News)
• An anonymous donor gives $400,000 to install solar panels at eight nonprofits in western Massachusetts, which is expected to save the organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. (Associated Press)
• North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, GAF, unveils its own solar roof. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES:
• Virginia regulators reject a utility’s bid to offer ratepayers electricity supplied completely by renewable energy sources, saying the company failed to prove its plan is in the public interest. (Southeast Energy News)
• Price is the main motivator for businesses acquiring renewables, but they also consider a host of other factors, according to a recent survey. (Greentech Media)

EFFICIENCY: California lawmakers pass legislation to increase protections for homeowners taking out PACE energy-efficiency loans. (Los Angeles Times)

CLIMATE:
• Reports that the Trump administration may keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement are false, according to national security adviser H.R. McMaster. (Washington Post)
• Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says she is angered by the Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle climate change efforts, but that she is optimistic the power sector will continue to move toward clean energy. (RTO Insider)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina utilities intentionally hid a report that showed the Summer nuclear project couldn’t be completed as planned. (Associated Press)
• South Carolina lawmakers were told that an audit that was recently made public could thwart SCANA’s attempt to charge customers for the now-abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

HURRICANE IRMA: Much of the trash and debris collected from Hurricane Irma will be used to generate electricity in Florida. (Bloomberg)

POLITICS: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommends reductions or changes to nearly half of the national monuments under federal review, including the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante preserves in Utah and protected areas in the Pacific and Atlantic. (Wall Street Journal)

COMMENTARY:
• The Trump administration is threatening public lands in Utah, where over 1,460 non-producing oil and gas leases consume 1.7 million acres of land that could be utilized by the public, says the executive director of the Western Values Project. (Deseret News)
• Previous failed attempts, including at the Kemper plant in Mississippi, are reasons why the Department of Energy shouldn’t waste millions of dollars on “clean coal.” (The Hill)
• Ongoing efforts to replace coal and fracked gas with clean energy can slash U.S. carbon pollution by another half billion tons annually between 2017 and 2025, says the director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. (Huffington Post)

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