CLIMATE: A federal court yesterday rejected the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, giving the Biden EPA an opportunity to begin working immediately to develop new emissions rules for power plants. (Washington Post, E&E News)

ALSO:
• President-elect Biden will take office today with what is believed to be the largest team of climate experts ever assembled in the White House, and is expected to immediately sign more than a dozen executive orders to undo Trump administration environmental policies. (New York Times, Washington Post)
• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long fought climate policy, issues a statement calling on Congress to support “a market-based approach” to cutting emissions. (Reuters)
• The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Baltimore’s climate lawsuit that could determine whether such cases could be heard in state courts. (New York Times)

UTILITIES:
• A review of data finds some utilities have been exaggerating emissions reductions when transferring ownership of power plants. (E&E News)
• An FBI investigation helped uncover the dark money political spending of FirstEnergy and several nonprofits despite state and federal law not requiring political nonprofits to disclose their donors. (Cleveland.com) 

EFFICIENCY: Largely empty office buildings are consuming nearly as much energy as they were prior to the pandemic, in part because leases require temperatures to be regulated regardless of whether a space is occupied. (Fast Company)

SOLAR:
• A new online marketplace hopes to accelerate community solar development by connecting developers and potential subscribers in nine states. (Energy News Network)
• Wyoming lawmakers advance a utility-backed bill that would repeal net metering, which an advocate says if passed “essentially kills” the rooftop solar industry in the state. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OIL & GAS: The Bureau of Land Management formally issues drilling leases for 685 square miles of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which one Indigenous leader calls a “cowardly assault” on her people. (Associated Press) 

PIPELINES: Federal regulators table a proposal to split the PennEast pipeline into two phases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and block Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request to bore beneath West Virginia waterways (NJ.com, Roanoke Times)

PUBLIC LANDS: Native American tribes want the Biden administration to strike a balance between pursuing renewable energy goals and protecting culturally important areas, especially in the West. (Arizona Republic)

COAL:
• Small Ohio communities with large legacy coal plants grapple with their future and pollution clean up as the plants near decommissioning. (Columbus Dispatch)
• President-elect Joe Biden and congressional Democrats face challenge and opportunity in restoring unreclaimed mine lands and economic growth in central Appalachian communities that have long been reliant on a fading coal industry. (Southerly/Daily Yonder)

STORAGE: Virginia lawmakers introduce legislation to streamline state permitting for energy storage systems. (Virginia Mercury)

COMMENTARY:
• A Bloomberg editorial says America’s responsibility on climate change “can’t be shirked any longer.”
• Ohio’s HB 6 is “Exhibit A” for why it’s critical for state lawmakers to inject more transparency in political spending from “dark money” nonprofit groups, an editorial board says. (Cleveland.com)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.