Western Energy News

Court sets aside New Mexico drilling leases over BLM climate review

OIL AND GAS: A federal court in New Mexico rebuked the Bureau of Land Management for failing to consider certain climate impacts, putting a temporary stop to a plan to drill in the Santa Fe National Forest. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

ALSO: A Colorado county is divided over plans to open 18,000 acres to drilling near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. (Denver Post)

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GEOTHERMAL: Utah will receive $140 million in federal funding to expand a large-scale geothermal research laboratory. (Salt Lake Tribune)

POLICY: A Wyoming congresswoman introduces a proposal that would slap a hefty fee on anyone who files a protest to drilling plans on federal land. (Wyoming Tribune)

UTILITIES:
• The state of Alaska and a Fairbanks utility finalized a $63 million merger aimed at diversifying the city’s energy supply and reducing its reliance on oil and wood for heat. (Anchorage Daily News)
• Idaho residents expressed deep concerns about a $5.3 billion sale of Avista Corp. to a Canadian utility during a recent public meeting, telling regulators to keep foreign interests out of American infrastructure. (Spokesman-Review)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Aspen city officials agreed to spend $1.8 million on a fleet of electric buses, which should hit the streets by next year. (Aspen Times)

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COAL: Washington regulators fine the state’s only coal-fired power plant for air quality violations. (The Daily Chronicle)

CLIMATE: Two Colorado counties suing fossil fuel companies over climate change impacts will have to pay a Denver law firm 20 percent of any damages they might win, documents show. (Boulder Daily Camera)

SOLAR:
• A new report shows Fresno as having the highest solar power generating capacity per person, second only to Hawaii. (Fresno Bee)
• A San Francisco solar company is the leading residential storage installer in California, new data shows. (Renewables Now)

RENEWABLES:
• The clean energy sector provided 57,000 jobs in Colorado last year, up slightly from the year before, according to a new report (Biz West)
• The clean energy sector’s future in Hawaii could depend on whether it can keep young people from leaving the islands. (Hawaii Public Radio)

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POLITICS: The two Democrats running for Colorado attorney general have different ideas about how far the state should go to regulate drilling. (Westword)

COMMENTARY:
• An “unholy alliance” of corporate executives and California bureaucrats are resorting to scare tactics to protect investor-owned utilities’ market share and increase profits, says a former San Francisco supervisor. (Sacramento Bee)
• Keeping bees on a proposed Oregon solar farm is a novel approach to skirting state law that says projects of a certain size must preserve farmland, says the editorial board of the Capital Press.
• Sacramento is on the right path with its plan to use Volkswagen settlement funds to dramatically increase electric vehicle use, especially in underserved neighborhoods, says the editorial board of the Sacramento Bee.

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