U.S. Energy News

Critics say Utah city’s new fee ‘sticks a knife in the back’ of solar

SOLAR: Critics say a new fee imposed on rooftop solar customers in one Utah city “sticks a knife in the back” of clean energy by adding roughly $19 per month to solar owners’ bills. (Deseret News)

ALSO:
• An Arizona utility becomes the first outside California to reach 1 GW of solar capacity. (PV Tech)
• New Mexico’s largest solar array – a 140 MW project spanning 1,400 acres – is now producing electricity. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

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OIL AND GAS:
• A new study says biological sources, rather than increased natural gas production, are the primary driver of an increase in methane emissions in recent years. (Climate Central)
• As oil prices drop, Alaska lawmakers are cutting subsidies and freezing rebates for the fossil fuel industry to ease the state’s budget deficit. (Bloomberg)
• Local residents and activists are fighting a proposal to establish over 40 commercial anchorage sites for barges hauling crude oil along the Hudson River in New York. (Associated Press)
• Proposed oil train terminals are scrapped in Washington state and California, adding more setbacks for troubled North Dakota oil producers. (Reuters)

FRACKING: Pennsylvania enacts its first fracking regulations in over 10 years, which include requirements for fracking near public resources and restoring any damaged water supplies. (Reuters)

PIPELINES: Construction can resume on a small stretch of the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline after a federal appeals court ruled to lift a temporary injunction, while construction on a piece of federal land must remain on hold. (Associated Press)

CARBON TAX: Washington state’s proposed carbon tax initiative could save the aircraft manufacturer Boeing tens of millions of dollars by cutting the state’s business and occupation tax. (Seattle Times)

POLLUTION:
• Scenic views from the country’s national parks have improved thanks to legislation that reduces haze-causing air pollution from vehicles and power plants. (Washington Post)
• Detroit Diesel Corp is spending $28.5 million to settle alleged Clean Air Act violations for selling nearly 7,800 heavy-duty diesel engines that weren’t properly certified to meet emissions standards. (Reuters)

COAL:
• Another study adds to a growing consensus that cheap natural gas is to blame for coal’s decline, rather than EPA regulations. (CleanTechnica)
• The key moments in the “War on Coal,” starting in the 1970s. (Environmental Health News)
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell writes an op-ed promising that he will continue to promote coal and oppose environmental regulations. (The Hill)
• About 12,500 union coal miners who worked for bankrupt Patriot Coal will lose their health benefits at the end of the year without congressional action, according to letters sent out last week. (MetroNews)
• Mining companies owned by West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice owe $15 million in state taxes and fines, including $2.6 million for federal mine safety penalties. (The Hill)

COAL ASH: A North Carolina community is voicing opposition to a recent proposal to allow Duke Energy to release more mercury, arsenic and other toxins from two coal ash dumps into nearby bodies of water. (Southeast Energy News)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Germany’s largest energy group wants to invest in renewable energy and electric car charging stations in the United States. (Reuters)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A handful of Midwest states are making significant reductions in their energy use, despite an aversion to mandating efficiency goals, with Missouri having the “most dramatic improvement.” (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• The Clean Power Plan will improve health in low-income and minority communities where coal plants are located. (Huffington Post)
• The next major hurricane to hit Texas’ Gulf Coast could devastate oil refineries and plants along Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, causing an environmental disaster. (New York Times)
• Researchers are pumping carbon dioxide into abandoned coal mines in an effort to store the gas, while simultaneously pushing out profitable methane, but the experimental technique may not be economically feasible. (Roanoke Times)

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