Southeast Energy News

Date set for largest ever U.S. oil and gas lease sale

OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Interior Department announces the country’s largest ever oil and gas offshore auction. The March 21 sale will cover federal waters off the Gulf Coast — including a “small slice” off Florida’s coast despite previously declaring the state exempt. (Washington Examiner, Florida Politics)

MORE: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal won’t take a position on the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling until a state agency studies the pros and cons. (WTOC)

COAL:
• FirstEnergy will close a West Virginia coal plant if it cannot find a buyer, following a failed attempt to transfer the plant to its subsidiaries. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• West Virginia lawmakers pass legislation that reauthorizes tax credits for “clean coal” carbon-capture technology. (WV News)
• Some in the coal industry appear happy after the Charleston Gazette-Mail declared bankruptcy. The West Virginia newspaper has had a long-standing role checking the industry’s power. (Washington Post)
• Federal prosecutors do not want to retry a West Virginia coal boss whose campaign finance fraud case recently ended in a mistrial. (Associated Press)

OVERSIGHT: Conservative climate science deniers are supporting North Carolina’s former environmental chief Donald van der Vaart to head the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. (E&E News)

OIL: There are up to 16 oil wells that have may be leaking since 2004 off Louisiana’s coast — and no clear solution, according to a Justice Department attorney. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR:
• A Georgia bill that would have limited charges customers pay for nuclear projects has been amended to apply only to future nuclear projects, not the over-budget Vogtle nuclear plant project. (WABE)
• South Carolina lawmakers are receiving emails from constituents urging them not to pass laws that would kill Dominion Energy’s takeover of SCANA, but some of the people who supposedly sent the emails say they were impersonated. (Post and Courier)

PIPELINES:
• Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration signed about a month earlier a deal similar to the controversial pipeline environmental mitigation fund causing a stir in North Carolina. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• A construction company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline worked on three other natural gas pipeline projects that were cited by environmental regulators. (Roanoke Times)
• A coalition of environmental groups file legal action with the U.S. Court of Appeals to dispute the Army Corps of Engineers’ water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

NATURAL GAS: Florida’s Public Service Commission staff recommends approval of Florida Power & Light’s proposal to build a new power plant despite opponents’ argument that the utility has not proven it is needed. (Florida Politics)

UTILITIES: Entergy Mississippi faces a $1 billion-plus lawsuit and wants to change the law so the state’s attorney general can’t sue it again. (Associated Press)

EMISSIONS: Tennessee Tech professors denounce a study signed by the university’s president and commissioned by a trucking company that makes rebuilt diesel engines. The study suggests those engines do not emit more harmful emissions than new engines. (Tennessean)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Clarksville, Tennessee was chosen by Google for its new data center because of access to clean energy, among other reasons, the company said. (Nashville Business Journal)

COMMENTARY:
• Legislation under consideration in Virginia would bring transformational change to the energy grid, says the CEO of the the Northern Virginia Technology Council. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• It doesn’t take much to pull back the curtain on the economic projections touted by developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and see they are a fantasy, says an environmental economist and guest columnist. (News & Observer)
• Net metering legislation in Kentucky is anti-free market, designed to ensure private generators of solar energy become subsidiaries of monopoly utilities, says the president of the Kentucky Solar Industries Association. (Lexington Herald Leader)

 

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