POLITICS: Over 7,500 newly released emails between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and fossil fuel companies show that the two had a close relationship during Pruitt’s time as Oklahoma attorney general. (Washington Post)

• The EPA is fighting a court order by a West Virginia federal judge that requires the agency to evaluate how its regulations affect coal jobs, mine closures and power plant shutdowns. (Greenwire)
• Local air quality regulators will consider a proposal that would make the San Francisco Bay Area the world’s first region to place limits on oil refinery emissions, effectively blocking oil companies from processing Canadian tar sands there. (East Bay Express)
• California lawmakers voice uncertainty about whether the federal government will grant permission for the state to pursue stricter air quality rules. (Los Angeles Times)

EMISSIONS: Two auto manufacturer lobbying groups send letters asking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to overturn a decision that mandates strict vehicle emissions standards by 2025. (New York Times)

• A deeper look at what drove the solar industry’s record growth in 2016. (Greentech Media)
• Two cities in Maine approve plans to build solar farms on old landfills. (Portland Press Herald)

• A Wisconsin-based utility announces plans to build a 66-megawatt wind farm in Iowa. (Milwaukee Business Journal)
• West Virginia regulators consider whether to allow Appalachian Power to purchase 120 megawatts of wind power from a wind farm in Indiana. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ENERGY STORAGE: Tesla executives say the company plans to build at least two more “gigafactories” this year. (Buffalo Business First)

SMART METERS: An experiment in Illinois is seeking to quantify the emissions benefits of using smart meters. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID: Chicago residents have mixed feelings about a proposed microgrid coming to their neighborhood. (Midwest Energy News)

NUCLEAR: Ohio-based FirstEnergy is pursuing “zero emission” subsidies for its struggling nuclear plants, a plan modeled off of one recently adopted in Illinois. (Columbus Business First)

• Most Dakota Access Pipeline opponents heeded an order to depart a North Dakota protest camp, torching tents and makeshift wooden housing before they left. (NBC)
• Louisiana property owners and conservationists are fighting a pipeline project that’s being spearheaded by the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Reuters)

• The Interior Department says killing a rule that protected waterways from coal mining waste fulfilled promises to Americans to “restore their jobs and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.” (E&E News)
• An Atlanta-based utility that’s building a coal-fired power plant in Mississippi says it needs more time to complete the project, following an analysis that the facility would be cheaper to run on natural gas. (Associated Press)

ADVOCACY: The chair of renewable energy advocacy efforts for the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter talks about energy politics in Virginia(Southeast Energy News)

COMMENTARY: Utilities could thrive by aggressively pursuing electric-powered alternatives for transportation and heating instead of burning fossil fuels. (Vox)

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