U.S. Energy News

EPA administrator recuses himself from Clean Power Plan case

CLEAN POWER PLAN: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt recuses himself from several cases that he pursued as Oklahoma attorney general, including challenges to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. (New York Times)

POLITICS:
• A top Republican lawmaker wants to cut $1 million a year from the budget of Colorado’s energy office and shift its mission away from promoting renewable energy. (Denver Post)
• EPA administrator Scott Pruitt replaces half of the members on a scientific review board that advises the agency on whether its research has sufficient rigor and integrity. (Washington Post)

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REGULATION: At least $50 billion of energy projects have been slowed or stalled while President Trump waits to fill key vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which doesn’t have enough commissioners to vote on project applications. (Bloomberg)

TRANSPORTATION: California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit board votes to power the commuter train system with 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. (Greentech Media)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Why siting renewable energy projects on former strip mines isn’t as easy as it sounds. (Southeast Energy News)
• Clean energy groups are helping Xcel Energy with regulatory pilot projects in Minnesota that will “allow the state and utilities to experiment a little.” (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• County officials say construction will begin in Brooklyn, Ohio, on a 4 MW solar farm at a former landfill in September. (Cleveland.com)
Greentech Media experts analyze the shifting U.S. solar market, which has become more chaotic this year.
• A group is asking Michigan-based DTE Energy to put a solar array on the site of its shuttered coke plant in Pennsylvania. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

OIL & GAS:
• U.S. oil company bankruptcies have slowed dramatically, with nine oil producers filing for Chapter 11 protection this year, compared to 29 at the same time last year. (FuelFix)
• Environmental groups are preparing to defend the eastern Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling, following a Trump administration order that seeks to expand oil development in the region. (The Hill)
• A fatal home explosion caused by a leaking gas line in Colorado has many asking whether regulators were doing enough to monitor the state’s thousands of miles of pipelines. (Denver Post)

PIPELINES:
• Oklahoma’s governor passes a law that imposes steep fines or prison time on protesters who trespass on pipeline grounds and other infrastructure sites. (The Oklahoman)
• Following an order from a county judge, a company that’s building a 350-mile pipeline across southern Pennsylvania can now have protesters arrested for trespassing on their own land if it falls within the project’s right of way. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• The country’s most productive coal mines use huge machines and employ relatively few people. (Washington Post)
• A 116 MW coal plant in North Carolina is slated to be shut down, but a specific date hasn’t been set. (Rocky Mount Telegram)
• The CEO of Louisiana-based Entergy says it wants “to be an environmentally responsible company” and won’t be pursuing new coal plants. (Arkansas Online)

COMMENTARY:
• There’s no practical advantage to pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, because President Trump can roll back climate regulations regardless, says a writer at Vox.
• A list of five environmental rules that companies are asking the Trump administration to do away with, according to a communications director at Environmental Defense Fund. (EDF Voices)

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