U.S. Energy News

EPA chief: Climate change not a top priority

OVERSIGHT: U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in an interview defends fossil fuel projects and says climate change is not a top priority. (Reuters)

ALSO:
The U.S. Senate confirms Colorado native and former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt as the next Interior Secretary. (The Colorado Independent)
• Despite a bipartisan uproar over offshore drilling, coastal Republicans voted to confirm Bernhardt. (ThinkProgress)
U.S. House Democrats investigate whether top EPA officials violated ethics rules by launching a rollback of air pollution regulations that benefited former lobbying clients. (Politico)

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COAL ASH:
• Toxic coal ash stored at closed and operating Illinois coal plants poses a contamination risk when floodwaters rise. (Energy News Network)
• Duke Energy will appeal an order by North Carolina regulators to excavate coal ash from six power plants, citing the financial burden on customers. (WFAE)

COAL:
A national nonprofit advocacy group supporting the coal industry sees Indiana as its next battleground state. (Indianapolis Star)
• A leading credit rating agency predicts continued hard times for a coal-producing region in Wyoming and Montana. (Casper Star Tribune)

RENEWABLES:
• Texas leads the nation in corporate renewable energy offtake deals, according to a new industry report. (Greentech Media)
The Washington House approves a plan to eliminate coal from the state’s electricity mix by 2025 and transition to 100% clean energy 20 years later. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

SOLAR:
• Solar capacity is expected to double in the Southeast by 2022, according to a clean energy group’s new report. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• North Dakota considers a rule change that would allow large-scale solar projects on prime farmland. (Energy News Network)

WIND:
• The U.S. wind industry has added 8 GW of power each year since 2015, due in part to federal tax credits. (RTO Insider)
The developer of a proposed wind farm on the shores of Lake Ontario has suspended plans after a five-year battle, leading opponents to believe the project is dead. (Buffalo News)

UTILITIES:
• Google announces a new program to help utilities integrate their technologies with voice-activated devices in customers’ homes. (Greentech Media)
The attorney for California’s first and most influential government-run energy provider is helping reshape an energy landscape once dominated by PG&E and other investor-owned utilities. (Los Angeles Times)

TRANSMISSION: Maine regulators unanimously approve a 145-mile transmission line to import Canadian hydropower. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

PIPELINES:
• Delaware and Maryland officials say a Trump administration executive order to expedite natural gas pipeline construction undermines states’ environmental protections. (Delmarva Daily Times)
• West Virginia senators applaud President Trump’s executive orders designed to boost the pipeline industry. (WV News)
• A dearth of gas pipelines in the Permian Basin will hamper oil producers at least until 2020, according to Moody’s Investor Service. (Houston Chronicle)

OIL & GAS:
• Methane emissions from the Permian Basin are five times higher than what is being reported to federal environmental regulators, according to a national environmental group’s analysis. (Associated Press)
• A natural gas leak caused an explosion in Durham, North Carolina, that killed one person and injured 25 others. (CBS 17)
• Federal judges question FERC’s claim that emissions from natural gas projects it approves are too difficult to measure. (E&E News, subscription)

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POLICY:
• Youth activists in Minnesota push for a statewide Green New Deal to boost renewables and quickly drive down greenhouse gas emissions. (Fast Company)
• U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is drafting legislation for a national clean energy standard. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: FirstEnergy has spent millions of dollars on outside lobbying as it seeks bailouts for nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, a watchdog group reports. (Energy and Policy Institute)

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