U.S. Energy News

EPA drafts weaker penalties for oil and gas industry

OIL & GAS: The U.S. EPA is expected to unveil significantly reduced penalties for oil and gas companies that violate Clean Air Act rules, according to memos. (The Hill)

COAL ASH:
• EPA officials side with utilities looking for an extension on dealing with leaking unlined coal ash storage sites. (E&E News, subscription)
• Michigan environmental groups say coal ash rules negotiated last month could be stronger to clean contaminated sites. (Energy News Network)

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SOLAR:
• A proposed 423 MW solar project in Nebraska would be the largest in the Midwest, though it hinges on an interconnection deal. (Energy News Network)
• Solar developer Cypress Creek Renewables issues layoffs for about 20 percent of its workforce as it focuses on its most competitive markets. (Greentech Media)
• An Indiana bill would stop the state’s phase out of net metering and force utilities to pay full retail price for solar power sent to the grid. (Evansville Courier & Press)

STORAGE: As more utilities pursue solar-plus-storage, manufacturing and interconnection barriers threaten the momentum. (Utility Dive)

WIND: Connecticut officials selected just one offshore wind project in a recent zero-carbon electricity bidding process. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A new report says autonomous and electric vehicles may steeply cut into U.S. gasoline demand in the coming decades. (Axios)

BIOGAS: A Minnesota utility’s proposed renewable natural gas pilot program faces opposition from clean energy groups that prefer electrification. (Energy News Network)

NUCLEAR:
• Santee Cooper officially gives up its federal license to build two new nuclear reactors at the VC Summer nuclear plant, ending the project. (Associated Press)
• Georgia Power is working on an accurate timeline for Vogtle nuclear plant construction it says it will submit to regulators in May. (E&E News, subscription)

CLIMATE: New Mexico’s governor issues an executive order laying out several aggressive steps to combat climate change. (Albuquerque Journal)

PIPELINES: A bill that would limit the costs Dominion Energy can pass on to ratepayers for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline makes its way through Virginia’s General Assembly. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: NextEra could lose money because its solar projects in California may be tied up in Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy. (Orlando Sentinel)

DIVESTMENT: Vermont’s Middlebury College announces that it will divest its endowment from fossil fuels and run its campus on 100 percent renewable energy by 2028. (Burlington Free Press)

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POLITICS: The Green New Deal may never make it to the House floor for a vote as it lacks political support among moderate Democrats. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• The Trump administration doesn’t deny that more kids will be harmed by its rollback of mercury pollution rules — they just don’t seem to care, write a former EPA administrator and president of an evangelical group. (The Hill)
• Environmentalist Bill McKibben writes that perseverance is the key to winning victories against fossil fuel companies. (The Guardian)

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