U.S. Energy News

EPA proposes to freeze fuel economy standards

REGULATION: The Trump administration drafts a proposal to freeze auto efficiency standards starting in 2021 and keep them there through 2026. (Washington Post)

EFFICIENCY: A bill to scale back utility energy efficiency programs in Iowa is likely to reach Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. (Midwest Energy News)

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POLITICS: More than half of voters disapprove of the Trump administration’s environmental policies, and nearly 50 percent say those policies will influence how they vote in the midterm elections, according to a recent poll. (The Hill)

EPA: The EPA’s inspector general is officially investigating Administrator Scott Pruitt’s condo rental from the wife of a lobbyist. (Huffington Post)

• Oklahoma lawmakers are embroiled in a high stakes battle over whether to end tax credits for the wind industry. (The Oklahoman)
• Texas regulators approve Xcel Energy’s plan to build a 478 MW wind farm in the state’s Panhandle. (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)
• A report released last week says offshore wind could have as much as $800 million in economic impact in Massachusetts. (Associated Press)

STORAGE: Mercedes-Benz will stop manufacturing batteries for residential energy storage, saying its product was “overdesigned” and too expensive for stationary use. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Tesla butts heads with utilities in California over electric vehicle rebates. (Bloomberg)

BIOFUEL: Sources say the EPA waived federal biofuel requirements for an oil refinery owned by former Trump adviser Carl Icahn, saving the company tens of millions of dollars. (Reuters)

BIOMASS: A third of wood pellet plants from Georgia to Texas violated their 2017 permits by releasing illegal amounts of air pollution, an environmental group’s report says. (Savannah Morning News)

• Developers plan to transform a former coal plant in Northwest Indiana into a massive data center and tech startup incubator. (Midwest Energy News)
• Two investment firms are considering a joint purchase of an Arizona coal plant that’s set to close next year. (Arizona Republic)

COAL ASH: Residents living near Puerto Rico’s only coal-burning power plant have been diagnosed with cancer and other ailments that they fear are related to coal ash exposure. (PBS)

• The Trump administration moves to relax an offshore drilling safety regulation written in response to the 2010 BP oil spill but rejects broader changes sought by oil companies. (The Hill, Bloomberg)
• Michigan regulators approve DTE Energy’s plan for a 1,100 MW natural gas plant despite some groups’ support for clean energy alternatives. (Midwest Energy News)
• Officials say Superior, Wisconsin, is “getting back to normal” after an oil refinery explosion injured at least 15 people last week. (Associated Press, Reuters)
• Marathon Petroleum Corp. buys San Antonio’s Andeavor for $23 billion in a deal that creates the largest independent fuel maker in the U.S. (Bloomberg)
• A “Mexico First” campaign could derail oil production in Texas and slow deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (New York Times)

PIPELINES: A North Dakota judge refuses to dismiss a complaint that an out-of-state company operated illegally during Dakota Access Pipeline protests. (Associated Press)

CARBON TAX: House Republicans reintroduce a non-binding resolution to condemn a carbon tax, saying it “would be detrimental to American families and businesses.” (The Hill)

• The Department of Energy will award $60 million to 13 projects working on small modular reactor technology. (Utility Dive)
• The DOE awards $40 million to Oregon-based NuScale to help it build a small-scale nuclear reactor plant in Idaho by 2026. (Portland Business Journal)
• The nuclear industry launches a major public relations push as it struggles to compete with cheap natural gas and renewables. (Greentech Media)

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New York will launch a utility registry this summer to gather information on customer energy usage. (Utility Dive)
Several Southeastern states have some of the lowest retail electricity rates but pay the highest average monthly household electricity bills in the U.S. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY: Vox’s David Roberts explains why city transit buses are ideal candidates for electrification.

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