U.S. Energy News

EPA study: Minorities are disproportionately impacted by air pollution

POLLUTION: An EPA study finds that minority and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution, with African-Americans experiencing a 54 percent higher health burden than the overall population. (The Hill)

OIL AND GAS:
• A federal court says that the Trump administration’s suspension of methane regulations is “untethered to evidence,” and orders the BLM to enforce the rules. (E&E News)
• A treasure trove of fossils has been discovered in a former Utah monument the Trump administration recently opened for energy development. (Washington Post)

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CARBON TAX: A Washington state Senate committee passes a carbon tax measure that could become the first of its kind in the U.S. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• The conservative Heartland Institute launches a campaign to save U.S. coal plants, saying the fuel will help keep electricity costs down. (E&E News)
• A Nevada utility plans to continue operating a coal-fired plant through 2025, despite data that shows replacing one of the plant’s units with renewable energy next year could save customers $30 million. (Utility Dive)
• Pennsylvania receives $55 million from the federal government to clean up hazardous sites left behind by the mining industry. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
• Energy analysts say the boost in the coal industry is temporary and has nothing to do with White House policies. (NPR)
• Coal Country is divided over Don Blankenship’s U.S. senate bid following his one-year prison sentence for his role in West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch coal mine accident that killed 29 men in 2010. (New York Times)
• A West Virginia judge dismisses a defamation lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy against HBO host John Oliver. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: A federal judge suspends construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana until a lawsuit from environmental groups is resolved. DeSmogBlog publishes photos of debris and other damage along the route since construction began in mid January. (Associated Press, DeSmog)

UTILITIES: An Indiana utility plans to shut down three coal-fired power plants while adding a new natural gas plant and solar farm. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Massachusetts advocates say recent policy changes mean the state will continue to shed solar jobs, despite its ambitious clean-energy goals. (Northeast Energy News)
• A roundup of legal challenges launched against the Trump administration’s recent solar tariff. (The Motley Fool)

GRID: Customer and clean energy advocates in North Carolina argue Duke Energy’s $13 billion grid modernization plan is vague, thinly justified, and will do little to benefit customers or clean energy. (Southeast Energy News)

MICROGRIDS: A microgrid system that survived recent wildfires in northern California is providing lessons for a second project that will be a test case for off-grid technology. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: An executive at DHL estimates the shipping company can recoup the cost of replacing diesel trucks with Tesla’s electric semi trucks in less than two years, thanks to savings on maintenance and fuel. (Reuters)

EPA: The EPA faces a surge of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits as the agency refuses to disclose information about administrator Scott Pruitt’s activities. (Politico)

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CLIMATE:
• A former adviser to President Trump praises the Paris climate accord, calling it “a good Republican agreement.” (The Hill)
• Idaho lawmakers pass new state education standards that include references to human-caused climate change, ending years of debate. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY:
• Companies should help rebuild coal communities that helped fuel their economic success, whether it means locating new facilities in coal country or direct philanthropy, says the president of Raudys Strategies. (GreenBiz)
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s directive to forbid agency-funded scientists from serving on advisory boards is based on an “inverted perception of conflict of interest,” says a professor at Ohio State University. (The Hill)

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