U.S. Energy News

EPA weakens Obama-era coal ash regulations

EPA: The EPA weakens 2015 standards for coal ash storage and monitoring, a sign that the agency’s direction will remain unchanged under acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist. (E&E News, Reuters)

ALSO: In a departure from former administrator Scott Pruitt, under Wheeler the EPA is taking steps to be more open and transparent with the media and the public. (E&E News)

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CLIMATE: An initiative launched by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg outlines a “bottom-up” approach to climate action, with businesses, cities and states leading the way. (Utility Dive)

GRID: A House energy committee hearing explores what a national energy storage policy might look like. (Greentech Media)

UTILITIES:
• Despite similar long-term clean energy goals, Michigan’s two major utilities have competing visions for replacing their coal generation over the next decade. (Energy News Network)
People living outside metropolitan areas in the Northeast have some of the nation’s highest energy costs, with rural New Englanders spending a median of 5.1 percent of their income on energy, according to a new report. (NHPR)

RENEWABLES:
A new report and interactive map shows clean energy progress in every state. (Greentech Media)
• Harrison Godfrey, executive director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, says in a Q&A that Virginia’s clean energy landscape is changing rapidly. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• The Minnesota Supreme Court delivers a victory to pipeline protesters after declining to hear a case that supports a “necessity defense” and the threat of climate change to justify their actions. (Associated Press)
Pennsylvania regulators issue a 65th notice of violation to Energy Transfer Partners’ Sunoco Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline for spilling drilling fluid in a wetland. (Reuters)

SOLAR: Facebook and a Portland-based utility are teaming up to build six solar projects in Oregon and Utah to power the social media company’s data centers. (Salt Lake Tribune)

WIND:
• Duke Energy cancels plans to buy 500 MW of wind for customers in North Carolina due to the lack of available transmission to access Midwest sources. (Utility Dive)
• A Texas energy regulator says the transmission line connected to a major multi-state wind energy project is a “game changer” holding up her approval. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUELS:
• Advocates say more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol would have been added to gasoline if it weren’t for waivers granted to refiners by the U.S. EPA. (Radio Iowa)
• Critics and supporters state their cases on biofuel blending volumes at an EPA hearing in Michigan. (Reuters)

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NUCLEAR: A 2013 ruling by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh greenlighting the Yucca Mountain project puts a Nevada senator running for re-election in a difficult position: support President Trump’s pick and face the wrath of Nevada voters opposed to the nuclear waste storage plan. (Nevada Independent)

COMMENTARY:
• Why a Republican proposal for a carbon tax is a longshot, but still a shot worth taking. (Grist)
• A Pulitzer-winning author says nuclear energy “deserves better than the anti-nuclear prejudices and fears that have plagued it.” (Yale E360)

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