Western Energy News

Erin Brockovich warns against utility bankruptcy

PG&E BANKRUPTCY: California’s largest utility has secured $5.5 billion to help fund operations while it reorganizes under bankruptcy, a process expected to last about two years. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ALSO: Activist Erin Brockovich, who became famous by fighting PG&E over toxic water pollution in the 1990’s, says California shouldn’t let the utility go bankrupt because it will mean less money for wildfire victims. (Associated Press)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Betting on the continued increase in electric vehicle sales, a Canadian company is trying to extract a vast lithium deposit in northern Nevada. (KUNR)

COAL:
• A bankrupt Colorado coal company hopes to sell a mine it owns in Wyoming by the end of February. (Casper Star Tribune)
• Officials with New Mexico’s largest utility say utility regulators should let lawmakers proceed with legislation to help finance the closure of one of its coal-fired power plants before initiating immediate shutdown proceedings. (Albuquerque Journal)

NUCLEAR: The director of a federal lab in Idaho says the state’s decision to block small shipments of spent nuclear fuel is threatening vital research. (Associated Press)

POLITICS:
• As Hawaii lawmakers begin to craft a budget, one state senator says he’s writing a bill “to totally reconstruct” the state energy office, which was recently the focus of a scathing audit. (Honolulu Civil Beat)
• The Wyoming lawmakers who have unsuccessfully tried to increase taxes on the state’s wind industry are back with another proposal. (Casper Star Tribune)

OIL AND GAS:
• The oil and gas industry in Alaska is starting to recover but the rest of the state remains mired in a recession, according to a new jobs report. (Alaska’s Energy Desk)
• County commissioners in southern Oregon are asking state regulators to block a 229-mile pipeline to a proposed natural gas export facility on the state’s coast. (Mail Tribune)

FINANCE: A California-based cleantech incubator has launched a seed-stage venture capital fund, a move expected to expand its network of clean energy startups. (Greentech Media)

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CLIMATE: The defeat of a carbon fee in Washington state shows just how difficult it might be to pass meaningful climate change legislation. (High Country News)

COMMENTARY:
• It might require a consumer revolt to force the shutdown of a New Mexico coal-fired power plant, says the executive director of a local conservation group. (New Mexico Political Report)
• By passing meaningful climate change legislation, Oregon lawmakers could cut emissions and help spur a national trend, says the communications director of a California energy and environmental firm. (Forbes)

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