U.S. Energy News

Federal court suspends Clean Power Plan lawsuit

CLEAN POWER PLAN: The fate of litigation challenging the Clean Power Plan remains uncertain after a federal appeals court suspends lawsuits challenging the plan on Friday, a move that some say could make it easier to repeal the rules entirely. (E&E News, Washington Post)

REGULATION: A commissioner announces that she will retire from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in June, leaving only one remaining commissioner on the normally five-member body. (The Hill)

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OIL & GAS: President Trump signs an executive order aimed at increasing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Arctic Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, but experts say a lengthy review and legal battle is eminent. (ThinkProgress, Associated Press)

ALSO:
• California lawmakers push back against President Trump’s latest executive order, with one senator promising to introduce legislation to prohibit new leases for fossil fuel infrastructure projects within three miles of the state’s coast. (Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post)
• President Trump’s executive order is drawing opposition from leaders and citizens in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Beaufort Gazette, WABE, Tallahassee Democrat)
• Residents balk at the prospect of more offshore drilling near Santa Barbara, California, where a 1969 spill released up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil. (Los Angeles Times)
• A second company shuts down oil and gas wells in Colorado after a fatal house explosion near a gas well last week, as the industry tries to reassure residents they are safe. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: Lawmakers in Maine will consider a bill that would require state environmental regulators to adopt rules “to prevent threats to drinking water resources from hydraulic fracturing.” (Portland Press Herald)

POLITICS: President Trump nominates a lobbyist with ties to the fossil fuel industry as Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department, which many critics are calling a conflict of interest. (ThinkProgress)

COAL:
• A proposed coal terminal in Washington state would add two million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere annually and increase cancer risks for a local neighborhood, according to an environmental review. (Seattle Times)
• Officials say the planned closure of a massive coal plant in Arizona is expected to cause about 1,000 job losses. (Associated Press)
• Healthcare benefits for more than 22,000 coal miners set to expire on April 30 have been extended by Congress until May 5. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

UTILITIES: American Electric Power’s CEO says the company plans to invest more than a billion dollars in renewable energy sources, but coal will not be phased out. (Exponent Telegram)

NUCLEAR: A troubled South Carolina nuclear project extends an interim agreement with bankrupt contractor Westinghouse Electric to continue work on the site. (Charlotte Business Journal)

EPA: Los Angeles business leaders send a letter urging EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to “stop the rollback of key environmental regulations.” (Huffington Post)

SOLAR:
• Tesla announces that SolarCity will stop door-to-door sales of residential solar, saying the decision “reflects what most of our prospective customers prefer.” (Reuters)
• Iowa solar installers rush to get ahead of a new tariff that could lower the cap on the amount of energy that qualifies for net metering. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: The country’s first offshore wind farm in Rhode Island will connect to Block Island, saving islanders up to $30 a month on their electric bills. (InsideClimate News)

GEOTHERMAL: Michigan’s 138-year-old Capitol building is planning to install a geothermal system as part of $70 million in upgrades. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• The new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a major opportunity to improve the wholesale energy market, says the president of an energy regulatory consulting firm. (UtilityDive)
• The U.S. needs to transition to renewable energy and stop letting the fossil fuel industry decide government policies, says Sen. Bernie Sanders. (The Guardian)

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