OIL & GAS: Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, now the Biden administration’s infrastructure head, announces a $4.7 billion federal campaign to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells. (The Advocate)

ALSO:
• A West Virginia environmental protection official tells state lawmakers the agency needs money to hire eight more natural gas and oil well inspectors before the state receives $165 million in federal funding to manage nearly 6,300 abandoned wells. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• U.S. energy regulators project Permian Basin production will reach a record level next month. (Reuters)
• Experts criticize ExxonMobil’s announcement of its “ambition” to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as too little, too late. (ABC News)
• Oklahoma grapples with a $1.4 natural gas bill racked up during last year’s winter storm and the skyrocketing prices that resulted. (Oklahoma Watch/Floodlight/Guardian)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal and the resulting settlement is fueling North Carolina’s build-out of electric chargers in rural areas. (Wilmington StarNews)

GRID:
• Texas energy regulators express concern over delays to implement grid reforms because of short staffing and a lack of coordination among state officials. (Utility Dive)
• Leaders of a Texas city discuss deregulating its power market as it shifts to the state’s electric grid, becoming the first city in Texas history to voluntarily opt into the retail space. (KAMC)
• South Carolina’s state-owned utility sues a county government mandating the utility go through development reviews before building a 5-mile transmission line. (Charleston Post & Courier)
• A South Florida city learns that moving its utility lines underground will cost less than expected and might not require a bond issue. (Miami Today)

CLIMATE:
• Environmentalists criticize Florida for largely ignoring the role of polluters in contributing to the state’s worsening algal bloom crisis. (Inside Climate News)
• A North Carolina town announces its municipal operations will use 100% renewable energy by next month — eight years ahead of its goal. (Watauga Democrat)

TRANSITION:
• A Black farmer grows his business and seeks to attract other farmers of color to take root in West Virginia’s coalfields. (GreenBiz)
• An environmental group criticizes state regulators and a network of off-road trails through Virginia coal counties for not adequately managing erosion and drainage issues. (Virginia Mercury)

POLITICS: An influential coal mining union presses U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to salvage Democrats’ climate and social spending plan after he scuttles negotiations. (Sierra)

RENEWABLES: Appalachian Power issues a request for proposals to build 1,000 MW  of wind or 100 MW of solar as it moves to meet Virginia’s goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2050. (WDBJ)

COAL: A West Virginia coal miner died in a fall, marking at least the third coal mining death already this year. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

COMMENTARY: New Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin should reconsider his decisions to withdraw the state from a regional carbon trading market and appoint former EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to his cabinet to better promote a healthy environment for state residents, write two health professionals. (Virginia Mercury)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.