Western Energy News

Feds approve two Utah coal mine expansions

COAL: The Trump administration approves two coal mine projects in Utah including one located between two national parks in the state’s iconic red rock region. (Associated Press)

ALSO: A Virginia billionaire has emerged as a potential buyer for a Wyoming coal mine. (Casper Star Tribune)

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UTILITIES:
• Colorado regulators rule that a rural electric co-op can proceed with its efforts to try to sever its ties to a wholesale power provider; whether state regulators have jurisdiction was a critical turning point for the case. (Denver Post, Energy News Network archive)
• A coalition of northern California cities are trying to convince the state’s largest utility to get out of the generation and transmission business. (Los Angeles Times)

SOLAR:
• The electricity provider for Fort Collins, Colorado announces it will add 20 MW of solar power plus battery storage at one of its coal-fired power plants. (The Coloradoan)
• A California company is seeking a business partner to help boost its solar panel manufacturing business, which could help maximize operations at its Oregon factory. (Reuters)

EFFICIENCY: California leads the nation in the construction of net zero homes as costs drop. (CNBC)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Utah lawmakers are considering $100 million worth of air quality improvement projects including installing electric vehicle charging stations at state buildings. (KSL)

OIL & GAS:
• Colorado regulators say it could take up to three years to clear a backlog of drilling permit applications. (Denver Post)
• A growing number of elected officials in western Colorado are pushing the state to adopt tougher air quality rules for the oil and gas industry that currently only apply to the Front Range. (Durango Herald)

RENEWABLES: A new poll shows that 90 percent of Arizona voters say the expansion of clean energy should be a priority for the state. (KAWC)

NUCLEAR: Nevada’s congressional delegation are growing increasingly frustrated by a lack of answers from federal government officials about a secret plutonium shipment to the state. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

POLITICS:
• Alaska’s governor places the chairman of the state’s oil and gas oversight agency on administrative leave, citing chronic absenteeism and a “security breach” involving a well drilled in a national wildlife refuge during the 1980s. (Anchorage Daily News)
• A plan to merge Wyoming’s pipeline and infrastructure authorities into one office is advancing through the statehouse. (Wyoming News Exchange)

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PUBLIC LANDS: A U.S. Senator from Colorado will oppose President Trump’s Interior Secretary nominee, citing his efforts as the department’s deputy secretary to revoke federal methane rules and limit state input on oil and gas decisions. (The Colorado Sun)

COMMENTARY:
• David Roberts explains how a California coalition is making a serious effort to decarbonize the state’s buildings, which while not “sexy” is a critical step in fighting climate change. (Vox)
• Washington lawmakers should support a bill that seeks to recommit to a pledge the state made 12 years ago to convert the government’s fleet to electric vehicles, says the editorial board of The Daily Herald.

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