U.S. Energy News

Feds rarely seek fines for pipeline fires, explosions

PIPELINES: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam replaces two air pollution control board members after they raised concerns and delayed a vote on an Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in the historic black community of Union Hill. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ALSO:
Since 2010, interstate pipelines have exploded or caught fire 137 times and in 90 percent of cases, federal regulators sought no fine. (E&E News)
Protesters have quietly been tree-sitting in Virginia in protest of the Mountain Valley Pipeline since September. (Roanoke Times)

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NATURAL GAS:
• A series of natural gas explosions outside Boston in September could have been caused, at least in part, by Columbia Gas not hiring a professional engineer when planning to replace old cast-iron gas mains in the area, according an urgent safety report issued by federal investigators. (USA Today, Reuters)
Massachusetts public health officials are asking Gov. Charlie Baker to require studies of potential health and safety dangers before approving any new natural gas infrastructure in the state. (Energy News Network)

OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration begins accepting public comments on its plan to open federal waters off Alaska to drilling even though the project is already facing legal challenges. (InsideClimate News)
• Environmental groups challenging a planned oil refinery near a national park in North Dakota ask a court to reverse a recent decision by state regulators. (Bismarck Tribune)

COAL: Black lung clinics in eastern Kentucky help former and current coal miners fight coal companies to receive medical benefits. (WYMT)

COAL ASH:
Tennessee Congressman-elect Tim Burchett calls for an investigation into the poisoning of coal ash workers who cleaned up TVA’s 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
A federal judge dismisses an environmental group’s lawsuit against Dynegy coal ash pits in Illinois on jurisdictional grounds. (Champaign News-Gazette)

RENEWABLES: A coalition in Vermont releases a roadmap for cities and utilities to foster clean energy innovation projects for underserved populations. (Energy News Network)

WIND:
• Wind energy production is on the rise in Texas, as are the tax incentives that help support it. (Houston Business Journal)
Developers submit more than 40 bids in response to Rhode Island’s request for 400 MW of new renewable energy projects, including two competing bids for a 350 MW offshore wind farm. (Providence Journal)
A national offshore wind group releases a roadmap to accelerate offshore wind development in the United States. (news release)

SOLAR:
• A California solar company’s CEO talks about how she went from begging people at county fairs to become clean energy customers to running the nation’s largest residential installation company. (Greentech Media)
Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York currently has 800 employees, putting the company ahead of its goal to hire 500 employees by April of 2019. (WKBW)
• Walmart reaches a deal to install solar panels at two distribution centers and 19 stores in Illinois. (Belleville News-Democrat)
• Solar panels would be required on new residential units in Milwaukee under proposed legislation. (Wisconsin Public Radio)
• An Arizona utility plans to add 1,000 MW of solar energy over the next seven years, a 400 percent increase over its current level. (Arizona Republic)

UTILITIES:
• A rural environmental group criticizes Minnesota electric cooperatives for not providing information on their websites about where their power comes from. (Energy News Network)
• An Xcel Energy official discusses the challenges and value of resource planning as more renewable energy comes online. (Daily Energy Insider)

MICROGRIDS: Indoor cannabis growers are looking to microgrids as a way to cut spiraling electricity costs. (Greentech Media)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Volvo will soon begin testing how long electric trucks stay charged and their ability to reduce air pollution in a pilot project in Southern California. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
Americans are eager for action on climate change and clean energy which is why they voted for candidates who pledged to tackle those issues, says New Mexico’s governor-elect. (USA Today)
• Turning algae into energy could potentially be the next big breakthrough in the industry, says an energy reporter. (Houston Chronicle)

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