PIPELINES: This week’s arguments between federal regulators over requests by Mountain Valley Pipeline to expand construction signal trouble for the delayed, over-budget pipeline as the regulatory commission transitions to Democratic leadership. (Charleston Gazette-Mail, Natural Gas Intelligence)

• The inauguration of new President Joe Biden draws negative reaction from Texas Republicans over his energy plans, while state Democrats say he could be a positive for the Permian Basin’s oil and gas industry. (KSAT, KOSA)
• West Virginia’s junior U.S. senator calls a federal court ruling striking down the Trump administration’s clean air rules “a disaster.” (Parkersburg News & Sentinel)

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COAL: A Kentucky coal executive who pleaded guilty to lying to federal inspectors in 2003 receives a pardon from President Donald Trump. (WFIE)

• Arkansas uses $2 million from its Volkswagen settlement to launch programs that will provide more than 200 electric vehicle charging stations around the state. (KUAR)
• Police in Largo, Florida, become the first in the Tampa area to use electric motorcycles. (Tampa Bay Newspapers)

• A North Carolina city council unanimously votes to deny a permit for a solar facility after neighbors express concerns. (The Robesonian)
• Southeast energy giant Dominion Energy acquires a 150 MW solar facility in Ohio, its first in that state. (Renews)

• A Texas company hired by Dominion Energy begins to build a $500 million ship to install offshore wind turbines. (San Antonio Business Journal)
• A 148 MW wind farm begins commercial operation in Oklahoma, with Honda as a primary customer. (news release)

OIL & GAS: Federal regulators tell Texas that the state will be allowed to regulate water discharges from fracking operations, leading state lawmakers to consider its possible uses. (Texas Tribune)

BIOMASS: North Carolina regulators grant Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy an air permit for a swine-waste-to-natural-gas project, but many neighbors remain opposed. (Fayetteville Observer)

OVERSIGHT: A longtime mining and reclamation inspector is appointed to serve as the head of West Virginia’s environmental agency, where he faces challenges including coal bankruptcies and staff cuts that may affect oil and gas regulation. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

UTILITIES: Entergy demolishes an operations center in Jackson, Mississippi, that dates back to 1899 as a power plant and trolley barn, with plans to build another at a nearby site. (Northside Sun)

GRID: The Tennessee Valley Authority begins construction on a 500 KV substation in eastern Tennessee. (WATE)

• North Carolina should join a regional greenhouse gas initiative that includes states along the eastern seaboard, write two state environmental advocates. (Charlotte Observer)
• The “whipsaw regulatory approach” created by federal court’s reversal on clean energy rules and a change in presidential administrations leads to uncertainty for West Virginia’s utilities and fossil fuel industries, writes a state talk radio host. (WV Metro News)

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.