U.S. Energy News

Group sues to force EPA nominee to disclose energy industry ties

POLITICS: A watchdog group is suing EPA chief nominee Scott Pruitt to force him to respond to open records requests concerning his ties to the energy industry. (Huffington Post)

PIPELINES:
• The Army Corps of Engineers grants the final permit necessary to complete construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, and developers say they plan to resume work immediately. (Reuters, Associated Press)
• Dakota Access Pipeline rallies are held in at least 26 states after opponents called for worldwide protests in response to the Army’s announcement that it will greenlight the final stage of the project without conducting an environmental review. (Grist, Associated Press)
• The Army Corps of Engineers is violating its legal obligations by backing out of a commitment to conduct a thorough environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to former interior secretary Sally Jewell. (Washington Post)
• The CEO of Wells Fargo says the bank is committed to financing the Dakota Access Pipeline and has “an obligation” to see the project through. (Bloomberg)
• A Michigan-based group says it has identified an alternative to building an oil and gas pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac that would eliminate the need to process propane in the state’s Upper Peninsula. (Midwest Energy News)

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COAL:
• Coal production is expected to increase in the West but remain relatively flat in the Appalachian region over the next two years, as higher natural gas prices drive up demand, according to the Department of Energy. (FuelFix)
• Challenges from landowners and a competing company are slowing the permitting process for what would be Wyoming’s first major new coal mine in decades. (Associated Press)

ADVOCACY: The executive director of a Georgia conservation group talks about strategies for successfully opposing pipelines, saying “we have done it differently than others.” (Southeast Energy News)

CLIMATE: House Democrats are urging California’s new attorney general to continue an investigation into whether ExxonMobil misled the public about climate change. (InsideClimate News)

EFFICIENCY: U.S. economic development has decoupled from energy demand and carbon emissions, and the trend is continuing to grow, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• A new report says energy costs for U.S. consumers hit record lows last year due to the adoption of clean energy technologies and sustained natural gas consumption, countering claims by the Trump administration that renewable energy increases costs. (E&E News)
• Former President Jimmy Carter says President Trump should give “deep consideration” to the millions of jobs that could be created by embracing renewable energy. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• A solar advocacy group in Utah says the state needs to encourage clean energy development by placing fewer restrictions on rooftop solar and offering more financing and incentive options. (Utility Dive)
• Company leaders say Ohio could have added more solar industry jobs last year if lawmakers had not frozen targets under the state’s renewable portfolio standard. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: Wind power could surpass hydropower’s capacity factor by 2020, as technology innovation boosts its reliability. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE: Wall Street analysts at Morgan Stanley say energy storage in the utility sector “will grow more than the market anticipates.” (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Utah lawmakers are reconsidering a proposed electric vehicle tax credit due to concerns that there is no cap on the amount of money the state would spend. (Deseret News)

NUCLEAR: Two companies form a joint venture to purchase and decommission nuclear plants and are drawing interest from Louisiana-based Entergy. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES: A gas utility in Southern California will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit over a natural gas leak that residents said caused headaches, nausea and nosebleeds. (Associated Press)

REGULATION: Advocacy groups are suing President Trump over an executive order that directs federal agencies to repeal two regulations for each new rule they issue, saying it exceeds his authority under the Constitution. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY: A research analyst at the World Resources Institute says using green tariffs can attract big business to states. (GreenBiz)

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