Western Energy News

Investigation raises questions about Colorado oil oversight

OIL & GAS: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs a bill into law bringing sweeping changes to the way the oil and gas industry is regulated in the state including giving cities more control over drilling. (Denver Post)

• An investigation by an independent journalism company based in Colorado finds that the state does not comprehensively monitor or regulate air pollution from the oil and gas industry. (The Story Group)
• The Supreme Court seems likely to rule against California offshore oilfield workers who want to be paid for the off-work time they spend on platforms including sleeping. (Associated Press)
• Former and current employees of a petroleum company’s Denver office describe a toxic work culture of “treating women as sexual playthings.” (Bloomberg)

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SOLAR: A California-based renewable energy company is backing off plans to build a $5 billion solar-thermal power plant on federal land in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

• Montana lawmakers reject a bill to save a troubled coal plant just one day after supporting the controversial legislation in a procedural vote. (Billings Gazette)
• Several environmental groups have sued the U.S. Department of Interior over its decision to approve a coal mine expansion near a national park in Utah. (Deseret News)

• A California-based electric bus manufacturer has launched a $200 million credit facility to scale up its battery leasing program, a move company officials believe will alleviate some of the hefty upfront costs of buying an electric bus. (Greentech Media)
• An Portland-area transit agency trying to go emissions-free by 2040 unveils its first electric bus. (Portland Business Journal)

• New Mexico launches a $32 million effort to make state buildings more energy efficient. (Albuquerque Journal)
• A Tucson utility’s new energy efficiency plan calls for keeping funding for current rebates and rolling out some new programs such as new incentives for electric vehicle owners and customer-based “load management” programs. (Arizona Daily Star)

CLIMATE: Members of the Colorado House of Representatives pass a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025. (Colorado Politics)

POLITICS: Washington lawmakers are moving a slate of clean energy bills through the legislature this session, which could help burnish the climate change credentials of presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee. (InvestigateWest)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Hawaii’s governor announces the launch of a new on-bill financing program designed to help homeowners, renters, small businesses and nonprofits pay for clean energy. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES: Utility crews from around the country are connecting hundreds of homes near the Utah-Arizona border to the grid, providing power to some members of the Navajo Nation for the first time in their lives. (KSL.com)

• New Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says it the agency’s job is not to address climate change, but to “maximize sustained yield” from energy development. (E&E News, subscription)
• The newly named Interior Secretary recused himself from a 2017 meeting with a Wyoming oilman to discuss the state’s sage grouse protection plans because of his former industry ties. (Casper Star Tribune)

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HYDROPOWER: A Colorado hydropower plant shuts down for a week so crews can inspect a leak in a tunnel. (Aspen Journalism)

COMMENTARY: Electric vehicle charging infrastructure should be considered right next to solar and wind energy as an essential part of New Mexico’s clean energy economy, says a community organizer from Las Cruces. (New Mexico Political Report)

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