Western Energy News

Investigators say California utility caused state’s deadliest wildfire

UTILITIES:
• California fire investigators have determined that transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E were responsible for starting the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. (New York Times)
• Two weeks into the job, PG&E’s new CEO faces blame for a wildfire that killed 85 people and destroyed an entire town. (Bloomberg)

POLICY: An academy launched by a former governor of Colorado for state lawmakers across the country has helped a broad range of state clean energy legislation. (Bloomberg)

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SOLAR:
• A developer is proposing to build a utility-scale solar farm in Idaho which could become one of the largest clean energy projects in the Northwest if approved. (Idaho State Journal)
• A bill being considered by Nevada lawmakers doesn’t go far enough to make solar energy affordable for low-income residents, critics say. (Utility Dive)
• A developer explains why Montana is a good location for solar projects. (KTVQ)

WIND: One of Oregon’s oldest wind farms is seeking to upgrade its 43 turbines to operate more efficiently. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

OIL & GAS:
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent withdrawal of support for a proposed liquified natural gas plant is a victory for the Puyallup Tribe, which has opposed the project since 2015. (Indian Country Today)
• Environmentalists are asking Colorado oil and gas regulators to stop issuing new drilling permits until they write new rules for the industry as mandated by a new law. (Associated Press)
• A Colorado congresswoman introduces a bill reversing the Trump administration’s efforts to undo methane regulations for the oil and gas industry. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)
• While New Mexico looks to diversify its economy, the oil and gas industry continues to fill state coffers. (New Mexico Political Report)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Nevada’s governor signs a bill into law encouraging the purchase and use of heavy-duty electric trucks. (Nevada Appeal)

COAL:
• A Wyoming coal producer that recently filed for bankruptcy says it should be able to pay two counties several million dollars in back taxes. (Wyoming Public Media)
• Arizona environmental regulators want to exempt coal ash ponds from state rules so they can be subject to more stringent federal regulations. (Phoenix New Times)

RENEWABLES: A Colorado mountain town pledges to use 100% renewable energy by 2035. (Summit Daily)

PUBLIC LANDS: Several Western lawmakers are again pushing legislation that would use royalties from oil and gas production on federal lands to help pay for national park repairs and maintenance. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

NUCLEAR: A U.S. House subcommittee has voted to approve a spending bill that eliminates funding needed to revive the licensing process for Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. (The Nevada Appeal)

COMMENTARY:
• Arizona doesn’t need California billionaire Tom Steyer in its fight against a proposed $95 million rate hike by the state’s largest utility, says a columnist for the Arizona Republic.
• David Roberts says the key to passing clean energy policies is to elect Democrats, pointing to recent measures passed by states including Washington, Colorado and Nevada. (Vox)

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