UTILITIES: Victims of last year’s Slater fire in northern California and southern Oregon sue Pacificorp for negligence, saying the utility’s failure to maintain its transmission lines is to blame for the blaze. (The Oregonian)

POLLUTION: A new study finds that up to 50% of all Western fine-particle pollution is now caused by wildfire smoke. (Los Angeles Times)

GRID: California’s power grid operator releases a new report explaining why the grid failed during last summer’s extreme heat waves — with climate change and a lack of capacity in the evening named as main concerns. (Courthouse News)

CLIMATE:
Colorado’s Democratic state lawmakers plan to address climate and environmental policies during the 2021 legislative session. (Denver Post)
San Diego’s newly elected mayor proposes a new “climate equity fund,” which will pay for projects in historically underserved neighborhoods. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

OIL & GAS:
A bipartisan coalition of mostly Central California state lawmakers support an oil and gas industry campaign against scaling back production in the state. (Bakersfield Californian)
California environmental groups allege the process used by a Sacramento-based political action committee to collect signatures in support of an oil and gas referendum violated state law, and should not be certified. (Ventura County Reporter)
New Mexico’s House Speaker says the state’s oil industry activity is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and business revenues and taxes could increase as a result. (Roswell Daily Record)

PUBLIC LANDS:
A coalition of groups are legally challenging Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales in central and eastern Montana, saying the effect on groundwater and cumulative climate impacts were ignored. (Sidney Herald Leader)
A federal judge rules the Pit River Tribe’s legal challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s failure to cancel a geothermal lease on land in California sacred to the tribe can advance. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Tesla and other electric vehicle automakers are being urged to improve their electric-vehicle emergency response guides for first responders who end up fighting lithium-ion battery fires. (KGO-TV)
A former Utah senator says the state is set to become the “epicenter” of electrified vehicles nationally, if not worldwide. (Deseret News)

SOLAR: The future of a planned solar farm in Northern California is in doubt after lease negotiations between landowners and a green energy development company falls apart. (Livermore Independent)

FOSSIL FUELS: Wyoming’s amended financial forecast indicates oil production and coal extraction increased in calendar years 2020 and 2021, but the state still has an unsustainable revenue model that depends on revenue from fossil fuels. (Casper Star-Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
New Mexico’s top utility regulator says the time has come for state lawmakers to make adjustments to electric utility laws to better protect ratepayers. (Farmington Times)
The CEO of a California-based engineering production company in an interview discusses biomass-derived renewable hydrogen as the vehicle fuel of the future. (S&P Global)

Lisa Ellwood

Lisa is a Lenape and Nanticoke Native American freelance journalist, editor and writer currently based in the U.K. She has more than two decades’ experience working in corporate communications and print and digital media. She compiles the Western Energy News daily email digest. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University; her specializations include data journalism and visualization. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Union of Journalists (U.K.).