Southeast Energy News

Major problems loom for Texas oil industry after petrochemical fire

OIL & GAS: Four La Porte, Texas residents sue a petrochemical company over a fire at its facility that burned for days. (Click 2 Houston)

ALSO:
• A consulting firm responsible for monitoring air quality after the Texas petrochemical fires incorrectly handled data or downplayed the risks of toxic chemicals after Hurricane Katrina and a Tennessee coal ash spill. (Grist)
• The petrochemical plant fires are just the beginning of problems for Texas’ energy hub, which is likely to face increased legal and regulatory scrutiny. (E&E News, subscription)
• West Virginia oil and gas executives say the future of the industry in the state is promising. (Herald-Dispatch)
• West Virginia oil and gas industry regulators and executives will host pipeline safety seminars for operators in April. (News and Sentinel)
• The Army Corps of Engineers will do a full environmental review of a major oil export project in Texas, which could slow plans to ship oil overseas. (E&E News, subscription)

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SOLAR:
• Solar is becoming more affordable for West Virginia residents, and a local company is helping them install projects. (Herald-Dispatch)
• Virginia schools are leading the nation in installing solar projects and using the technology to educate students. (Washington Post)
• A South Carolina Senate committee works on a compromise for a bill that would make solar energy more accessible in the state. (Statehouse Report)
• Lauderdale County, Mississippi schools will get solar panels to become more energy efficient. (Meridian Star)

UTILITIES:
• The South Carolina House is ready to quickly consider a bill that would give experts if hired permission to seek bids to buy utility Santee Cooper. (Associated Press)
• Dominion Energy offers buyouts to nearly 1,300 SCE&G employees just three months after purchasing the utility. (Post and Courier)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority will host a public meeting in Kentucky tomorrow on its long-range plan for electricity generation. (Bowling Green Daily News)

PIPELINES: A Texas family agrees to let pipeline developers build on their land but tries to stop them from cutting down a historic oak tree in the pipeline’s path. (Victoria Advocate)

COAL: West Virginia University and the West Virginia Mine Drainage Task Force will host a symposium on mine reclamation this week. (Associated Press)

COAL ASH: North Carolina researchers are looking into possible links between thyroid cancer clusters and a coal ash facility in Iredell County. (Charlotte Observer)

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OFFSHORE DRILLING: South Carolina residents are opposed to seismic testing for oil and gas and offshore drilling, a survey finds. (Greenville News)

COMMENTARY:
• Two petrochemical plant fires in Texas are a reminder that as the oil and gas industry grows, so does the risk, an editorial board says. (Dallas Morning News)
• Utilities, regulators, and lawmakers need to consider affordability in their decision increase electricity rates, Kentucky Rep. Angie Hatton writes. (Lexington Herald Leader)
• Virginia regulators’ decision to reject Walmart’s request to buy energy from a third-party is a missed opportunity for renewables in the state, a renewable energy advocate writes. (Washington Post)

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