OIL & GAS: Democrats remove a provision to ban new offshore drilling off the U.S. coasts from their reconciliation bill after objections from Sen. Joe Manchin, putting a proposed ban on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in question as well. (New York Times, Washington Post)

ALSO:
• The coronavirus pandemic and resulting sag in Louisiana’s oil industry is accelerating a transition to wind and solar. (Grist)
• Two bidders want to restart a troubled oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands despite two bankruptcies, a troubled environmental past and a shaky financial outlook. (Inside Climate News)

UTILITIES:
• Utilities across the U.S. are increasingly pledging they’ll reach net-zero emissions, but watchdogs and experts say they’re not cutting off fossil fuels and transitioning to clean energy fast enough to do so by 2050. (S&P Global)
• A Virginia electric cooperative wants to raise its fixed rates despite critics who say doing so penalizes low-income customers and judicious energy users, and means solar power and energy efficiency measures will have a reduced effect on bills. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• Tribal members and environmental advocates who protested a proposed natural gas pipeline in Oregon sue the state, claiming it engaged in “illegal domestic spying” against demonstrators. (Grist)
• Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick says the body will strengthen its oversight of natural gas pipelines and apply more rigorous standards before approving projects. (E&E News, subscription)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A new report highlights best practices for local leaders and companies to use while expanding clean vehicle production in neighborhoods historically burdened by pollution from auto production facilities. (Energy News Network)
Electric vehicle maker Rivian confirms it will start building a $5 billion factory near Atlanta next spring, and says it expects to deliver completed electric vehicles in two years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WABE, Georgia Recorder)

CLEAN ENERGY: Midwestern cities lag behind coastal cities in developing strong renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, according to new rankings. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: Consumer advocates and a major environmental group have sided with utilities in the debate over California’s proposed rooftop solar reforms. (Inside Climate News)  

CARBON CAPTURE: Major oil companies, tech entrepreneurs and the federal government are among the biggest backers of carbon capture startups. (E&E News)

WIND: Federal officials determine that selling up to 10 commercial or research wind development leases off Long Island and New Jersey would have “no significant” environmental impacts during pre-construction tests and surveys. (E&E News)

CLIMATE:
• The U.S. saw the most reports of hurricane-force wind in a single day on Wednesday, capping a year of extreme weather. (Axios)
• Google promised to stop running climate denial ads ahead of last month’s COP26 conference, but a watchdog says dozens of ads are still appearing. (New York Times)

MINING: A rush to mine lithium for electric vehicles in Nevada is pitting climate advocates and environmental groups against each other. (CNN)