U.S. Energy News

Maryland proposes ‘most stringent’ shale regulations in the country

REGULATION: The Maryland Department of the Environment proposes “the most stringent and protective environmental shale regulations in the country.” (Baltimore Sun)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Ten judges weigh the pros and cons of the Clean Power Plan during the first day of oral arguments in federal court, with their questions to lawyers largely split along party lines. (New York Times/The Hill)

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CLIMATE: Natural gas utilities in Washington state are challenging a clean air rule that seeks to combat climate change by requiring large industrial emitters to reduce carbon emissions over time. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• An oil services company agrees to pay $140 million for inflating its earnings by more than $900 million between 2007 and 2012 by using deceptive income tax reporting. (Reuters)
• After prolonged weak oil prices, the pace of new jobs and hiring in Texas “suggests that the worst of the energy crisis may be over,” according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economist. (Dallas Business Journal)

POLLUTION:
• A Texas-based marine transportation company agrees to pay $4.9 million in civil penalties for a 4,000-barrel oil spill in 2014 caused by an oil barge colliding with a cargo ship in the Houston Ship Channel, which polluted 160 miles of shoreline. (Maritime Executive)
• Los Angeles County plans to conduct a study on the health impacts associated with the nation’s largest natural gas leak, which occurred in the city’s Porter Ranch neighborhood last year, and reportedly caused nosebleeds, vomiting and headaches. (Los Angeles Times)
• The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused widespread erosion in marshes along the Gulf Coast, and researchers say the damage may be irreversible. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES: The standoff over the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline could be resolved by offering jobs to local Native Americans, such as water hauling and other oilfield service needs, says the chief executive of North Dakota’s largest oil producer. (Reuters)

COAL:
• Nearly 90 percent of voters support a proposal to provide $1 billion for mine reclamation projects in Eastern Kentucky and other areas long tied to coal. (Lexington Herald Leader)
• Erosion from an Illinois river could interfere with toxic coal ash impoundments and contaminate the waterway. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: Power companies are investing heavily in natural gas, despite concerns that such investments will undermine the country’s ability to meet climate goals. (Utility Dive)

TRANSPORTATION: A new study has led to the creation of an app that provides data on the carbon footprint of 125 different car models, including their mileage and emissions from manufacturing. (New York Times)

SOLAR: One of Colorado’s biggest community solar developers builds a 1.2 megawatt community solar farm in Texas, which will help utility customers save on their electric bills. (San Antonio Business Journal)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Microsoft says it will run its data centers on 50 percent clean energy sources by 2018, and will increase the target to 60 percent by the early 2020s. (PV-Tech)
• A venture capitalist who helped fund SolarCity and Tesla explains why her firm wants to invest in clean technology and sustainable products. (Midwest Energy News)
• North Carolina is taking advantage of a USDA program that helps co-ops offer zero-interest loans for clean energy and efficiency upgrades. (Southeast Energy News)

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ENERGY STORAGE: New York City sets an energy storage target of 100 megawatt-hours by 2020, which is expected to help the city meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
• Congress should uphold federal fuel efficiency standards, despite low gas prices. (Washington Post)
• The Clean Power Plan should be implemented for its public health benefits, as well as its climate benefits. (The Hill)

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