Correction: A Louisiana federal judge on Friday blocked a Biden executive order restoring the social cost of carbon. An earlier version of this digest mischaracterized the judge’s decision.

PIPELINES: The Army Corps of Engineers signals that it won’t issue a decision on a key water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline until it has reviewed a Fish and Wildlife Service opinion that must be redone. (Roanoke Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Toyota announces it will invest $73 million into a West Virginia factory to increase its ability to produce hybrid transaxles, a key component of electric vehicles. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Florida could see up to 100 new fast chargers paid for by $29 million from the federal infrastructure package. (WUSF)

GRID:
• A power outage resulted in Texas refineries releasing 132,000 pounds of emissions, including nearly 75,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide — but without “the good Lord’s providence” could have been even worse. (KHOU)
• New Orleans leaders are split over whether to save federal pandemic relief funds for staffing or to spend it on construction of a new power substation ahead of the 2023 hurricane season. (NOLA.com)

OIL & GAS:
Dominion Energy announces it will sell off its West Virginia natural gas utility. (WV News)
• A Texas city will vote today to transfer its natural gas franchise to reflect the recent sale of its regional utility operations. (Texarkana Gazette)

TRANSITION: A new study recommends an array of initiatives to move Appalachian communities past coal, including generous buyouts for workers and subsidies to back-fill lost tax revenue to local governments. (news release)

BIOMASS: An environmental law firm files notice alleging a North Carolina wood pellet company is discharging high levels of toxic chemicals into waterways. (N.C. Policy Watch)

EMISSIONS:
• A Louisiana federal judge blocked a Biden executive order restoring the social cost of carbon, saying it prevents states from collecting fossil fuel royalties. (E&E News)
• North Carolina is projected to see a 39% decrease in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 due to coal-fired power plant closures but faces a stickier challenge with the large polluting footprint of its transportation sector. (Wilmington Star-News)
• A Louisiana city collects public input for a climate plan to put teeth behind its pledge to bring its greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050. (The Advocate)
• Dominion Energy announces it will build on its pledge to achieve net-zero carbon and methane emissions by 2050 to include emissions generated downstream by customers and upstream by suppliers. (news release)

POLITICS:
• Public filings reveal the West Virginia power plant that buys coal from Sen. Joe Manchin’s family business hasn’t paid rent for a decade. (E&E News)
• A report by an environmental group shows that Democrats’ spending plan would enable West Virginia to invest in climate programs that could lead to more than 70,000 direct jobs, even as its senior senator stands in the way. (Clean Technica, Washington Post)
• Next month’s congressional primaries in Texas may provide a snapshot of how Green New Deal-supporting progressives are faring under unified Democratic control of the presidency and Congress. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY:
• An energy reporter recalls losing power and heat during the winter storm that nearly broke the Texas grid last year. (Houston Chronicle)
• The Texas grid nearly collapsed last year largely due to flaws in the state’s energy market that haven’t yet been fixed, writes an energy professor. (Houston Chronicle)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.