Southeast Energy News

N.C. coal ash basins exceeded groundwater standards hundreds of times

COAL ASH:  Major utilities found new evidence of groundwater contamination at coal power plants nationwide, including a pair of Duke Energy coal ash basins in North Carolina. (Associated Press, Star News)

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COAL:
• A new law in Kentucky prevents radiologists from judging X-rays in state black lung claims, leaving diagnoses mostly to lung and respiratory physicians who mostly work for coal companies. (WAMU)
• West Virginia’s steady increase in electricity rates can primarily be attributed to utilities’ continued reliance on coal-fired power plants, says an energy expert. (Charleston Mail-Gazette)
• A group of Kentucky coal companies file a lawsuit against U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over his disapproval of state regulations related to water protection, saying it would unfairly increase the cost to cleanup abandoned mines. (Courthouse News Service)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is ordered to pay $9.4 million for defaulting on a loan related to a coal company he owns. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

LEGISLATION: The South Carolina Senate delays a vote that would reduce utility customers’ surcharges that continue to fund the now-failed Summer nuclear project. (Charleston City Paper)

SOLAR: NextEra Energy and China-based JinkoSolar make a deal to produce 7 million solar panels at a new plant in Jacksonville, Florida. (Sun Sentinel)

PIPELINES:
• Proposed legislation in Louisiana would penalize pipeline vandals, following damage to equipment used to build the controversial Bayou Bridge project. (Advocate)
• West Virginia homeowners react as tree felling begins for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Pipeline opponents in Virginia tie hundreds of orange ribbons on trees along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route in protest of the project. (NBC 29)

OIL & GAS:
• Conservationists say the combination of oil and gas exploration and military training in waters off South Carolina’s coast would be too much for some marine animals to survive. (Post and Courier)
• The federal government will offer more than 77 million acres of Gulf waters for oil and gas exploration in its next lease sale on Aug. 15. (Associated Press)
• Rising oil prices are not yet jumpstarting Louisiana’s hard-hit offshore energy industry. (Advocate)

HYDROPOWER: SCE&G says a South Carolina lake is an “important asset for grid stability, reliability and power quality.” (Post and Courier)

COMMENTARY:
• South Carolina lawmakers should cut electricity rates by at least 13 percent; SCANA won’t like it, but it won’t go bankrupt, says an editorial. (Post and Courier)
• Anyone who visits Virginia’s George Washington National Forest “can immediately see the insanity” of routing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline there, says a columnist. (Blue Virginia)
• Louisiana is again choosing oil over its coast, as oil companies lead the charge to roll back regulations as rising sea levels continue to threaten the state, says a columnist. (Times-Picayune)
• Congress should pass a temporary federal tax credit to help preserve at least some of the country’s remaining coal plants until policymakers can ensure the power grid is reliable, says the president of a national coal trade organization. (Washington Examiner)

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