OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Obama administration releases – and Louisiana Republicans protest – new safety rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly 2010 BP Gulf oil platform explosion and resulting spill. (New York Times / New Orleans Times-Picayune)

• An independent safety board calls for regulators to verify offshore drillers are complying with safety rules. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• A coalition of marine biologists implores President Obama to block seismic testing saying air-gun blasts threaten the extinction of rare whales. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

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NUCLEAR: A former senior manager at the TVA swapped information with a top nuclear company in China in exchange for cash, according to unsealed court records in an espionage case. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

• Coal mining is becoming a “zombie” industry, and its problems are becoming the public’s problems. (Slate)
• A river that flows from Virginia into eastern Kentucky known for attracting tourists faces growing pollution from mountaintop mining, advocacy groups say. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Tennessee’s coal communities make plans for federal assistance they hope is coming their way. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
• Louisiana re-issues a permit for a controversial coal export terminal. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

TECHNOLOGY: Business leaders in North Carolina are talking about how best to focus investor interest in clean energy and efficiency opportunities. (Charlotte Business Journal)

• A Florida Republican Congressman in a heated election battle says he’s “sick and tired” of his party’s denial of climate change and wants now to focus on solutions. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Environmental leaders in Florida urge the state’s Attorney General to stop playing politics and instead help prepare Florida for climate change’s impacts. (Creative Loafing)

WIND: The Obama administration moves to auction offshore wind leases along the North Carolina coast with a date to be determined. (ReNews)

COAL ASH: North Carolina moves to require “environmental justice” reviews of any landfills the state issues new permits for. (North Carolina Health News)

Georgia regulators approve Southern Company’s acquisition of AGL Resources. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• The Tennessee House moves toward authorizing Johnson City to create a separate authority for its utility systems. (Johnson City Press)
Duke Energy has donated $1.6 million thus far to help the Dan River region recover from the utility’s massive 2014 coal ash spill. (Charlotte Business Journal)

SOLAR: The U.S. Army and Alabama Power break ground on a large solar project set for completion by September. (The Anniston Star)

STORAGE: Berry College in Georgia focuses on storing solar-generated power in its bid to be carbon neutral by 2050. (Rome News-Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: An updated “Green Gauge” program by the Western North Carolina Green Building Council evaluates how “green” a home actually is. (Mountain Xpress)

HYDROPOWER: Duke Energy defends a plant on a river labeled this week as a one of the most endangered in the country. (Richmond County Daily Journal)

ALTERNATIVE FUELS: A Miami-based company unveils a large compressed natural gas fueling station in Orlando. (Orlando Business Journal)

OIL & GAS: Louisiana moves to deal with abandoned oil and natural gas wells. (Houma Today)

WEST VIRGINIA: Until elected officials and energy leaders accept that coal is not coming back, the path forward for the Mountain State remains cloudy. (SNL)

PIPELINES: The U.S. Forest Service grants surveyors for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline access to the George Washington National Forest. (The News Virginia)

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• Leaders of the utility-backed solar amendment on Florida’s November ballot paint it as protection for consumers who don’t go solar. (Florida Politics)
• The deaths of so many coal miners in West Virginia should do more than raise concerns about their safety. (Religion Dispatches)
• The president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce challenges the progress and benefits of renewable sources of energy. (Daytona Times)

CORRECTION: An item in yesterday’s digest misstated the estimated cost of a planned Duke Energy nuclear plant. The correct estimate is $10 billion.

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