NOTE TO READERS: The Energy News Network will be taking a two-week break for the holidays. Southeast Energy News will return on Monday, January 4. Thank you for your support this year!

OVERSIGHT: President-elect Joe Biden names North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to lead the EPA; Regan would be the first Black man to lead the agency. (New York Times)

• Federal regulators approve the resumption of construction for 17 miles of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s route between two sections of national forest. (Roanoke TImes)
• Virginia Natural Gas proposes building 10 miles of gas pipeline and a compressor station in northern Virginia. (Prince William Times) 

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• Mississippi regulators order Mississippi Power to reduce its generation capacity 950 MW by 2027, which could lead to the closure of coal-fired plants. (Northside Sun)
• Florida regulators approve lower rates for Duke Energy customers. (Tampa Bay Times)
• The new CEO of Jacksonville, Florida’s municipal electric utility spurns privatization, which had been pursued by his predecessor. (WTLV)

• A new study finds more than 80% of Texans believe in climate change, and that most support policies to reduce carbon emissions. (E&E News, subscription)
• Advocates and policymakers say accessibility and economic challenges prevent meaningful conversations about climate change in West Virginia. (WBOY)
• A new report for the Environmental Defense Fund says rising sea levels and other effects of climate change will cost North Carolina billions of dollars over the next 30 years. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)

• A South Carolina electric cooperative launches a community “solar garden,” in which members may lease blocks of solar panels in return for a credit on their electric bill. (WCBD)
• A west Texas city begins drawing power from a newly operational solar farm. (Kerrville Daily Times)
• A newly published handbook provides guidelines for southwestern Virginia localities to develop large-scale solar energy projects. (Solar Power World)

COAL: West Virginia regulators approve a settlement that stops a plan to spend roughly $250 million to refurbish two coal-fired power plants. (news release, Earthjustice)

COAL ASH: A Kentucky company agrees not to dump coal ash in a North Carolina clay mine, according to a settlement reached with North Carolina regulators and environmental groups. (N.C. Policy Watch)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: An electric taxi company launches a microtransit pilot program in an Austin, Texas suburb. (Austin American-Statesman)

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• Acciona’s total U.S. wind capacity is set to exceed 1,000 MW as a 198 MW wind farm begins operations in Texas. (Renews)
• A wind energy developer submits a site plan for a western Virginia wind farm showing 15 turbines, each standing more than 600 feet tall. (Roanoke Times)

COMMENTARY: North Carolina regulators’ approval of a Duke Energy pilot program for electric vehicles is a positive though relatively small step toward the state’s climate goals, writes a clean vehicles advocate. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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.