POLICY: North Carolina’s down-ballot races for lieutenant governor and the state legislature could shape the future of climate and clean energy policy in the state. (Energy News Network) 

• Energy firms evacuate workers from offshore rigs as the Gulf Coast readies for Hurricane Zeta. (Reuters)
• President Donald Trump considers ordering an economic analysis of hydraulic fracturing to spotlight the issue in key battleground states. (Wall Street Journal)

PIPELINES: Environmental groups ask an appeals court to formally review the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s opinion that the Mountain Valley Pipeline will not significantly affect endangered species. (Roanoke Times)

• A Texas county designates a reinvestment zone that opens the door for a possible tax abatement on a proposed $200 million, 200 MW solar farm. (Austin American-Statesman)
• A Texas regulator approves tax incentives for a 200 MW solar farm near Houston. (Houston Business Journal)
• A southern Virginia city completes a 14 MW solar project, its largest to date. (Virginia Business)

• NextEra, the world’s largest solar and wind power generator, ramps up investment as it overtakes ExxonMobil in market value and becomes the world’s most valuable energy company. (Economist, The Hustle)
• The possible sale of South Carolina’s state-owned Santee Cooper utility emerges as an issue in a down-ballot state house race. (Post and Courier)
• The decline in electricity use will likely continue even after the coronavirus pandemic ends, according to a Columbia University study. (Houston Chronicle)

GRID: Appalachian Power will build and relocate four miles of electric transmission lines in southern West Virginia to make them more accessible and reduce the potential for landslides. (WSAZ)

COAL: The Trump administration finalizes a coal industry-backed rule that changes the timeline for how states respond to reports of mining violations. (Bloomberg Law)

• Natural gas producers have only a brief window to reduce their carbon emissions or risk being replaced by solar and wind power, say two energy lawyers. (Houston Chronicle)
• Texas lawmakers must use “smart, market-based regulations” to guide the state’s oil and gas industry as renewables continue to grow, writes an editorial board. (Dallas Morning News)
• Duke Energy’s decision to burn 6 million tons of coal ash threatens the health of nearby residents and calls into question the utility’s dedication to environmental justice, writes an environmental advocacy group. (Appalachian Voices)

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.