Southeast Energy News

Oil and gas industry braces for loss of federal subsidies

OIL & GAS: Already reeling from low oil prices and the pandemic economy, Louisiana’s oil and gas producers brace for a reduction in federal subsidies as investment is redirected toward clean energy. (The Advocate)

ALSO:
• Marathon Petroleum applies to renew a 10-year state air permit for a large oil refinery in west Texas; the public comment period ends Monday. (El Paso Times)
• An Oklahoma family struggles to get a gas leak repaired because the local gas utility won’t enter their home due to a possible COVID-19 exposure. (KTUL)

***SPONSORED LINK: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is offering a virtual clean energy continuing legal education (CLE) course on Feb. 2, with a specific focus on the Southeast region. Register today! ***

CLIMATE: President Joe Biden’s executive orders on climate change prompt response from industry groups and elected officials in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia — much but not all of it split along partisan lines. (Bloomberg, Houma Today, WINK, KTBS, Texas Tribune, WV Metro News)

TRANSITION: President Biden’s nominee for energy secretary tells senators that the administration will provide support for workers in coal and gas states like West Virginia to transition to new careers while staying in their communities. (Bloomberg Government)

COAL:
• President Biden’s 60-day freeze on leasing federal land for oil and gas leaves out coal — possibly because of ongoing litigation — but administration officials say it will be part of a broad review of fossil-fuel leasing. (Bloomberg)
• Virginia lawmakers advance legislation to roll back coal mine tax credits, which represent one of the state’s largest business incentives, but which an oversight commission found are ineffective. (Roanoke Times)

SOLAR:
• A record number of North Carolinians installed solar energy systems in their homes last year, fueled by low interest rates, new interest in sustainability and a Duke Energy rebate program. (Charlotte Agenda/Axios Charlotte)
• A university near Virginia’s capital city becomes the first in the Southeast and second nationally to source its electricity entirely from solar. (WRIC)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY:
• A new report on energy efficiency ranks the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has cut many of its rebate and loan programs over the last decade, near the bottom among Southeast electric utilities. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• Jacksonville, Florida’s city-owned electric utility’s energy efficiency ranks above the state and regional averages, but still compares poorly when measured against its national counterparts, according to a report. (WJCT)
• A Florida city considers switching its street lamps to LED bulbs from Duke Energy to dissuade vandals who have discovered they can knock out its existing decorative lights by shaking poles. (Villages News)

OVERSIGHT:
• A report Louisiana’s auditor recommends that state environmental regulators identify industrial polluters more quickly and enforce pollution rules more aggressively, after finding the agency’s time responding to violations doubled from 2015 to 2019. (The Advocate)
• A Florida lawmaker files a bill to restrict local governments from passing ordinances or regulations that might hamper energy development. (Florida Politics)

UTILITIES: Virginia lawmakers kill a bill that would have required utilities to return excess profits to customers. (Virginia Mercury)

COMMENTARY: A western Virginia newspaper editorial calls for state lawmakers to replace money going into coal tax credits with funding for higher education and other programs to aid in energy and economic transition in the coalfields. (Roanoke Times)

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