U.S. Energy News

Oil execs boasted of ‘unprecedented access’ to Trump officials

OIL & GAS: A June 2017 recording reveals oil industry executives laughing at the “unprecedented access” they have to Trump administration officials. (Reveal)

ALSO:
• Since the Paris agreement, large oil and gas companies have invested $110 billion in fossil fuels — more than 10 times their investments in low-carbon technologies, according to a new report. (CBS News)
• A petrochemical plant fire is just the beginning of problems for Texas’ energy hub, which likely faces increased legal and regulatory scrutiny. (E&E News, subscription)
• The consulting firm responsible for monitoring air quality after the Texas fire incorrectly handled data or downplayed the risks of toxic chemicals after Hurricane Katrina and a Tennessee coal ash spill. (Grist)

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RENEWABLES:
Locally generated wind and solar could replace nearly all U.S. coal plants by 2025 for less than the cost of operating those plants, according to a new analysis by clean energy research groups. (Energy News Network)
New Mexico’s governor signs a landmark energy bill that drastically increases renewable energy while phasing out coal. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Virginia schools lead the nation in installing solar projects and using the technology to educate students. (Washington Post)
A solar siting bill in Rhode Island is endorsed by environmental and energy nonprofits, but it’s unlikely to stop NIMBY battles in the state. (PV Magazine)

MICROGRIDS: Newly empowered Democrats in Maine are trying to revive a microgrid bill that was vetoed last year. (Energy News Network)

EFFICIENCY: A small Iowa community uses energy benchmarking to help meet clean energy goals as state lawmakers and utilities retreat from efficiency investments. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
General Motors plans to invest $300 million to build a new electric vehicle at a Michigan factory. (Detroit Free Press)
Vermont regulators recommend that utilities offer a pathway for immediate relief from demand charges on public EV charging stations. (Utility Dive)

PIPELINES: A Texas family agrees to let pipeline developers build on their land but tries to stop them from cutting down a historic oak tree in the pipeline’s path. (Victoria Advocate)

NUCLEAR: The operator of two Minnesota nuclear plants says it is prepared to handle potential flooding. (Minnesota Public Radio)

EMISSIONS: Wisconsin is the latest state to withdraw from a lawsuit challenging Obama administration regulations on mercury and other hazardous pollutants from power plants. (E&E News, subscription)

COAL:
• A Navajo-owned energy company drops its bid to buy one of the biggest coal plants in the West, putting the Arizona facility on a path to close by the end of the year. (Associated Press)
• A Colorado lawmaker pushes legislation that might help retire coal plants early while softening the economic blow to the communities that depend on the facilities. (Greentech Media)

COAL ASH: North Carolina researchers look into possible links between thyroid cancer clusters and a coal ash facility in Iredell County. (Charlotte Observer)

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CLIMATE: U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is among a small group of influential Republicans looking for market-based approaches to climate change. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY:
• Building more homes near transit and jobs means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, says a state senator and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. (New York Times)
• Two petrochemical plant fires in Texas are a reminder that as the oil and gas industry grows, so does the risk, an editorial board says. (Dallas Morning News)

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