U.S. Energy News

One-third of EPA appointees worked for companies it regulates

EPA:
• About a third of EPA appointees tracked by the Associated Press previously worked for companies in industries regulated by the agency. (The Hill)
• The EPA’s new environmental justice adviser is vice president of a company involved in an ongoing nuclear contamination scandal. (New Republic)

REGULATION: House lawmakers vote to weaken air pollution standards for power plants that burn coal refuse, which are mainly in Pennsylvania. (The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: Why register for the CERTs Conference? “The CERTs Conference is a powerful forum for any person or organization that wants to participate in both the state and local energy dialogue.” – Yusef Orest, Arrowhead Electric Coop. Registration ends Mon. Mar 19!***

POLITICS: Energy Secretary Rick Perry tells conference-goers the global shift away from fossil fuels is “immoral.” (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• New Mexico’s governor declines to sign a bill that would have restored a tax credit aimed at offsetting costs for solar customers. (Associated Press)
• Rooftop solar installers are already feeling the effects of a new 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. (NBC)
• The latest report from Texas’s grid operator shows that solar energy will be the largest source of new generation capacity in coming months and will help meet predicted record summer demand for electricity. (PV Magazine)
• Shuttered coal plant sites can be repurposed for solar arrays, but only a few forward-looking utilities are exploring the possibility. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUELS: Two Democratic lawmakers introduce a bill to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard by boosting so-called second-generation biofuels made from feedstock like waste products and woody crops. (The Hill)

GRID:
• A FERC commissioner says the rapid adoption of renewable energy in states like California and New York will increase the risk of power outages and pose “a very big challenge.” (Houston Chronicle)
• Local energy experts say they are being excluded from planning Puerto Rico’s new energy system after Hurricane Maria. (Greentech Media)

COAL:
• Utah lawmakers include $1.65 million in the state budget to sue California over new rules that will phase out coal there. (Associated Press)
• A deeper look at why the Trump administration wants to develop small-scale coal plants to counter the intermittency of solar and wind on the grid. (Greentech Media)

PIPELINES:
• A proposed gas pipeline that would cross under the Klamath River in Oregon is poised to become the next Standing Rock. (New York Times)
• The South is set to become one of the biggest benefactors of America’s natural gas boom, but it will have to build increasingly controversial pipelines. (U.S. News)
• Pipeline developers are concerned about “more sophisticated” and “vocal” protests against their projects. (E&E News)

OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration’s pro-fossil fuel policies could be discouraging oil and gas executives from adopting shareholder resolutions that would require companies to assess their climate change risks. (InsideClimate News)
• Economists tell energy industry executives gathered in Houston this week that President Trump’s “boneheaded” tariffs on the steel and aluminum will cost the oil and gas industry jobs. (Houston Chronicle)
• The Trump administration’s plan to lease public lands in the Southwest to oil and gas developers will threaten countless archaeological sites. (Reveal)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Hundreds of religious leaders send a letter asking the Trump administration not to expand offshore drilling in public waters. (The Hill)

TECHNOLOGY: MIT researchers say long-elusive nuclear fusion technology could be operational in 15 years. (The Guardian)

CLIMATE:
• A lawsuit launched by San Francisco and Oakland against a group of prominent oil and gas companies will result in the first-ever U.S. court hearing on the science of climate change. (McClatchy)
• At an energy conference in Houston, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden says climate change is the biggest issue facing the industry. (Houston Chronicle)
• A climate denier was assigned to revise federal agency webpages and policies, including the deletion of almost all references to climate change. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY:
• Putting a price on carbon could slow climate change by helping uneconomical nuclear plants compete, says an associate professor at Duke University. (Huffington Post)
• Wind turbines keep getting bigger, and that’s a good thing, writes David Roberts. (Vox)

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