OVERSIGHT: During his Senate confirmation hearing, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency builds on his North Carolina reputation as a consensus builder by pledging collaboration with states and more urgency in addressing climate change. (Reuters, Washington Post)

ALSO: EPA nominee Michael Regan’s negotiation of clean-up requirements after Duke Energy’s 2014 coal-ash spill in North Carolina may provide a template for federal regulations, say environmentalists. (E&E News, subscription)

SOLAR:
• An Arkansas regulator tells state lawmakers that Arkansas is well-positioned to become a national leader in solar power but warns that necessary policy changes to make the transition will be opposed by more traditional energy suppliers. (Talk Business & Politics)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority approves a new rate structure that allows companies that buy power from it to charge additional fees for customers using solar, triggering criticism from clean-energy advocates. (PV Magazine)
• A South Carolina manufacturer announces the installation of a 625 KW solar project that will offset its energy usage by more than half. (news release)

WIND: A lawsuit alleges that Virginia regulators and Apex Clean Energy cut procedural corners in their hurry to fast-track approval for a proposed wind farm in the state’s western mountains. (Roanoke Times)

OIL & GAS:
• Oklahoma-based shale oil and gas producer Chesapeake Energy cuts 15% of its workforce as it prepares to emerge from bankruptcy. (Reuters)
• An oil company applies for permits to drill in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, drawing protests from environmental groups. (National Parks Traveler, Center for Biological Diversity news release)
• After a 10-year truce, neighbors near a Texas gas well site complain that an oil and gas company has resumed sending large trucks down their residential road instead of using an agreed-upon alternative route. (Fort Worth Weekly)

UTILITIES:
• An electric utility in Memphis, Tennessee, sorts through political complications and regulatory uncertainty as it explores breaking away from the Tennessee Valley Authority. (The Commercial Appeal)
• After Entergy stopped payment to a Black-owned radio station over its coverage of a proposed natural gas-fired power plant, the utility becomes part of a citywide discussion in New Orleans over the failure of businesses to support Black- and Latina-owned media outlets. (NOLA.com)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority and state regulators will partner to install electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and major roads. (Knoxville News-Sentinel)
• A new study shows North Carolina is making progress on electric vehicle adoption but needs policy changes to make them more accessible for people in low-income and environmentally distressed areas. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Virginia lawmakers who want to create more incentives for motorists to switch to electric vehicles struggle to find funding in a state budget constrained by the pandemic. (Virginia Mercury)

COAL: Federal lawmakers introduce legislation to direct the Labor Department to devise and implement COVID-19 protections for miners. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

STORAGE: A Texas company proposes building a battery storage facility in southern Virginia to house excess energy from a nearby Dominion Energy substation. (Southside Sentinel)

POLITICS:
• A West Virginia congresswoman says she will use her recent appointment to the U.S. House Ways and Means committee to advocate for the state’s coal industry. (WSAZ)
• A Louisiana U.S. Senator takes exception to President Biden’s description of the industrial corridor between New Orleans and Baton Route as “Cancer Alley” during a speech when signing executive orders on climate change last month. (NOLA.com)

COMMENTARY: A Florida state lawmaker calls for opposition to offshore drilling and an emphasis on clean-energy jobs to combat climate change. (Sun Port Charlotte)

Mason Adams

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.