COAL: A new report says coal companies are being undercharged to mine on federal lands, to the tune of $1 billion per year. (U.S. News and World Report)

• West Virginia reaches an agreement with Patriot Coal that will set aside about $50 million for the coal company’s environmental cleanup responsibilities. (The Wall Street Journal)
• Patriot Coal says it is laying off about 1,000 coal miners in West Virginia. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Advocates say a South Dakota utility overcharged customers for expenses related to a coal plant outage they say could have been prevented. (Associated Press) 

• Utah regulators hear arguments about the value of solar. (Deseret News)
• Some developers in Minnesota claim the state’s largest utility is violating previous agreements by taking too long to approve or deny community solar projects. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Colorado co-op is the latest to introduce a new fixed charge aimed at customers with rooftop solar. (Denver Business Journal)

• California Gov. Jerry Brown will sign into law today a bill raising the state’s renewable energy standard to 50 percent. (Contra Costa Times)
• A Texas city announces plans to get 70 percent of the its electricity from renewable sources. (Texas Tribune)
• More than 100 renewable energy projects have been approved for production tax credits in Iowa but aren’t operating, forcing other developers to wait in line. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A U.S. senator from Oklahoma introduces a bill that would remove the production tax credit from the federal tax code. (The Oklahoman)

FERC: Philip Moeller announces he will step down from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the end of this month. (The Hill)

• The U.S. Senate is probing whether $50 million in tax subsidies may have gone to VW owners under false pretenses. (Associated Press)
• VW said it will recall affected diesel-powered vehicles beginning in January with hopes of retrofitting them by year-end 2016. (Associated Press)

KEYSTONE XL: The “prospect of losing” an eminent domain fight in state court led TransCanada to seek Keystone XL pipeline approval from Nebraska regulators, experts say. (Associated Press)

• Oil executives warn of a “dramatic” decline in U.S. production. (Reuters)
• More trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota are being rerouted through densely populated areas of Minneapolis, records show. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• An analysis suggests track failure could be blame for many oil train incidents. (Los Angeles Times)

EFFICIENCY: Some major universities are cutting their emissions and saving millions by switching from steam to hot water in their energy systems. (ClimateWire)

UTILITIES: Washington D.C.’s mayor reverses course and will now support a proposed Exelon/Pepco merger. (Washington Post)

GRID: A new study outlines a broad range of benefits from battery storage. (Greentech Media) 

COMMENTARY: Why are we more angry at VW than we were at BP? (Huffington Post)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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