NOTE TO READERS: Southeast Energy News is taking a break for the holidays beginning tomorrow. The email digest will return on Tuesday, January 3.

• Moving to defend his environmental legacy, President Obama permanently withdraws millions of acres of federally-owned land from New England to Virginia in the Atlantic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas drilling. (Virginian-Pilot)
Environmentalists and coastal businesses are fuming over the exclusion of the Atlantic coastline along the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida from the permanent drilling ban imposed by President Obama. (Southeast Energy News)
• Industry groups are counting on President-elect Trump to reverse Obama’s ban on drilling of the Atlantic Coast. (Virginian-Pilot)

• A new law alters how coal ash will be regulated with more oversight afforded to states. (Southeast Energy News)
• A lawsuit accuses Dominion Virginia Power of working to maintain a golf course built on coal ash so it doesn’t have to clean it up. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

• A new report from the independent monitor of the Kemper “clean coal” power plant under construction in Mississippi says it narrowly avoided a serious accident in October. (
• Republicans in Congress prepare to scrap the “steam protection” rule. (Bloomberg BNA)
• An elk herd returns to a former coal mining region in West Virginia for the first time in 141 years. (Associated Press)
• A West Virginia town takes a field-of-dreams approach to diversify away from coal. (

• Georgia regulators conclude most of the $2 billion in additional costs to build two near reactors are “reasonable and prudent” and can be recovered through higher rates. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• The Department of Energy releases a blueprint for finding a permanent storage site for radioactive waste from power plants and other sources. (Aiken Standard)
• A legal dispute over mining uranium in Virginia for commercial nuclear fuel focuses on how safe and profitable it can be. (

PIPELINES: Protests and comments are stacking up against how federal regulators have assessed the environmental impact of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia. (Roanoke Times)

NATURAL GAS: A large gas-fired power plant proposed by a private developer is one step closer to being built in Virginia. (Virginian-Pilot)

• Georgia’s Dept. of Transportation spotlights the potential of drive-over solar panels to help power street lights and road signals. (WRBL)
• The planning commission in a Virginia county near the Chesapeake Bay recommends approval of what would be the second large solar farm there. (Delmarva Now)

VW EMISSIONS SCANDAL: Volkswagen agrees to recall an additional 83,000 vehicles – those with 3-liter diesel engines – and pay $250 million to partially settle claims. (The Hill)

TRANSPORTATION: After ranking near the bottom in per capita spending on mass transportation, a successful referendum in Atlanta could signal the city’s move to stop underfunding it. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Georgia Power’s special nighttime charging rate is among utility strategies to push adoption of electric cars. (Wall Street Journal)

RENEWABLES: A group of public utilities in Kentucky moves to add wind and solar power to their supply choices. (State Journal)

• One way to measure President-elect Trump? See what he does for West Virginia. (Washington Post)
• Kentuckians need to stop state plans to weaken coal ash disclosure rules. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• Consumers in Florida need to press lawmakers harder to develop more solar-friendly policies. (Gainesville Sun)
• A new law in West Virginia pins costs of planning and building gas pipelines on utility ratepayers. (

Jim Pierobon

Jim Pierobon, a policy, marketing and social media strategist, was a founding contributor to Southeast Energy News. He passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer in 2018.

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