METHANE: Researchers outfitted with a Google Street View mapping car and real-time air monitoring equipment have identified nearly 250 methane leaks from natural gas lines under Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

COAL: Duke Energy pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal charges for discharging coal ash  at five North Carolina power plants and agreed to pay $102 million in fines and restitution. (The New York Times

GRID: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted Thursday to formally propose standards for utilities to protect the grid from disturbances caused by solar storms. (The Hill)

• President Obama called U.S. oil production an “important” source of energy as America transitions towards cleaner resources, defending his move to allow Shell to drill in the Alaskan Arctic. (Agence France Presse)
• Shell’s 400-foot-long offshore oil drilling rig arrived in Seattle Thursday afternoon, despite environmentalists’ protests and the city’s opposition to letting it dock. (KING & Associated Press)

Seven environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging federal safety rules issued this month for trains carrying oil, arguing the regulations are too weak to protect the public. (Reuters)
Washington state’s governor signed into law Thursday safety measures prompted by a sharp increase in trains carrying crude oil across the state. (Associated Press)

WATER: California’s oil-and-gas agency missed its deadline for reporting on the use of water by oil producers in the state, saying the large volume of information required could not be processed in time. (Los Angeles Times)

SOLAR: New Mexico regulators on Wednesday rejected a proposal by the state’s largest electric utility to charge more for new solar customers to connect to the grid. (Associated Press)

HYDRO: Representatives of a Manitoba tribe registered opposition this week to proposed legislation in Minnesota that would allow utilities to count new hydropower projects toward meeting renewable energy goals. (Midwest Energy News)

SHAREHOLDERS: On May 20, shareholders of the holding company that owns Arizona’s largest utility will vote on whether Pinnacle West Capital must disclose contributions to nonprofit advocacy groups. (Bloomberg)

ETHANOL: Privately held retailers Kum & Go and Sheetz are the first significant chain to announce plans to start selling E15, a gasoline that is 15 percent ethanol—50 percent more than the typical U.S. blend. (Reuters)

DIVESTMENT: University of Washington regents voted Thursday to prohibit direct investment of endowment funds in publicly traded companies whose principal business is coal mining. (UW Today)

ARIZONA: Arizona hit the brakes on its energy-efficient license plate program, which allows motorists to use HOV lanes in exchange for showcasing their environmental concern, after the program reached its cap of 10,000. (The Arizona Republic)

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