U.S. Energy News

Scott Pruitt shifts blame to EPA staff during House hearings

EPA: Five takeaways from Congressional hearings with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who told lawmakers his staff was responsible for reported ethical scandals and he had “nothing to hide.” (The Hill, New York Times)

ALSO:
Nine states, the District of Columbia and a handful of cities accuse Scott Pruitt of violating impartiality requirements by failing to recuse himself from the process of repealing the Clean Power Plan. (Huffington Post)
The EPA removed a webpage that listed climate change, clean air and clean water among its international priorities. (The Hill)

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SOLAR:
• Commercial solar may be 78 percent third-party owned by 2021, compared to 53 percent today, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• First Solar will build a $400 million manufacturing facility in northwestern Ohio that will open next year and create 500 jobs. (Toledo Blade)
• A Minnesota nonprofit will use a $150,000 federal grant to study potential synergies between distributed solar and electric vehicle charging stations. (Midwest Energy News)

STORAGE: A municipal utility in Springfield, Missouri, will integrate battery storage at a substation to reduce wear and tear and extend the life of the facility. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
In an earnings call, NextEra’s CEO calls offshore wind a “terrible energy policy.” (Utility Dive)
Turbine-maker Siemens Gamesa plans to rehire more than 100 workers at an Iowa plant to meet demands for a proposed Kansas wind farm. (Associated Press)

HYDRO: Dams in the Northeast will be part of a $2.4 million Department of Energy effort to improve fish passage technologies. (HydroWorld)

RENEWABLES: New York’s second round of renewable energy proposals could drive $1.5 billion in new projects. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: New York City plans to electrify its entire bus fleet by 2040. (InsideClimate News)

NUCLEAR: FirstEnergy files paperwork with federal regulators to deactivate one nuclear plant in Pennsylvania and two others in Ohio. (Seeking Alpha)

POLLUTION: Pittsburgh’s worsening air quality could prevent it from growing into a global innovation hub. (U.S. News & World Report)

FRACKING: Fracking could threaten a songbird that feeds on tiny invertebrates in streams, according to a new study conducted near drilling sites in West Virginia. (The Allegheny Front)

OIL & GAS: U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips files a lawsuit to enforce a $2 billion award from Venezuela after the country expropriated the company’s assets in 2007 following the nationalization of its oil industry. (Reuters)

NATURAL GAS: Many West Virginians worry the state won’t share in the natural gas industry’s wealth and will bear long-term environmental, infrastructure and health costs like it did with coal. (ProPublica)

COAL:
Arch Coal says it will decrease production at a Wyoming mine by about 10 million tons, citing a weak market. (Associated Press)
Virginia’s Hampton Roads region exports more coal than any other port in America, shipping 10 million tons in the first quarter of 2018. (Virginian-Pilot)

GRID: A new study from ISO New England says a cold snap in January pushed the region’s power grid to its limits. (The Hour)

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EFFICIENCY: Virginia energy efficiency programs will get more than $1 billion in funding over the next decade, but advocates worry utilities and regulators won’t spend it effectively. (Southeast Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• Actor and environmental activist Robert Redford says President Trump should fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for working on behalf of the fossil-fuel industry, not the American people. (Washington Post)
Scott Pruitt’s proposal to limit the use of “secret science” at the EPA is just another attempt “to weaken the agency’s ability to regulate industry,” says the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
• A retired lieutenant general says the military has a proven system for assessing energy development, so wind energy and military operations can coexist. (Southeast Energy News)
A potential “carbon fee” ballot measure in Washington state must overcome opposition from anti-tax groups and opponents in the energy industry, say former board members of Carbon Washington. (Seattle Times)

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