U.S. Energy News

Senate confirms former Exxon CEO as secretary of state

POLITICS: Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is confirmed as secretary of state, receiving a historic number of votes against him. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• The Senate postpones a committee vote on EPA chief nominee Scott Pruitt after Democratic members boycott the meeting, saying Pruitt denies “the urgency to act on climate change.” (Reuters)
• President Obama’s former EPA chief says the Trump administration’s actions “are extremely disappointing.” (The Hill)

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POLICY: The House passes a resolution to scrap a transparency rule requiring fossil fuel companies to release more information about business payments made to foreign governments. (Washington Post)

REGULATION: The Senate is expected to vote today on whether to repeal a federal stream protection rule. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE: A trial for a climate change activist charged with shutting down an oil pipeline in Washington ends in a hung jury. (Seattle Times)

SOLAR:
• The Department of Energy earmarks up to $30 million for 13 solar projects as part of its SunShot Initiative. (Utility Dive)
• Two bills in Minnesota would prohibit state regulators from overseeing fixed charges paid to small utilities and cooperatives – a move that some are calling “a war on solar” in the state. (Midwest Energy News)
• A solar company in New Mexico receives a $37 million contract to build a solar installation for Facebook. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Tesla drops the word “motors” from its name, signifying its transition to an energy company. (Quartz)
• With Minnesota’s solar programs under threat, a new report says the state’s wind and solar supply chain industry is good for jobs and economic growth. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Honda and General Motors will collaborate to assemble hydrogen fuel cells for use in their vehicles, but the infrastructure for refueling hydrogen cars is still lacking. (Christian Science Monitor)
• Government officials from California and Quebec unveil an electric school bus that will  cost $300,000 and save 2,200 gallons of diesel fuel per year. (NBC)

EMISSIONS: Oregon’s Global Warming Commission says growing transportation emissions will probably cause the state to miss its 2020 emissions reduction goal. (Portland Business Journal)

PIPELINES:
• Protesters are calling for Seattle’s city council to terminate a contract with Wells Fargo for lending funds towards the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Seattle Times)
• The Army Corps of Engineers says it’s beginning to review an order by President Trump to approve an easement to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Reuters)
• A North Dakota senator says the acting secretary of the Army has ordered the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Arizona’s largest electric utility says its customers are saving about $2 million a month thanks to a program that lets the utility draw power from the most efficient, cost-effective power plants available on the grid. (Arizona Republic)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Environmental advocates worry that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could help kill the Clean Power Plan. (ThinkProgress)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators decide a nuclear power station in Massachusetts can remain open despite documented safety issues and reports of an “overwhelmed” staff, saying the facility will be under intense scrutiny. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• An analysis of what’s at stake if Congress kills the Interior Department’s methane rule. (High Country News)
• If President Trump scraps the Paris climate agreement, he will keep America from the biggest business opportunity in history, according to the director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. (Huffington Post)

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