U.S. Energy News

Senate votes to repeal coal pollution rule that protected streams

REGULATION: The Senate votes to reverse the Stream Protection Rule, which protected waterways from coal mining pollution, following a House vote for repeal on Wednesday. (New York Times)

COAL:
• An Arizona regulator calls an emergency meeting to look for ways to save a troubled coal-fired power plant and coal mine, which both provide jobs to the Navajo and Hopi people. (Arizona Republic)
• A deeper look at the “stream protection rule” and why Republicans wanted to kill it. (Vox)
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy sends letters to about 1,000 homeowners living near its coal ash pits in North Carolina, saying residents will have to waive their rights to sue the company over groundwater issues if they accept $5,000 “goodwill” payments. (Associated Press)

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POLLUTION: A trial over whether a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant illegally polluted the Cumberland River with coal ash comes to a close after four days, but a ruling is still pending. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• A House representative from Arizona submits a resolution to repeal the National Park Service’s authority to manage private drilling for oil and gas at 40 national parks. (Washington Post)
• Ohio Governor John Kasich is renewing an effort to increase the severance tax for oil and natural gas in state, drawing opposition from state lawmakers and fossil fuel industry leaders. (Midwest Energy News)

FRACKING: Texas-based Weatherford International says it’s selling its U.S. hydraulic fracturing business as part of a move to cut 3,000 jobs worldwide. (FuelFix)

PIPELINES:
• About 75 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are arrested for setting up camp on private property in North Dakota. (New York Times)
• Lawmakers say the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, while protesters double down on their pledge to fight the project. (Los Angeles Times)

POLITICS: Republican senators suspend committee rules in order to vote on EPA chief nominee Scott Pruitt after Democrats boycotted a vote. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Experts say Ohio residents could lose out on billions in electricity savings if the state’s electric generation market returns to monopoly power – a move that’s being pushed by FirstEnergy and American Electric Power. (Midwest Energy News)

CAP-AND-TRADE: Some environmentalists oppose California’s cap-and-trade program because it can lead to increased emissions in low-income neighborhoods. (KPCC)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Indiana lawmakers rework a bill that prohibits direct auto sales to allow Tesla to continue operating in the state. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Utah solar advocates unveil a 10-year solar deployment plan for the state, which recommends the removal of multiple roadblocks. (Deseret News Utah)
• Storing solar energy in a battery pack harms the environment more than drawing power from the grid, because charging and discharging the batteries consumes too much power, according to a new study. (Houston Chronicle)
Solar policy actions spiked last year, with a total of 212 actions taken across 47 states and Washington, D.C., according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• Massachusetts officials announce a new program for subsidizing solar projects, which is expected to cut installation expenses from $500 million to $250 million. (Utility Dive)
• After a process of fine-tuning, the world’s biggest solar-thermal power plant in California is producing enough electricity to meet its contractual obligations. (Bloomberg)
• For some Michigan farmers interested in generating solar energy on their property, they may have to choose between keeping tax incentives for preserving farmland or leasing their property to developers. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A powerful North Carolina Republican appears to be softening his stance on the region’s first major wind farm, saying the project “takes advantage of a valuable natural resource.” (Southeast Energy News)

BIOMASS: A group of energy developers is trying to transform Maine’s obsolete biomass plants and troubled paper mills into bioenergy parks, where trees are used to make electricity, fuel and more. (Portland Press Herald)

TECHNOLOGY: Industry experts identify eight key areas of electricity innovation to keep an eye on in 2017. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY: A U.S. representative from Ohio defends overturning the Stream Protection Rule, saying the state’s coal jobs must be protected. (Marietta Times)

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