U.S. Energy News

Study links EPA enforcement slowdown with COVID deaths

POLLUTION: A new study suggests the EPA’s freeze of pollution enforcement led to an increase in COVID-19 deaths. (E&E News)

ALSO: Congressional Democrats weigh their options for undoing the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks. (E&E News)

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CLIMATE:
• A federal judge rejects the Trump administration’s challenge to California’s cap-and-trade program. (Sacramento Bee)
• Oil companies push to have a climate lawsuit raised by the District of Columbia moved to federal court. (E&E News, subscription)
• A coalition of oil and gas companies announce a plan to reduce the “carbon intensity” of their operations. (E&E News)
• A UN study finds improving the efficiency of air conditioners will be critical to meeting climate goals. (Associated Press)
• New York’s landmark climate law is a year old, and advocates say there have been some successes in its environmental justice provisions that need to be continued. (Grist) 

TRANSPORTATION: Experts warn that a decline in mass transit use could jeopardize climate mitigation efforts; meanwhile a new study suggests driving may not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in the U.S. (InsideClimate News, Axios)

OIL & GAS:
• Oil and gas projects in Oklahoma could face major hurdles due to a landmark Supreme Court decision declaring about half of the state Native American land. (Washington Post)
• A union-commissioned survey suggests that oil and gas construction workers are increasingly worried about being left behind in the clean energy transition. (Houston Chronicle) 

PIPELINES:
• The oil and gas industry expected a pipeline boom, but legal challenges from environmental groups have caused companies to back off major projects. (Houston Chronicle)
• Dark money groups spent $517,000 to oppose two candidates in the Pennsylvania legislature’s June primary from the Philadelphia suburbs who are opposed to the Mariner East pipeline. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
• Michigan officials want Enbridge to provide assurances that it would cover the cost of a potential oil spill from Line 5. (MLive) 

COAL:
• Some Appalachian coal towns transitioning to outdoor recreation economies are faring better than expected during the pandemic. (NPR)
• Colorado’s newest coal plant was supposed to retire in 2070, but now it appears unlikely to survive beyond 2030. (Big Pivots/Vail Daily)

UTILITIES:
Chicago-based ComEd is expected to pay a $200 million fine after bribery charges involving lobbying activity with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. (Chicago Sun-Times)
• California utility PG&E is reportedly making significant efforts to improve safety as the next wildfire season nears. (New York Times)

SOLAR:
• Minnesota solar installers say connecting projects to Xcel Energy’s grid is frustratingly slow despite new state interconnection standards. (Energy News Network)
• New York regulators approve an overhaul of net metering for residential solar systems but delay its implementation until 2022 due to COVID-19. (Utility Dive)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Established brands like Volvo and Volkswagen are following Tesla’s model of bypassing dealerships to sell electric cars. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY:
• An analyst warns that the legal tactics used to defeat pipelines could stop clean energy projects as well. (New York Times)
A Los Angeles Times editorial says “the world cannot afford to backslide on environmental protections.”

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