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)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Cleanie Awards — the #1 awards program in clean technology — is now accepting applications! Submit to win, or contact us with any questions. Applications close July 30.***

• 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 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) 

• 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) 

• 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)

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)

• 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)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today for Veterans Advanced Energy Week, August 10-13, a virtual learning experience dedicated to military veterans and spouses in advanced  energy and national security. Learn more at www.vetsenergyproject.org/. ***

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

• 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.”

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.