COAL: After months of private negotiations, a North Carolina Republican lawmaker unveils a sweeping energy bill ahead of a hearing Thursday that would retire five Duke Energy coal plants but also require new gas-fired generation, drawing quick criticism from clean energy groups. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Witnesses tell a U.S. House subcommittee federal regulators need to do more to hold coal companies accountable for abandoned, unreclaimed mines in Appalachia through more stringent reclamation bonding requirements and enforcement. (Charleston Gazette-Mail; E&E News, subscription)
• Florida Power & Light prepares to implode the 495-foot chimney stack of its last coal-fired power plant today. (Associated Press)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority requests public input as it considers closing a Tennessee power plant with nine-coal fired units. (WATE)

SOLAR:
• Texas and Florida comprise the first and third fastest growing solar states as the U.S. surpasses 100 GW of installed capacity, despite a shortage of raw materials. (S&P Global; PV Magazine)
• A Virginia city council votes to approve a 900-acre solar farm to be operated by NextEra. (Virginian Pilot)

OIL & GAS:
• A federal judge in Louisiana blocks President Joe Biden’s freeze on oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters and allows the resumption of new drilling auctions. (Reuters)
• Oil companies’ interest in Royal Dutch Shell’s Permian Basin holdings could be a litmus test of whether the industry is willing to bet on shale’s profitability through the energy transition. (Reuters)
• Companies drilling wells for oil and natural gas exploration in Florida’s Apalachicola River basin come up short for the second time in three years. (WFSU)
• Federal regulators blame an offshore drilling company for trying to ride out a hurricane last year, risking workers’ safety and resulting in nearly $6 million in damage to equipment. (E&E News, subscription)

OVERSIGHT: North Carolina regulators recommend the state join a regional agreement to cap greenhouse gases emitted by power companies. (WRAL)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE:  Two groups release a Virginia map to identify hotspots where residents face disproportionate pollution and socioeconomic burdens. (Virginia Mercury)

GRID:
• Hot summer weather tests Texas’ deregulated power system just months after the February winter storm left more than two-thirds of the state’s households without electricity. (New York Times)
• A Texas lawmaker and the mayor of Austin criticize state leaders for not doing enough to reform its power grid after February’s energy crisis. (KSAT, KVEO)

COAL ASH: An investigative reporter warns of the danger from a large coal ash spill off Florida’s coast that’s only a mile from Atlantic Beach. (WJXT)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Two Texas counties partner with a regional compact to transition their government fleets to electric vehicles. (KVUE)
• Kentucky teachers receive training on building electric vehicles to take back to their classrooms. (WTVQ)

BIOFUELS: An Oklahoma renewable natural gas distributor looks to build demand among industrial and large business customers in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. (S&P Global)

CLIMATE: Rising temperatures and flooding affect home values and infrastructure in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

COMMENTARY:
• West Virginia lawmakers and policymakers have passed the buck on problems related to the state’s pending insolvency of its mine reclamation fund, writes an editorial board. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A lifestyle columnist wonders why Georgia ranks so high among states for the number and length of electric outages. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• A Florida dairy farmer is excited for the potential to capture energy from manure after state lawmakers passed a law allowing utilities to pursue renewable natural gas projects. (Gainesville Sun)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.