COAL: Tennessee prepares to take over regulation and permitting of coal mining after 37 years of the federal government handling the process, a shift supporters say will open new investments but opponents counter will cost $1 million annually to prop up a “collapsing” industry. (Tennessee Lookout)

ALSO:
• A producer of high-quality coke for blast furnace steel production announces it will invest $50 million in its southwestern Virginia manufacturing operation. (Virginia Business)
• A West Virginia lawmaker lobbies to keep a coal-fired plant open in his district, saying an upgrade to keep it going until 2040 instead of closing in 2028 would cost ratepayers only “pennies on our electric bill.” (WV Metro News)

EFFICIENCY: A rules review panel rejects proposed changes to North Carolina’s energy conservation code that would have let developers bypass minimum efficiency standards if they adhered to a voluntary suite of green building guidelines. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES: North Carolina environmental groups buy television ads pressing state lawmakers to require Duke Energy retire coal-fired power plants and accelerate solar and wind power construction, while a Duke-backed group runs social media ads attacking a bill to study energy market reforms. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)

SOLAR:
• Dozens of Kentucky residents speak against a proposed ordinance to standardize solar farm regulations because they say they’re worried the changes would result in more development on farmland. (WKYT)
• A Texas school board studies the effects of awarding tax breaks for a proposed solar farm, which a consultant says won’t affect the district’s tax revenue. (Austin American-Statesman)
• A solar company and the Nature Conservancy move forward with a pilot project to turn former central Appalachian coal mines into six solar energy plants. (WVTF)

COAL ASH: South Carolina Supreme Court justices question lawyers about whether a landfill operator tried to install a liner as a step toward accepting coal ash, which would require significant public hearings and notifications. (Greenville News)

INFRASTRUCTURE: A West Virginia coalition lobbies for passage of President Joe Biden’s federal infrastructure bill to attract billions of federal dollars to aid the state in its transition to a low-carbon economy. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

BIOMASS: A wood pellet maker shifts its focus to a pilot project in Maine after state regulators indefinitely delay its plans to produce pellets in North Carolina. (NC Policy Watch) 

OIL & GAS:
• The Jacksonville city council approves a Texas company’s request for a one-year delay in its plans to build a $542 million liquefied natural gas export facility. (Jacksonville Daily Record)
• A Texas energy developer hires contractor Bechtel to design a multibillion-dollar natural-gas-to-gasoline manufacturing facility in the Permian Basin. (Engineering News-Record)
• A Louisiana natural gas well explodes, injuring four, following an oil well blowout. (The Advocate)

COMMENTARY:
• A Virginia lawmaker argues that the Mountain Valley Pipeline should be canceled after construction devastated waterways and land, saying natural gas infrastructure is overbuilt and demand is in decline. (Roanoke Times)
• A Texas geologist argues for construction of more pipelines to boost the country’s energy independence, ensure safe transportation of oil-based fuels and stabilize prices. (Dallas Morning News)

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.