OVERSIGHT: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appoints new state regulators to the Public Utility Commission after the previous three quit or resigned after February’s calamitous winter storm and outages. (Dallas Morning News)

POLITICS: The White House lobbies for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure package by singling out needs in individual states, including Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. (WATL, Daily Journal, WTVD, ABC News, Spectrum News 1, Beckley Register-Herald)

***SPONSORED LINK: Receive continuing education credits, learn about new energy solutions and best practices, and connect with other energy industry professionals at the 2021 State Energy (Virtual) Conference of North Carolina, April 19-22. Learn more and register at www.NCenergyconference.com. *** 

OIL & GAS:
• Land scouts and executives in Louisiana’s oil and gas industry hedge their bets by jumping into renewable energy ventures. (Times-Picayune)
• Environmental groups express relief that West Virginia’s legislature failed to pass a bill exempting about 900 small oil and gas storage tanks from state regulation. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL:
• Alabama coal miners continue their strike after rejecting a contract proposal. (S&P Global)
• The miners’ union and others express frustration that West Virginia lawmakers narrowly killed an amendment directing regulators to develop infrastructure and jobs in places where coal-fired plants have closed. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• West Virginia attempts to lure remote workers through a public-private program offering new residents cash and free passes to tourist destinations as its population shrinks with the decline of the coal industry. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• An eastern Tennessee county becomes a testing ground for an electric autonomous vehicle known as Olli. (CleanTechnica)
• The weekend’s settlement between two South Korean electric vehicle battery markers opens the door for Ford and Volkswagen to be more aggressive in making and marketing electric vehicles. (Barron’s)

NUCLEAR: Amid construction delays at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle, a former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission questions nuclear power’s feasibility as cheaper resources are built faster. (Utility Dive)

STORAGE: A Texas company begins developing storage capacity totalling 640 MW at four sites to complement its existing solar facilities. (Solar Power World)

GRID: Oklahoma lawmakers and state officials lay out a plan to buffer ratepayers from an estimated $4.5 billion that state utilities owe after February’s storm and natural gas price spike. (KFOR)

PIPELINES: A Texas company that makes industrial pipeline systems announces a new manufacturing facility in North Carolina. (Fayetteville Observer)

COAL ASH:
• A Tennessee congressional representative introduces legislation to strengthen regulations and mandate faster disposal of coal ash. (E&E News, subscription)
• After Georgia lawmakers failed to pass new laws around the storage and regulation of coal ash, the policy fight moves into courts and public relations. (Saporta Report)

***SPONSORED LINK: NCSEA’s Making Energy Work webinar series is back by popular demand! Join hundreds of attendees from across the country to get the latest scoop on trending clean energy topics sweeping the industry. Register today, where energy policy gets to work: www.makingenergywork.com/2021.***

CLIMATE:
• Eight counties in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana accounted for half of the $1.2 billion in claims paid by the federal flood insurance program in 2020. (E&E News, subscription)
• The Virginia Nature Conservancy aims to turn vast offshore meadows of seagrass into carbon credits it can sell for cash. (YaleEnvironment360)

COMMENTARY:
• South Carolina should sell troubled state-owned utility Santee Cooper because of its overreliance on coal, troubling debt load and lack of diversity in upper management, writes one of the state’s first Black lawmakers. (Times and Democrat)
• U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s swing-vote power paired with President Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs package could enable West Virginia to go from a declining coal economy to one with well-paying union jobs in clean energy, writes a retired federal employee. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

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.