CLIMATE: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says humanity’s “waging war on nature” is “suicidal,” as a new report projects 2020 will be the third hottest year on record. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
A new report warns that climate change is already posing a public health threat in the U.S. (New York Times)
Two Democratic senators say there are still climate policies that could advance through a Republican-controlled Senate. (Grist)
Lower-level agency appointments will be critical in ensuring Biden administration climate policies can survive legal challenges. (Bloomberg Law)

UTILITIES:
A nonprofit funded by American Electric Power gave $900,000 over three years to two “dark money” groups at the center of the state’s power plant subsidy law scandal. (Dayton Daily News)
Four former ComEd officials plead not guilty to federal bribery charges as top Illinois Republican lawmakers call on House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign. (Register-Mail)
“The reality is that someone is going to pay”: Utilities try to figure out how to deal with unpaid bills from the pandemic, which by one estimate could reach $40 billion by March. (Utility Dive)

OVERSIGHT: Two Wisconsin regulators appeal a federal court decision that would subject them to questioning over potential conflicts of interest by opponents of a controversial transmission project. (Wisconsin State Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Two pilot projects in Massachusetts aim to develop micro-districts heated by geothermal systems to reduce dependence on fossil fuels while providing an economic transition for gas utilities and their workers. (Energy News Network) 

NUCLEAR:
• A U.S. Senate committee advances a bipartisan bill to provide protections for nuclear power plants. (Power Magazine)
• SCANA and its successor Dominion Energy in South Carolina agree to pay a $25 million civil fine in a fraud case related to the defunct utility’s failed $9 billion nuclear plant expansion. (The State)
Federal regulators approve the sale of the crippled Three Mile Island reactor to a company that will decommission the site over the objections of state officials. (Pennlive)

PIPELINES:
• A pandemic-related drop in natural gas prices prompts a developer to withdraw plans for a 625-mile pipeline that would have spanned Texas into Louisiana. (Reuters)
• A court says a federal agency’s approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross waterways was likely illegal, citing West Virginia regulators’ flip-flopping on their own state rules. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

ELECTRIFICATION: San Jose’s newly passed natural gas ban includes a key loophole that allows buildings to use gas to generate power on-site. (Mercury News)

SOLAR: A solar and storage installation at a Washington, D.C., apartment building is an example of how the city is making progress in expanding solar power to low-income residents. (Bay Journal)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Boise, Idaho officials will require newly constructed homes with garages to have high-voltage circuits to accommodate electric vehicle charging. (Idaho Press-Tribune)

MEDIA: The EPA joins conservative social media platform Parler to “promote the numerous environmental accomplishments made under the Trump administration.” (The Hill)

COMMENTARY:
• Sens. Tom Udall and Charles Grassley say oil companies are underpaying for leases on public land. (New York Times)
• A tribal chairman says Michigan’s attempt to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac “will ensure the safety of our communities and the ability to fish, work and recreate on these waters for generations to come.” (Lansing State Journal)

Ken Paulman

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.