U.S. Energy News

Trump administration moves to scrap offshore drilling ban

OIL & GAS: The Trump administration proposes opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, dealing a blow to environmental groups and lawmakers in coastal states. (New York Times, Common Dreams, Huffington Post)

• The plan would allow the first federal lease sales off California since 1984, sparking opposition from state officials and green groups. (Los Angeles Times)
• The offshore drilling proposal could make 2018 an even tougher election year for Republicans in coastal states. (McClatchy)
• Louisiana lawmakers praise the proposal’s potential to boost the economy and energy security. (The Advocate)
• Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard responds to an estimated 2,500 gallons of oil spilled into the Mississippi River in Louisiana. (The Advocate)

NATURAL GAS: The Trump administration is looking to transform Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania into a hub for storing natural gas. (Washington Examiner)

PIPELINES: The first felony conviction is handed down to a Dakota Access pipeline protester for “tampering with a public service” after being arrested in November 2016. (Bismarck Tribune)

• Companies mined 6 percent more coal in the U.S. last year than in 2016, according to government figures. (Associated Press)
• A coal company is suing the government of Washington state for blocking proposed a coal export terminal from being built there, saying the decision amounts to an unconstitutional ban. (The Hill)
• Virginia concrete makers say there is a significant demand for Dominion Energy’s coal ash, contradicting a report by the company. (Southeast Energy News)

• Utilities and businesses are struggling to keep oil-fired generators running as temperatures drop in the eastern U.S. (New York Times)
• New Mexico regulators rescind a recent decision allowing the state’s largest electric utility to boost rates in order to pay for upgrades to coal-fired power plants. (The New Mexican)

• Energy Secretary Rick Perry says subsidizing coal plants would make the grid more resilient during a cold weather event, but in New England oil and gas is the primary fuel used for heating. (Utility Dive)
• An analysis explains how two new Democratic senators could affect U.S. energy policy. (Washington Post)
• A federal order scraps directives and policy manuals that show Interior Department employees how to minimize the environmental impact of activities on federal land and in federal waters, because they were “inconsistent” with President Trump’s quest for energy independence. (Washington Post)
• Despite moves at the federal level to abandon an international climate change agreement and support the coal industry, clean energy soared in the U.S. 2017 largely due to market forces. (InsideClimate News)

NUCLEAR: Westinghouse Electric Co., the contractor at the heart of South Carolina’s failed Summer nuclear project, is being sold in a deal valued at about $4.6 billion. (Post and Courier)

SOLAR: After two years of solar policy turmoil in Nevada, state regulators vote unanimously to reject a fixed rate increase proposed by NV Energy that would have reduced savings for rooftop solar customers. (Greentech Media)

WIND:$90 million, 44-megawatt wind project is online in eastern Michigan, with more turbines expected to be added in 2020. (MLive)

EFFICIENCY: Some clean energy advocates say additional revenue raised in Minneapolis for sustainability efforts is better spent on efficiency programs rather than renewable energy credits. (Midwest Energy News)

• A Trump administration plan to open 90 percent of federal waters to for oil drilling is “flabbergastingly stupid and shortsighted,” says a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
• Coal production rose slightly in 2017, but it had nothing to do with the Trump administration and produced few new jobs, writes David Roberts. (Vox)
• Market reforms underway at the PJM, which serves 65 million customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states, may unfairly benefit expensive and inflexible power plants, says the president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. (Utility Dive)

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