CLIMATE: A federal judge on Friday blocked a Biden executive order restoring the social cost of carbon, saying it prevents states from collecting fossil fuel royalties. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• An economist says the decision, which drops the metric back to the Trump administration’s level of $7 per ton, “effectively removes all the teeth from climate regulations.” (The Guardian)
• An advocate questions the judge’s ruling, saying the social cost of carbon isn’t a regulation subject to court review, just a metric used in analysis. (E&E News, subscription)

EQUITY: House Democrats move forward with hearings on legislation protecting environmental justice communities as other climate measures stall. (E&E News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Analysts say the prominence of electric vehicle advertisements during the Super Bowl reflect a turning point in transition away from fossil fuels. (Vox)
More than 500 groups and individuals have submitted comments on a Biden administration plan to spend $7.5 billion on electric vehicle charging. (E&E News)

UTILITIES: Ohio utility FirstEnergy settles a series of shareholder lawsuits seeking corporate reform in the wake of the HB 6 corruption scandal, agreeing to have six longtime board members not seek reelection, among other commitments. (Associated Press)

GRID: California regulators approve a plan to add 25.5 GW of renewable generation and 15 GW of storage and demand response resources to the grid by 2032. (Reuters)

COAL:
Public filings reveal the West Virginia power plant that buys coal from Sen. Joe Manchin’s family business hasn’t paid rent for a decade. (E&E News)
Utah regulators order the state’s only open-pit coal mine to close and begin permanent cleanup work in March if it fails to provide a $13.4 million reclamation bond. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Wyoming lawmakers propose a bill meant to discourage coal plant shutdowns by requiring utilities to install carbon capture equipment on facilities slated for retirement or sell the plant to a buyer that would. (Casper Star-Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: Climate activists in Rhode Island criticize Gov. Dan McKee’s plan to divert energy efficiency funds to pay for the state’s climate council. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES: The Army Corps of Engineers signals that it won’t issue a decision on a key water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline until it has reviewed a Fish and Wildlife Service opinion that must be redone. (Roanoke Times)

OIL & GAS:
A federal judge rules the Bureau of Land Management illegally failed to consider impacts to the imperiled Gunnison sage grouse when issuing oil and gas leases in southwest Colorado, but stops short of vacating the leases. (Grand Junction Sentinel)
The Biden administration asks a federal appeals court to overturn last year’s order halting its public lands oil and gas leasing pause. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY:
• An organized labor official says more clean energy jobs should be unionized to continue investments in the workforce and raise wages. (Energy News Network)
A California editorial board cautions that it could be years before officials know whether the Salton Sea region will be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” as national media outlets have predicted. (Desert Sun)

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.