U.S. Energy News

Trump calls NEPA rollback a ‘historic breakthrough’

POLICY: Calling it a “historic breakthrough,” President Trump announces the rollback of Nixon-era regulations designed to give communities more of a voice in projects that will impact them. (E&E News, NPR)

ALSO:
Trump used the announcement to criticize Joe Biden’s climate proposal, which has drawn praise from groups hoping to help communities transitioning from coal. (The Hill, Ohio Valley Resource)
A FERC commissioner says 30 days is too short of a timeframe for the agency to respond to rehearing requests, referencing a recent court decision on pipeline projects. (Utility Dive)

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OIL & GAS:
A federal judge blocks the Trump administration’s effort to roll back an Obama rule limiting methane emissions from oil operations on public land. (Reuters)
A report finds that royalty rate reductions were granted to oil companies that have made large campaign donations or have ties to Interior Department officials. (E&E News, subscription)
A new study finds that pregnant women living near natural gas flaring sites may have an elevated risk of giving birth prematurely. (E&E News, subscription)
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is ready to sign a $670 million tax credit bill for the petrochemical industry that sailed through the legislature this week without public hearings. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
• An open valve causes roughly 7,500 gallons of oil to spill at a well pad in western North Dakota. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Electric vehicle sales have slumped in 2020 relative to conventional cars but could rebound next year as carmakers release new models. (Quartz)
• County commissioners in Austin, Texas, approve tax breaks worth at least $14 million over 10 years if Tesla decides to build a $1.1 billion electric vehicle factory there. (Austin American-Statesman) 

SOLAR:
A recent study by California’s three investor-owned utilities finds that solar backed by storage can achieve nearly 100% reliability, posing a challenge to gas-fired peaker plants. (Bloomberg)
• Solar installations are springing up across the Atlanta metro area, driven by high electricity prices and falling solar costs. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) 

STORAGE: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signs a bill that directs state regulators to explore ways to compensate utilities for incorporating energy storage. (Concord Monitor)

UTILITIES: Clean energy advocates are challenging incumbents in two Virginia utility co-op board elections this summer. (Energy News Network)

COAL:
• Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer, the nation’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas, will see one of its four coal-fired units close by Jan. 1, 2022. (Saporta Report)
• Minnesota regulators approve Xcel Energy’s plan to run two of its coal plants for just six months of the year as a way to cut emissions and costs for customers. (Forum News Service)
• The Federal Trade Commission says competition should be maintained as it seeks to block a proposed merger between Arch Resources and Peabody Energy. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)

WIND:
• New Jersey releases its strategic plan to develop 7,500 MW of offshore wind over 15 years that sets policy priorities but offers little on project costs. (NJ Spotlight)
Hope still remains for the first offshore wind turbines in the Pacific despite a California congressman clashing with a recent Trump appointee to the Navy. (E&E News Daily, subscription)

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POLITICS: Events this week show the sharp contrast between President Trump and Joe Biden on the environment. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY: Critics say the Trump administration’s rewrite of a key environmental law eliminates or curtails crucial reviews of infrastructure projects. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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