U.S. Energy News

Trump methane rollback reveals climate split within oil industry

NOTE TO READERS: The Energy News Network is taking a break for Labor Day. We will resume on Tuesday, September 3.

CLIMATE: While smaller oil and gas companies welcomed the Trump administration’s plan to roll back methane restrictions, larger players warn it could harm the industry’s future amid growing concern about climate change. (New York Times)

ALSO:
California’s attorney general calls the methane rollback a “monumentally stupid decision,” and, along with Colorado, threatens to sue the Trump administration. (Los Angeles Times, Colorado Sun)
• The propose rule change is part of a growing list of steps the Trump administration has taken to undermine U.S. action on climate change. (New York Times) 

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PIPELINES:
Federal regulators reversed a previous ruling and approved the Constitution natural gas pipeline in New York, saying the state waived its authority to issue a water quality permit. (Platts)
• A West Virginia conservation group helps residents monitor pipeline construction and cite violations. (WVPB) 

OIL & GAS:
• U.S. oil refineries along the Gulf of Mexico are closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Dorian, and even though it’s not expected to hit the Gulf, it’s raising natural gas prices. (Reuters, Marketwatch)
Natural gas flaring records are high in West Texas, and some groups want the state to crack down on emissions. (Bloomberg)

BIOFUELS: President Trump promises a “giant package” for corn farmers meant to address concerns over waivers for oil refiners. (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
Consumer advocates in Kansas says investors, not ratepayers, should pay nearly $12 million for coal power the state’s largest utility purchased to resolve a dispute with the plant owner. (Energy News Network)
Dominion Energy netted excess profits of more than $277 million last year, and while a new Virginia law allows the utility to spend that money on grid upgrades and renewable energy, some advocates say it should be returned to ratepayers. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

GRID: Hawaii regulators approve a contract between a utility and a technology company to aggregate distributed energy and storage resources to help manage the grid, and compensate customers for it. (Pacific Business News)

SOLAR: A Massachusetts utility’s study to assess the grid impacts of distributed solar has disrupted the development and construction schedules of nearly 1 GW of projects. (Greentech Media)

COAL:
• Wisconsin’s largest utility could save ratepayers $138 million a year by closing a coal plant in favor of renewables and storage, according to the Sierra Club. (Wisconsin State Journal)
No coal companies started in Kentucky within the past five years have posted bonds required by state law to protect miners’ wages, and last year Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration pushed legislation to eliminate the requirement. (Lexington Herald Leader)
Coal industry watchers and environmentalists are questioning how the Navajo Transitional Energy Company will pay for the cleanup of its purchased Cloud Peak Energy mines in Wyoming and Montana. (Bloomberg)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Dominion Energy plan would give schools across Virginia electric school buses by 2030, if the utility can use the energy from the batteries. (WAMU) 

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POLITICS: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions faces a big obstacle — the state’s Republican-led legislature — so his administration looks for work-arounds and short-term wins. (InsideClimate News)

COMMENTARY:
• Solar power helps the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe transition from fossil fuels as the tribe continues to fight the Dakota Access pipeline in court, an editorial board says. (Bismarck Tribune)
• The recent spike in global methane emissions may be caused by U.S. oil and gas activity at a time when more development is planned and the Trump administration seeks to rollback methane regulations, writes David Roberts of Vox.
The chair of a think tank says New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of net metering legislation pits the interests of homeowners and businesses against those of utility shareholders. (NHBR)

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