U.S. Energy News

Trump rushes to finalize Alaska drilling before Biden takes over

OIL & GAS: The Trump administration is rushing to finalize drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before President-elect Biden’s inauguration. (Reuters)

ALSO: The American Petroleum Institute’s executive director tells a Texas energy symposium that the 2020 congressional elections represent “an overwhelming victory” for the oil and gas industry. (Beaumont Enterprise)

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POLITICS:
Several Obama-era energy officials are seen as top contenders to be energy secretary under President-elect Biden, including a favorite of progressives who now heads Moms Clean Air Force. (The Hill, E&E News, subscription)
• President Trump names the Department of Energy’s top fossil fuel official as acting undersecretary in a lame-duck staffing shakeup. (E&E News, subscription)

PIPELINES: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moves to revoke the 67-year-old easement that allows Enbridge to operate the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. (Detroit Free Press)

TRANSPORTATION: California’s Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols says the state’s new emissions requirements for cars could provide a “good template” for new federal standards. (Reuters)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: General Motors recalls more than 68,000 Chevrolet Bolt all-electric vehicles because the batteries pose a fire risk. (Detroit Free Press)

OHIO: FBI agents were seen this morning executing a search warrant at the home of Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

CLEAN TECH: An Appalachian Ohio startup plans to recycle lithium-ion battery cells for use in new battery packs, which could see a growing need with more electric vehicles on the road. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES:
• Arizona regulators approve new rules requiring 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, but will not require utilities to rely on wind and solar to reach the target. (Arizona Republic)
In recent investor calls, U.S. utilities have focused on COVID-19, expanding renewables and hydrogen, and the role of natural gas. (E&E News, subscription)

GRID: Analysts say power generators that initiated the cases that led to a federal ruling on renewable energy prices that sparked a revolt among some member states of PJM are now moving toward an embrace of carbon pricing. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE:
• Portland, Oregon officials are considering a carbon tax for major polluters to help fund local climate initiatives. (Oregonian)
• Despite the company’s public comments on climate, only one of Amazon’s 115 federal lobbyists focuses on the environment. (E&E News, subscription)

WIND: Texas and Oklahoma drive what looks to be a record-breaking year nationally for growth in wind generating capacity. (Renewables Now)

BIOMASS: A $30 million collaboration between Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy is billed as the largest swine waste-to-energy project in North Carolina, but its details have been kept secret, even from state regulators. (NC Policy Watch)

COMMENTARY:
• A California man outlines health impacts he attributes to growing up near oil fields, and says the state still isn’t doing enough to protect communities of color from pollution. (New York Times)
• Geothermal energy has major potential for not just carbon-free electricity but also for heating buildings if done cost effectively, writes David Roberts. (Vox)

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