OIL & GAS: The Trump administration announces it will auction drilling leases for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in January, bypassing public comments and sparking warnings of costly legal action. (InsideClimate News)

ALSO:
CEO Vicki Hollub says the Occidental Petroleum’s future will be as a “carbon management company.” (E&E News, subscription)
Struggling oil companies are seeing potential in retooling refineries to produce biodiesel from fryer oil and other waste streams. (New York Times)
• Health professionals ask Minnesota officials to halt construction on the Line 3 pipeline because of concerns over out-of-state workers spreading COVID-19. (Star Tribune)

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TRANSITION:
President-elect Biden has narrowed down his picks for key climate and energy posts to a handful of candidates. (New York Times)
Environmental groups urge Biden to not appoint former California regulator Mary Nichols to lead the EPA, saying the state’s cap-and-trade policies have led to increased pollution in low-income communities. (Sacramento Bee)

PUBLIC LANDS: A conservationist says the Interior Department’s failure to include New Mexico projects for funding could be related to criticism of William Perry Pendley’s appointment to lead the Bureau of Land Management by the state’s congressional delegation. (New Mexico Political Report) 

CLEAN ENERGY:
A Minnesota green bank with $100 million in capital could create up to 15,000 jobs, according to a new report meant to address concerns about the financing option used in other states. (Energy News Network)
Decarbonizing the power sector by 2035 could be cheaper than expected as most U.S. fossil fuel plants are expected to reach the end of their typical lifespan by then. (Energy News Network)

COAL: A coal company with mines in Wyoming and Montana, as well as a stake in a controversial Washington state export terminal, files for bankruptcy. (Casper Star-Tribune)

ELECTRIFICATION: After failing to pass a natural gas ban in single-family homes last year, Seattle officials are advancing a new proposal focused on large multi-family buildings and commercial construction. (MyNorthwest)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
A New Hampshire state office that received $4.6 million of Volkswagen settlement funds in 2018 to build electric vehicle charging stations says it has not made any installations. (NH Business Review)
The Michigan House strips language from a bill that would have allowed Tesla to sell vehicles directly to customers in the state under a prior settlement with the attorney general and secretary of state. (Detroit News)
• Volvo Trucks North America will begin making a battery-powered electric truck at its western Virginia plant in 2021. (Virginia Business)

UTILITIES: Pennsylvania regulators approve a plan for a Philadelphia-area utility to begin time-of-use rates in 2022 for residential customers to encourage them to use electricity during off-peak hours. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

EFFICIENCY: A Florida home-energy financing program falters after a newspaper investigation found that companies were sticking participants with risky loans tied to their property tax bills. (Tampa Bay Times)

COMMENTARY: “Years and years of work went into building relationships with communities, and that trust has been broken”: former EPA official Mustafa Santiago Ali describes the Trump administration’s impact on environmental justice. (High Country News)

Ken Paulman

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.