U.S. Energy News

Trump seeks to “simplify and streamline” leases for drilling on public lands

OIL & GAS: The Interior Department directs its field offices to “simplify and streamline” the leasing process to make it easier to drill for oil and gas on public lands. (Washington Post)

ALSO:
• Oklahoma regulators could reduce the number of man-made earthquakes by stopping drillers from injecting fracking wastewater deep underground, a recent study finds. (Associated Press)
• President Trump tells Republican lawmakers he “really didn’t care” about opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling until others told him of its importance. (Associated Press)
• New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will join other Northeast governors in supporting a ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. (New Jersey Herald)
• A drilling upswing has led to a $46 million revenue increase for Pennsylvania. (Associated Press)

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OFFSHORE DRILLING: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein assembles attorneys general from 11 other coastal states and asks the Trump administration to cancel plans to expand offshore drilling. (News & Observer)

PIPELINES:
• A federal court may shut down a pipeline project in the Southeast after an appeals court refuses to revisit a ruling that FERC should have taken a closer look at the project’s climate impacts. (E&E News)
• Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine asks FERC to reconsider its approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline now that the commission is back a full staff. (McClatchy)

COAL: Colorado residents tell regulators that Xcel Energy should go beyond a plan to close two coal units and shutter even more coal plants, as long as natural gas isn’t used as a replacement. (Denver Post)

TRANSMISSION: New Hampshire regulators reject a permit to allow Eversource’s Northern Pass to construct power lines through the state for a Quebec to Massachusetts hydropower project. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

SOLAR:
• Solar policy developments last year led to deeper insights about the value of solar and a better understanding of distributed energy, according to an annual review. (Utility Dive)
• The new solar tariff will wipe out 7.6 gigawatts of solar demand over the next five years, experts predict. (Greentech Media)
• Tesla will roll out spaces at 800 Home Depot stores to promote its solar panels and Powerwall battery. (Bloomberg)
• Revised net-metering rules in Vermont lead to a significant decline in new local net-metered solar projects, according to state data. (Vermont Biz)
• Duke Energy customers who rent their homes or have tree-shaded rooftops may get a chance to go solar under a new program filed with North Carolina regulators. (Southeast Energy News)
• A Washington Post travel writer visits the nation’s first solar-powered town in southwestern Florida.

WIND: Florida-based NextEra Energy plans to build a 99-megawatt wind farm in South Dakota. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: A $5.6 billion public-private partnership in Rochester, Minnesota, aspires to be a “model of sustainability” that will push the city toward its goal of being energy net zero by 2031. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUEL: EPA chief Scott Pruitt says the bankruptcy of a Pennsylvania oil refiner is proof the Renewable Fuel Standard needs to be overhauled, drawing backlash from biofuels supporters. (Reuters)

POLICY: The Trump administration says it will reconsider an Obama-era plan that protected sensitive areas of the California desert from major solar and wind installations. (Tribune News Service)

CLIMATE:
• President Trump is getting many of his ideas on climate change and energy policy from the Koch- and Exxon-funded Heartland Institute. (Grist)
• Idaho lawmakers oppose the inclusion of man-made climate change in the state’s new science education standards. (Associated Press)

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NUCLEAR: Oregon-based NuScale Power is building a 50-megawatt nuclear reactor that can be operated with much less risk than traditional plants. (Los Angeles Times)

COMMENTARY: More energy companies may follow Exxon Mobil’s lead and increase their investments in the U.S., says a professor at Rice University. (The Hill)

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