U.S. Energy News

Trump’s vehicle emission rollback on track for next year

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EMISSIONS: President Trump said Friday his administration will finalize its rollback of Obama-era vehicle emission standards next year. (Reuters)

• Some legal experts say Justice Brett Kavanaugh could press the Supreme Court to scale back federal agencies’ authority to regulate power plant emissions. (E&E News, subscription)
• Climate scientists are increasingly grappling with how to minimize the carbon footprint of their research and travel. (Associated Press) 

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HYDROPOWER: As First Nations people in Canada draw attention to the environmental impact of major hydroelectric projects serving the United States, there is also dispute over hydro’s short-term climate benefit. (VT Digger / Pulitzer Center)

Michigan’s U.S. senators express alarm over Canada’s consideration of storing spent nuclear waste beneath the shores of Lake Huron. (Detroit Free Press)
Six of seven Ohio Supreme Court justices have received campaign contributions from FirstEnergy, which may face a ruling from the court over subsidies for its nuclear plants. (Toledo Blade)

• Electric cars had their biggest year ever in 2019 as a slew of new models hit the road and automakers committed $225 billion to electrification. (Quartz)
General Motors has actively lobbied to extend federal tax credits for electric vehicles but has angered some Democrats by siding with the Trump administration on fuel efficiency standards. (Detroit News)

Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas now exceed coal emissions in the U.S. and Europe. (E&E News, subscription)
• Utilities and fossil fuel interests did “too little, too late” to thwart a Boston suburb’s move to ban gas service in new construction. (HuffPost)
• A Carnegie Mellon University study says the economic benefits of shale gas development in the Appalachian Basin do not offset the damage to the environment, the climate and public health. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

COAL: A coal company that bought many of Blackjewel’s Kentucky mines after its bankruptcy has laid off some of the miners it hired. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

SOLAR: Solar is catching on among residents outside Oklahoma City, but an installer warns opportunity is limited because of local utility rules. (The Oklahoman) 

Some analysts warn that diminishing federal tax credits could deal a setback to the economics of solar-plus-storage projects. (E&E News, subscription)
A new research authority will promote pumped-storage hydro and other energy developments in southwest Virginia. (Roanoke Times) 

CALIFORNIA: PG&E confirms a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of California wildfires ignited by its power lines, but says it will not admit fault for two of the fires. (New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle)

ELECTRIFICATION: A new analysis explores how the City of Sacramento, California aims to electrify all homes without leaving disadvantaged households behind. (Greentech Media)

OVERSIGHT: A federal appeals court plans to reevaluate the legality of a FERC pipeline review process that’s been called “Kafkaesque.” (E&E News) 

PETROCHEMICALS: The Ohio River Valley stands at a crossroads, facing decisions about whether to embrace renewable energy or shale gas and plastics. (Environmental Health News)

BIOFUELS: The U.S. EPA delivers its proposal for biofuel blending requirements to the White House, which one official says is “similar” to a plan unveiled in October. (Reuters)

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TRANSMISSION: Ameren uses goats to clear vegetation on rocky terrain along transmission rights-of-way in Illinois. (Southern Illinoisan)

COMMENTARY: The increasing number of utility carbon-reduction plans “foreshadow a major reshuffling in utility business models with dramatic implications for the U.S. power generation mix,” a Platts writer says.

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