U.S. Energy News

Two more California cities approve natural gas bans

ELECTRIFICATION: San Jose and Oakland both approve measures banning natural gas connections in new buildings, with San Jose becoming the largest city in the U.S. to do so. (San Jose Spotlight, San Francisco Chronicle)

POLLUTION: A review of data finds that government air quality monitors routinely miss major pollution releases, including an explosion at a Philadelphia refinery last year that was visible from space. (Reuters)

EQUITY: A Chicago neighborhood shows how community development plays a key role in advancing clean energy on former industrial sites. (Energy News Network)

OHIO: Utility and fossil fuel interests’ influence on Ohio politics is resurfacing as officials seek to replace a member of the state’s utility commission and environmental groups seek to revisit prior utility cases. (Energy News Network)

TRANSPORTATION: Ford encourages other automakers to withdraw from a lawsuit challenging California’s right to set tailpipe emissions standards. (The Hill)

BIOFUELS: The Trump administration has missed a deadline to update federal biofuel standards, likely leaving the contentious issue up to the incoming Biden administration. (The Hill)

OIL & GAS:
• Exxon Mobil says it will write down as much as $20 billion in natural gas assets, part of a larger trend amid falling prices. (NPR, Reuters)
• Los Angeles officials will consider a zoning update that would ban oil drilling within city limits. (Courthouse News Service)
• Oklahoma oil and gas leaders dismiss the possibility of a widespread fracking ban under President-elect Joe Biden, but remain concerned about other regulatory changes that will affect the industry. (Oklahoma City Journal Record)

PIPELINES: Enbridge begins construction on the Line 3 replacement and expansion in Minnesota the day after state officials approved the last permits for the project. (Star Tribune)

COAL: The Biden administration appears likely to implement new occupational safety rules around silica dust, a byproduct of coal mining that’s led to an epidemic of advanced black lung disease. (NPR)

SOLAR:
Analysts say solar-plus-storage is becoming increasingly cost competitive with combined cycle natural gas plants in parts of the U.S. (Utility Dive)
Residential solar policy decisions in four states could have major impacts on the industry nationally. (E&E News)

WIND: Vineyard Wind temporarily withdraws its application for a federal permit to operate an offshore wind farm off Massachusetts as it completes a technical review of a larger turbine. (E&E News, subscription required)

EFFICIENCY: New Hampshire House Republicans call for a delay in the state’s expanded energy efficiency plans, citing economic concerns caused by the pandemic. (NHPR)

MINING: The Trump administration is turning to a Department of Energy loan program it had tried to eliminate to increase domestic supplies of lithium, uranium and other key materials. (Bloomberg)

OVERSIGHT: Outgoing EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler warns of increased regulation from “a future administration.” (E&E News)

COMMENTARY:
• Two legal scholars explain how “the Supreme Court may soon burn down the federal government’s regulatory powers,” which could cripple the Biden administration’s efforts to fight climate change. (Slate)
• A media expert says news organizations need to change the way they frame climate change as a political issue: “to imply that climate change is a political loser is to misapprehend the American public.” (The Hill)
• Most of the country’s largest investor-owned utilities are on a trajectory to meet emission-reduction targets far slower than what is outlined in President-elect Joe Biden’s climate plan, analysts say. (Energy and Policy Institute)

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