POLITICS: Duke Energy gives more than twice as much money to Republicans as Democrats in North Carolina state legislative races, rewarding candidates who voted with it on a controversial ratemaking bill. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• U.S. Forest Service officials decided to defer to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rather than take a conflicting position on the environmental impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to newly surfaced emails that one former official called “shocking and eye-opening.” (Roanoke Times)
• The first three years of the Trump presidency coincided with a pipeline construction boom, fueling significant job gains for workers without college degrees in West Virginia and the Ohio River Valley before the pandemic hit. (Washington Post)

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EFFICIENCY: Energy efficiency advocates urge Virginia to update state building codes to more closely follow an international standard that the state currently lags by two 3-year cycles. (Virginia Mercury)

COAL:
• Candidates share diverging views about coal and the future of the regional economy in the race for a southern West Virginia congressional seat. (WV MetroNews)
• As coal-burning power plants are phased out, the coal industry’s future is increasingly tied to steel production. (Kingsport Times-News)
• A Norfolk Southern train derails in western Virginia, spilling coal into the Roanoke River just above the city of Salem’s main water intake. (Roanoke Times)

OIL & GAS:
• A Houston man faces federal charges over a scheme to bilk 21 oil and gas investors out of $1.2 million. (San Antonio Express-News)
• Hurricane Zeta leaves destruction and numerous oil spills in Louisiana. (DeSmog Blog)
• The future of oil has become a driving issue in the final days of two hard-fought Texas congressional races. (KTRK)

UTILITIES: Community and environmental activists criticize a Texas utility over its policy of lowering rates for businesses that use larger volumes of electricity. (San Antonio Express-News)

COAL ASH: The college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, grapples with coal ash and its potential effects on drinking water. (Daily Tar Heel)

BIOMASS: The biggest wood pellet producer in the South wants to expand a South Carolina plant but faces opposition from neighbors and environmental activists. (Post and Courier)

SOLAR: An Arkansas city council approves a 20-year deal to buy most of its power from solar sources. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

CLEAN ENERGY: Engineers and other workers in Huntsville, Alabama, are increasingly leaving the defense industry for jobs in renewables. (Common Dreams)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.