Southeast Energy News

U.S. Forest Service emails reveal FERC influence on pipeline decision

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)

• 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)

• 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)

• 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)

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