U.S. Energy News

Utilities find groundwater pollution at coal ash sites

COAL ASH:
• Utilities across the U.S. find evidence of groundwater contamination at coal ash disposal sites, according to newly released reports. (Associated Press)
• Alabama environmental regulators fine six coal plants $250,000 each for violating the state’s clean water laws by contaminating groundwater. (AL.com)

OIL & GAS:
• Opposition to a Trump administration plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling is wide-ranging and bipartisan, despite the lack of a traditional public hearing process. (The Hill, Associated Press)
• The Natural Resources Defense Council launches an ad campaign targeting House Republicans who voted to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. (The Hill)
• The West Virginia Senate passes a controversial oil and gas “co-tenancy” bill, but it still has to be reconciled with the House version. (Associated Press)
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke abruptly cancels an oil and gas lease sale in northwestern New Mexico, on land near a sacred Navajo site. (Washington Post, High Country News)

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PIPELINES: The Dakota Access pipeline developer claims an environmental group known as Earth First helped fund protesters accused of criminal activities. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar, which is exempt from new solar import tariffs, is “one of the luckiest” companies out there. (Greentech Media)
• A new book explains how solar can provide a third of global electricity by the middle of the century. (Axios)
• A tax reform bill in Iowa would end the state’s solar tax credit program this year. (Midwest Energy News)
• The Maine Senate passes a bill to blunt the effects of an earlier net metering policy championed by the governor’s administration. (PV Magazine)

STORAGE:
• Why a breakthrough in battery storage technology isn’t necessary for the installation of more renewables. (CleanTechnica)
• A Canadian company secures mining rights to federal land in Utah in hopes of extracting lithium from spent oil wells to use in battery manufacturing. (Reuters)

RENEWABLES:
• Visa commits to using 100 percent renewable electricity across its global operations by the end of 2019. (CNBC)
• Massachusetts tops all states in an annual assessment of community clean energy policies, while Tennessee comes in last. (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

BIOFUELS: Nearly 50,000 Iowa jobs are tied to biofuels production, according to a study commissioned by a renewable fuels trade group. (Wallace’s Farmer)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Battery storage could help decrease demand costs and surges at EV charging stations. (Greentech Media)
• Tesla agrees to pay nearly $140,000 in fines for air pollution violations that took place between 2013 and 2016. (CBS)

NUCLEAR: A new plan to store nuclear waste in southern New Mexico clears a regulatory hurdle as federal officials now begin assessing whether the project poses safety risks. (Associated Press)

CAP-AND-TRADE: Democratic lawmakers in Oregon vow to enact a cap-and-trade policy next year, following the death of a bill in the state legislature last week. (Associated Press)

POLITICS:
• Republicans have slipped 80 anti-environmental riders into a must-pass spending package, including attempts to block new ozone standards and weaken methane rules for oil and gas. (InsideClimate News)
• Lawmakers voice concern about a House committee report that found Russia used social media to sow discord in the U.S. over pipelines, fossil fuels and climate change. (The Hill)
• Energy storage and electric vehicle funding are among issues Minnesota lawmakers could tackle in what will be an otherwise slow year for energy issues. (Midwest Energy News)
• Striking teachers in West Virginia want lawmakers to raise their pay by imposing a modest tax hike on coal and gas industries. (The New Republic)

CLIMATE:
• A judge rules that plaintiffs can sue companies in federal court for emitting greenhouse gases, which could pave the way for climate change lawsuits. (Grist)
• Global SUV sales tripled over the last 10 years, and that’s bad news for climate change. (New York Times)

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EPA: President Trump nominates an attorney for Dow Chemical to lead the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, which is responsible for emergency response operations and highly contaminated Superfund sites. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: More utilities are making clean energy pledges “because it just makes good business sense,” write experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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