Southeast Energy News

Virginia governor signs massive utility-backed overhaul

VIRGINIA: Gov. Ralph Northam signs into law a major overhaul of electric utility regulations that includes boosts for grid modernization and renewable energy, though critics say it allows utilities to continue charging higher-than-necessary prices. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

CO-TENANCY: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs a bill requiring only 75 percent of the owners of a property to approve drilling, despite earlier indications he might veto the bill. (MetroNews)

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OFFSHORE DRILLING:
• The Trump administration wants to rollback regulations put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, as some oil and gas companies say they need the relief to survive financially. (New York Times)
• The 77-million acres in the Gulf of Mexico set to be auctioned soon is the largest round of lease sales in the country’s history, but may not shake off a three-year slump. (The Advocate)
• Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson writes a second time to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, asking whether Florida will be excluded as promised from expanded offshore drilling. (Florida Politics)
• Thirty-four North Carolina religious leaders urge the Trump administration in letter to invest in renewable energy instead of expanding offshore oil and gas exploration. (Progressive Pulse)

NUCLEAR: SCANA executives accepted free rounds of golf, entry to the Masters tournament and tickets to football games from contractors as they were building the now-failed Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

PIPELINES:
• A West Virginia judge grants a temporary restraining order against protesters sitting in trees in the Mountain Valley Pipeline project’s path, but it is unclear how to remove them. (Roanoke Times)
• Production of pipes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was completed last fall, but the project is waiting for regulatory hurdles to be installed. (News Virginian)
• The U.S. Forest Service enacts an emergency closure in part of a national forest “due to hazards associated with constructing the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” (Roanoke Times)

FRACKING: Legislation updating 40-year-old fracking rules in Georgia advances to Gov. Nathan Deal. (Rome News-Tribune)

RATES: The Tennessee Valley Authority proposes to revamp the way it prices electricity by adding a grid access charge to customers’ monthly bills. (Times Free Press)

CLIMATE: Two climate groups are starting a campaign in Miami for energy and utility companies — not taxpayers — to pay to protect the region against the effects of climate change. (Miami Herald)

UTILITIES: Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good earned $21.4 million last year, which is a 55 percent increase from the year before. (Charlotte Observer)

SOLAR: Florida Power & Light adds batteries to an existing solar power plant for storage purposes. (Electric Power & Light)

COMMENTARY:
• The CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce says bad business decisions brought down Santee Cooper. (Post and Courier)
• Relaxing coal ash rules would mean the lessons learned from environmental contamination in the past are being ignored. (News & Record)
• The Deepwater Horizon oil spill proved workers, waters, wildlife and the economy must be protected from the hazards of offshore drilling, says former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham. (Pensacola News Journal)

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