Daily digest

Virginia Senate passes utility regulation ‘to benefit an industry giant’

LEGISLATION: The Virginia Senate passes a Dominion Energy-backed reform package that lets the utility keep millions in earnings in exchange for grid upgrades and renewable energy investments. One lawmaker says, “Let’s be honest. This bill is being written to benefit … an industry giant.” (Richmond Times Dispatch)

• Georgia lawmakers approve a budget deal that extends federal tax credits to help pay for the Vogtle nuclear project, which state regulators were counting on in December when they voted to continue construction. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• West Virginia lawmakers consider a bill to prohibit natural gas companies from taking deductions from royalty payments after gas leaves the wellhead. (WV News)
• A Georgia House bill would regulate coal ash storage in solid waste landfills and require “full public notice” before a public landfill could accept coal ash. (Brunswick News)

• Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers file a lawsuit against property owners in Virginia in order to gain land for the project, citing eminent domain. (Daily Progress)
• West Virginia environmental regulators approve a stormwater permit for the Eastern Panhandle pipeline project. (Kallanish Energy)

• West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association officials say the fuels bring hope for the state’s economy as the coal industry continues to decline. (WV News)
• Public support was mixed at a hearing on proposed co-tenancy legislation in West Virginia that would authorize drilling for natural gas where 75 percent of a property’s landowners agree. (Associated Press)

POLITICS: A Democratic candidate for West Virginia’s legislature reads the names of state lawmakers and the amount of donations they had accepted from oil and gas companies during a public hearing before being escorted out. (Newsweek)

UTILITIES: The Tennessee Valley Authority predicts demand for electricity will be flat or down over the next decade. (Times Free Press)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: A bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers wants the state legislature to formally oppose the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling as Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is the only governor of 22 coastal states that has not taken a public stance. (Associated Press)

OIL: The Coast Guard is responding to potentially 4,200 gallons of oil spilled Sunday in the Mississippi River in Louisiana. (Times-Picayune)

EMISSIONS: Three Republican Georgia state representatives seek to end mandatory emissions testing for vehicles. (nooga.com)

• Two Appalachian coal miners talk about living with black lung disease. (WFPL)
• Rockets are being blasted into space with super-strong, heat-resistant coatings made with Appalachian coal. (WV Public Broadcasting)

• Virginia lawmakers are allowing Dominion Energy to “double dip” at rate payers’ expense, the Sierra Club says. (Augusta Free Press)
• The missing component needed to maximize West Virginia’s natural gas is state lawmakers’ passage of co-tenancy legislation, say two oil and gas industry officials. (Exponent Telegram)
• West Virginia sits at the epicenter of what could be the economic development future of the state — if not the entire country, a newspaper editorial argues. (State Journal)
• An energy attorney says the Dominion Energy-backed legislation supported by many Virginia lawmakers is “anything but” grid modernization, as it is being touted. (Blue Virginia)

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