Western Energy News

Washington state legislators pitch a $15 per ton carbon fee

CARBON: Washington state lawmakers propose a carbon fee as part of a $17 billion transportation funding package. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES:
• California’s largest utility says it’s open to the idea of being split into separate electric and gas companies but warned state regulators such a move might cause customers’ rates to increase. (Utility Dive)
• A San Diego-area utility will become the first of California’s three major investor-owned utilities to introduce time-of-use rates when it rolls out the new energy prices in March. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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RENEWABLES: Portland takes the first formal steps to create a voter-approved fund to pay for clean energy projects and green job training for the city’s low-income residents. (Portland Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: California’s largest gas distributor is joining a coalition of labor unions, real estate agents and agriculture groups pushing back against a plan to decarbonize the state’s buildings. (Bloomberg)

TRANSPORTATION: As talks between California and the Trump administration over vehicle fuel efficiency standards implode, Colorado files a legal brief supporting the Golden State’s efforts to keep the tougher standards in place. (Denver Post)

OIL & GAS:
• New Mexico’s land commissioner announces a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on state trust land near a national park containing culturally significant artifacts for area tribes. (Farmington Daily Times)
• The geologist behind a major oil discovery in Alaska in 2013 is chasing another potential big find near a national wildlife refuge. (Anchorage Daily News)
• An environmental group announces plan to sue several oil and gas companies drilling in Colorado that they allege failed to get air quality permits required under federal law. (Westword)
• Opposition to industrial facilities using gas obtained by hydraulic fracturing grows in Washington. (Longview Daily News)

COAL: Montana lawmakers advance a bill that would allow a South Dakota utility to buy a bigger share of a troubled local coal plant and pass those future costs onto customers. (Billings Gazette)

PUBLIC LANDS: County officials in southeastern Utah are pushing Congress to restore a former national monument and make it even bigger. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
• Regaining the public’s trust will be difficult for Arizona’s largest utility, but its decision to add almost 1 GW of clean energy is a good start, says a columnist for the Arizona Republic.
• The speaker of the House of Representatives in New Mexico throws his support behind a plan to transition the state to clean energy while providing economic support to communities with closing coal plants. (Albuquerque Journal)
• A bill putting a four-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will have little or no environmental benefits and be detrimental to New Mexico’s economy, says a civil engineering professor at the University of New Mexico. (New Mexico Political Report)

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