TRANSITION: New reports suggest Appalachian communities can create more than 30,000 new jobs by reclaiming abandoned mine lands and plugging 538,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Kentucky, West Virginia and other Appalachian states. (WTVQ, Ohio River Valley Institute)

Thousands of abandoned “zombie” oil wells proliferate in west Texas’ Permian Basin, creating a looming environmental problem likely to cost nearly $1 billion to clean up. (Guardian)
• Natural gas producer EQT seeks an independent assessment of the environmental impacts of its Marcellus shale production as it rethinks how to market its product amid a national shift from fossil fuels. (S&P Global)
About 7,500 jobs lost in Louisiana’s oil and gas industry during the coronavirus pandemic haven’t come back despite a rebound in world oil prices. (WGMB)
• A liftboat leaving Louisiana for an offshore oil and gas hub capsizes, leaving one person dead and 12 still missing. (Associated Press)

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• Texas’ power grid is still strained with roughly a quarter of the state’s power plants offline, but amid mockery and public skepticism, grid managers have avoided calling for additional energy conservation measures. (Austin American-Statesman)
• Texas’ grid operators expressed concerns over the weekend about a potentially short supply of electricity this week, prompting criticism of the state’s deregulated grid from energy analysts. (KXAS)
• Oklahoma citizen groups are skeptical of lawmakers’ plan to securitize nearly $4.5 billion in debt without an investigation of February’s energy price spikes and who profited from them. (CHNI/Enid News & Eagle)

• Community action agencies in Chattanooga, Tennessee, prepare for a surge in requests for help with utility bills as warmer weather arrives and pandemic-related assistance runs out. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• South Carolina lawmakers advance legislation to fix a property tax break mistakenly given to utilities in a 2017 gas-tax bill. (Post and Courier, subscription)

• A Texas renewables company considers proposing construction of a 240 MW solar farm near Austin. (Houston Business Journal)
• Officials break ground on a 5 MW solar farm for Central Arkansas Water, the state’s largest water utility. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: South Korean electric vehicle battery maker LG Energy Solution will build a second factory in Tennessee with General Motors. (Korea Herald)

WIND: A 199 MW wind farm begins operation in Oklahoma as part of a 1,485 MW project that will also power customers in Arkansas and Louisiana. (news release)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Chattanooga is one of 49 localities in the Tennessee Valley to participate in a program that recommends and finances energy efficiency measures for homeowners. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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POLITICS: Florida governor and rising national Republican star Ron DeSantis inspires mixed feelings in environmentalists who like that he acknowledges manmade climate change, but not that he’s done little to facilitate a shift from fossil fuels. (Inside Climate News)

• As the U.S. embarks on a period of significant growth for offshore wind, governments must ensure equity by hiring and giving contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses, writes the CEO of a planning firm. (Energy News Network)
• President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package and its inclusion of money for carbon capture, cleaning up abandoned fossil fuel mines and wells and relief for distressed communities “does more for rural America than Trump ever did,” writes an editorial board. (Roanoke Times)
• Florida should take advantage of its abundant sunshine to invest in solar power and improve on its rank of 25th in the nation for solar jobs per capita, writes a retired environmental regulator. (The Ledger)
• Virginia’s strong winds and relatively shallow waters position it to play a crucial role in the coming development of offshore wind energy, writes an editorial board. (Virginian-Pilot)
• West Virginia lawmakers continue to hedge on whether to invest in shoring up the declining coal industry or tilt toward renewable energy, writes an editorial board. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.