COAL: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice confirms his coal companies owe a bankrupt investment group nearly $700 million and that he’s personally liable for the debt, calling the firm a “bad, bad actor.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription; Associated Press; Charleston Gazette-Mail)

OIL & GAS:
• The growth potential of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin, its already high methane emissions and the protective posture of Texas’ state government threaten President Joe Biden’s energy goals. (Vox)
• A Texas tax exemption program that has benefitted the state’s oil and gas industry quietly lapses after state lawmakers fail to pass a reauthorization. (Intercept)
• Texas lawmakers approve eight bills related to the power sector that include winterization of some gas facilities and changes in regulatory oversight, but experts say the revamps aren’t enough to prevent another blackout disaster. (S&P Global, NPR)
• Texas educational organizations partner with oil and gas companies to fill job gaps in the Permian Basin. (KOSA)

PIPELINES:
• The Mountain Valley Pipeline is awaiting approval to cross hundreds of  waterways in Virginia and West Virginia. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• The Memphis City Council again delays a vote on an ordinance to protect the city’s drinking water aquifer that could also freeze the proposed Byhalia Connection Pipeline. (Tennessee Lookout)
• U.S. counties whose populations are most vulnerable to health effects from environmental and other external stress also have the highest density of natural gas pipelines, North Carolina researchers find. (North Carolina Health News)

WIND: Dominion Energy builds a wind turbine installation vessel in Texas that will be used to construct wind farms off the shores of New England, New York and Virginia. (Electrek)

OVERSIGHT: Bankruptcies that could result in a new wave of mass mine abandonment endanger President Biden’s promise to reinvigorate coal communities. (E&E News, subscription)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Tennessee pledges $60 million toward General Motors and LG Energy Solutions’ electric vehicle battery plant. (Nashville Business Journal, subscription)
• Duke Energy asks North Carolina regulators to approve a $56 million plan to expand electric vehicle chargers in the state. (WFAE)

SOLAR: Virginia regulators approve solar farms totalling 240 MW in two eastern counties, plus necessary transmission lines and infrastructure to connect them to the grid. (T&D World)

UTILITIES:
• Duke Energy asks a Florida county to press the governor for help in resisting a stakeholder uprising to split the utility into three separate entities. (WCJB)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority hires an engineer with 35 years of experience, including leading the nuclear power program at NextEra Energy, as its next chief operating officer. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• Duke Energy asks Kentucky regulators for an increase in its natural gas rates largely to cover $190 million in capital projects. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

POLITICS:
• West Virginia U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito will meet with President Biden to negotiate a massive infrastructure package that could include funding for electric vehicles and energy transition. (E&E News, subscription)
• U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher of Texas co-sponsors a bill to create a federal program to track thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells on public lands. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY:
• Texas lawmakers faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and February’s outages largely sidestepped those problems to focus on social wedge issues, writes a political reporter. (Texas Monthly)
• An environmental organizer cites candidate and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s support for pipeline projects as a reason to vote against him in next week’s Democratic primary. (Roanoke Times)
• A retired lawyer debunks misinformation about renewables’ role in Texas’ February power outage as an argument for West Virginia to diversify its energy portfolio. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A Virginia political group funded by Dominion Energy uses mailers and social media to fight against energy deregulation and by extension legislation to actually increase utility regulation, writes an environmental organizer. (Virginia Mercury)

Mason Adams

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.