POLITICS: West Virginia’s treasurer says the state will end the use of a BlackRock investment fund because the firm urged companies to embrace net-zero carbon investment strategies that might harm the coal, oil and natural gas industries. (Fox Business)

ALSO: New Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin backs down from his pledge to withdraw the state from a regional carbon trading market, instead saying he’ll ask a state board to do so. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

OIL & GAS:
• A recent spate of earthquakes moves Texas regulators to stop fracking companies from pumping as much water underground, forcing some drillers to move millions of barrels of wastewater elsewhere. (Wall Street Journal)
• Mexico’s national oil company buys a Texas refinery in an effort to achieve energy self-sufficiency. (New York Times)

UTILITIES:
• A Democratic state senator invites Virginia Gov. Youngkin to support legislative efforts to tamp down Dominion Energy’s influence. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Mercury)
• Congress members press the Tennessee Valley Authority for more information about why its customers pay so much for electricity despite the utility’s relatively low rates. (WPLN)

SOLAR: A western Virginia medical center nears completion of a 1.7 MW solar facility. (Winchester Star)

COAL:
• The Biden administration’s move to crack down on coal ash storage could have major implications in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, each of which is wrestling with huge volumes of waste products left from burning coal. (Courier Journal/Inside Climate News)
West Virginia miners with black lung disease criticize Congress for its failure to extend a tax on coal production that supports a federal fund that pays out health care benefits for miners and their families. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

GRID:
• Texas’ grid regulator says legislative reform has made the state’s electric grid more resilient than last year, despite staffing shortages and a number of power plants that have lagged in winterizing their facilities. (KXAN, Austin American-Statesman)
• Officials in a Virginia county are criticized for scheduling in-person listening sessions about data center expansion while COVID-19 surges. (Inside NoVa)

BIOGAS: The U.S. EPA announces an investigation of whether North Carolina regulators violated the rights of low-income and minority residents living near farms where it approved plans to capture gas from hog waste. (Bladen Journal)

PIPELINES: Representatives of the proposed Chickahominy Pipeline will attend a Virginia county board meeting for the first time since the project became public. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Volvo’s electric tractor-trailer trucks, produced at a Virginia factory, feature faster charging and an 85% increase in range from previous models. (CleanTechnica)

STORAGE: Dominion Energy seeks regulatory approval of a 20 MW energy storage facility in central Virginia. (Virginia Business)

COMMENTARY:
• Manufacturers will sort out electric vehicles’ reliability issues and other challenges as more people adopt EVs, writes an editorial board. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• Central Appalachia’s coal communities are primed for solar energy development, especially if funded in Democrats’ spending plan, writes the director of the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia. (Beckley News-Herald)

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.