ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Birmingham, Alabama’s long record of industrial pollution in historic Black communities — including from an aging coke plant owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family — has made it an epicenter of environmental injustice. (ProPublica)

• The head of Memphis, Tennessee’s gas and water utility recommends its board vote to stick with the Tennessee Valley Authority because the utility provides the “greatest value” with the “least risk” for customers. (WREG)
Clean energy and environmental groups call for the Tennessee Valley Authority to return public comment periods to its quarterly board meetings. (Tennessee Lookout, WHNT)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority reports its payments in-lieu-of-taxes to local governments are up 15.4% from last year because of higher consumption and rates. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

• Kentucky regulators approve a proposed 173 MW solar farm, albeit with conditions that include a decommissioning plan. (Kentucky New Era)
• A North Carolina solar company that’s generated hundreds of complaints from customers sues another company for providing what it says is faulty equipment. (WECT)

• Toyota announces it will invest an additional $2.5 billion into a battery plant in North Carolina as it hustles to keep pace with rival Honda, which recently announced plans to build a U.S. battery factory. (Associated Press)
Hyundai accelerates plans to begin making a hybrid SUV at its Alabama plant. (WSFA)

GRID: A little-known Texas committee produced a report for state lawmakers blaming the state’s grid vulnerabilities on growing wind and solar generation and recommending those generators purchase or create largely gas-fired backups. (Dallas Morning News)

EMISSIONS: The U.S. EPA warns Louisiana and 14 other states for failing to submit plans to reduce regional haze pollution as required by the Clean Air Act. (Louisiana Illuminator)

• A Louisiana electric cooperative sues its power provider over what it says was excessively priced electricity generated at a now-shuttered coal-fired power plant. (The Advocate)
• Critics say fixes to the federal black lung trust fund in the climate spending package may be temporary if coal production and the related revenues that companies pay into the fund continue to decline. (WFPL)
• Three West Virginia coal communities receive an additional $15.4 million from pandemic relief funds to create new jobs and opportunities. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

OIL & GAS: An Oklahoma-based oil and gas producer buys 5,000 natural gas wells and related infrastructure from Exxon in Arkansas’ Fayetteville Shale region. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

MINING: Virginia localities struggle to regulate the mining of gold and other minerals because of the mines’ rural locations. (Farmville Herald)

• Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves deploys 600 National Guard troops at mass water distribution sites across Jackson, Mississippi, as the city endures a water shortage that’s disproportionately affected the city’s low-income, Black communities, with no end in sight. (Washington Post)
• As Texas endures its worst drought in a millennium, state lawmakers vote to require the state water planning board to consult with the state climatologist as it advises cities in planning to meet the future water needs. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: The Tennessee Valley Authority is using “reliability” to scare Memphis, Tennessee, into sticking with it even though the utility imports a significant amount of its power, writes a staffer with a clean energy group. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

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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.